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by Kris Baker / Buffalo Sabres

Kris Baker of has submitted his rankings of the Top 30 draft-eligible prospects of 2016. Check back each day as we prepare for the 2016 NHL Draft, which will be held at First Niagara Center here in Buffalo on June 24 and 25.

#22. German Rubtsov – C, Team Russia U18 (Russia)

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The consensus top draft-eligible prospect out of the Russian junior system, Rubtsov is a masterful two-way forward who contributes offense at a high rate while always drawing the assignment of matching up against the opposition’s top forwards.

The scouting world took notice of Rubtsov early and often this season, as the highly decorated centerman was a key producer for Russia’s silver medal-winning performance in August’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial before driving the top line at the World Junior “A” Challenge two months later.

Rubtsov has earned a reputation as a pass-first table-setter who is adept at playing a straight-line style, but he has shown that he is more than capable of deceptively wiring shots with both precision and velocity.

Rubtsov missed a golden opportunity to be scouted at the 2016 IIHF Under-18 World Championship when the entire Russian squad was replaced just before the start of the tournament following a doping scandal involving the banned substance Meldonium.

It remains to be seen how much – or even if – the lack of exposure at the April event will impact his draft status, but there is no question that Rubstov’s skating, playmaking sense and three-zone effort are worthy of the solid first-round grade.

For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline and an updated organizational depth chart, check out Kris Baker’s website, You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects).

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