Aleksander Barkov

Darren Walker

A nice blend of size and skill, Barkov produced one of the most impressive draft eligible seasons in SM-liiga history. NHL teams were clamoring to get views of the big playmaker all season long and he did not disappoint. Barkov has good balance on his feet and, while not overly fast, does get to where he needs to go efficiently and keeps his feet moving in the process. With the puck, he’s monster on the cycle as opponents just cannot move him or knock him. He’s strong on the puck and has really good understanding and anticipation how to position himself to generate leverage and power on his stick. He shows great natural poise with the puck; finds open linemates with ease and makes timely passes. His ability to make plays under pressure without panic is impressive for his age. Barkov shows impressive awareness, vision and anticipation in the offensive zone. He uses his size well to protect and control the puck while knifing his way through the zone. He wants to be a difference maker and is strong not only generating offensive chances but also on the forecheck and disrupt- ing his opponents attack. Makes smart decisions all over the ice; very aware of his options when he has the puck. He shows the ability to get better and learn on the y as when he makes a mis- take, he processes it and does not repeat it. Barkov has unbreakable confidence in his skills.

He has very quick hands for a big guy; puck handling is just so easy and smooth no matter whether he is standing still or is at top speed and he rarely mishandled the puck. Decent puck deflection skills when he stations himself in front of the net. Barkov has a quiet toughness to his game; not that he is going to drop the gloves but he consistently plays through tight checks, hacks and whacks, and shows ability to raise level of play when needed. (May 2013)