Nikita Scherbak

Darren Walker

Scherbak is a big winger who plays with a lot of skill and power. He is hunched over when he skates, but moves very well. Has a quick first step that allows him to at- tack small creases in the defense, but his overall acceleration and explosiveness have room to improve. Very elusive and agile for a player his size. His hands are a major strength in his game as he always finds a way to maneuver in traffic while surveying his options to attack. Scherbak shows a high aptitude for finding open teammates while being pressured by defenders. Good, hard wrist shot that always seems to force the goalie to make a tough save, and his even balance of shot/pass plays keeps the opposition guessing. Very strong on his feet, although he was rarely the aggressor in the dirty areas. Scherbak spends a little bit too much time drifting in the neutral zone when he could assert himself at a better position on the breakout and in the defensive zone. His eyes seem to light up around the puck, but we would have liked to seen a little bit more competitiveness away from the play to help his team succeed. Concerns about some of his neutral- and defensive-zone tendencies, and the occasional careless turnover, are valid, but there is no denying his talent. (May 2014)