I did not write about Podkolzin in my February preview because as I have said more than a few times already - the Ducks have not drafted a Russian since Igor Bobkov. For reference, that was back in 2009 - when Swine Flu was a thing.
I guess you could say I have created my own conditioned response to perhaps growing too attached to the idea of the Ducks selecting Denisenko last year, and so this year I have not bothered to learn a single thing about this kid, including his name. In our slack chat I just refer to him as “the Russian kid”.
That aside - some NHL team is going to select Podkolzin in the upper picks of the first round, but his name comes with a tiny bit of risk along the same vein as Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Capitals 2010 first round pick who did not join them until the tail end of the 2013-2014 season. Speaking of Capitals - thehockeywriters profile makes Podkolzin sound like Alex Ovechkin lite. Raw skill, dangerous shot, not overly fast but doesn't quit on a play either.
Position: Right Wing
Weight: 190lb (86kg)
Age: 17 (DOB June 24, 2001 - Moskva, Russia)
He has played three games for SKA this year in the KHL - going pointless and has spent the majority of his time playing for both their VHL (Russian equivalent of the AHL) and MHL (Russian quasi-equivalent of the CHL) teams. He had 5 points in 14 games in the VHL and 8 points in 12 games in the MHL. In the playoffs he has 3 points in 3 games in the MHL and 3 points in 8 games in the V. More importantly, at the World Juniors he had 3 points in 7 games - on a squad where youngsters are typically sheltered. He had a very impressive 11 points in 5 games at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Wheeler in as many words lauded him for his ability to break games open or if not scoring - be an annoying pest, but he also cautions that while sometimes he might look good on paper - those numbers do not always imply true ability but are more just the result of hard work and luck.
Pronman similarly agrees with the general consensus that he is talented and strong competitor and was not so harsh with any knocks, only stating that his hustle might disguise is actual speed.
From reading comments - Scouts can all agree on his tools but the doubters question his lack of production and consistency as evidenced by his shuffling around three different teams this season. He could go anywhere from third overall to twelfth but I can tell you for certain, he won’t be going to the Ducks.