Rihards Bukarts

Darren Walker

Bukarts is a quick skater who can burn defenders if he is able to hit his stride. He is a very diminutive player who is elusive and can accelerate quickly. He has excellent puck-handling ability and can create space for himself by dazzling and backing off opponents. His stick handling can also prove to be his worst enemy at times. Bukarts sometimes has a tendency to overplay the puck and cause turnovers by mishandling it at an inopportune time or run himself out of space by trying to do too much. Bukarts is adequate at shooting and passing. He can move the puck quickly and makes deceptive passes that yield quality opportunities. Makes smart decisions with the puck and doesn’t pass up shot opportunities. Has a quality wrist shot with good velocity on it, which he prefers to use. Despite Bukarts’ size, he plays with substantial grit and holds his own along the boards. He is not intimidated in battles even though he may come out on the short end of the stick in a lot of confrontations with opponents. His strength lies in his tenacity and quick hands to pick pockets and strip pucks away. He battles consistency issues, but the biggest area of concern is his lack of defensive game. His play in his own zone remains dismal. He has an edge to his game and shows emotion, especially frustration when things are not going well. (May 2014)