Vladimir Kuznetsov

Aaron Vickers

Kuznetsov is a pretty skilled, but subdued player. He is efficient with his energy, only getting on his horse when he feels pressure or sees a potential break. He has good puck control on the rush and has a big, strong body and an ability to use it to overpower opponents and protect the puck. Kuznetsov is a solid skater who has a very strong stride; it takes him a few long strides to get moving, but he looks like a bull on skates once he gets some speed behind him. He has the ability to carry the puck with a defender on his back en route to the net. He’s a formidable presence once at top speed. Kuznetsov uses his speed/size/skill combo to gain the offensive zone, pushing the play into the offensive zone on the set up. He has a strong shot, and can play the point on the power play. Defensively, he shows good awareness as he recognizes danger and reacts to stifle opponents using his strength and speed. Kuznetsov covers for teammates and works hard to get himself into position to block passing or shooting lanes or edge off attackers. He spends a lot of the game coasting; he can be very impressive, but then disappear for long stretches. He’s got a great frame and a high ceiling. He showed us some great flashes of dominant play, but throughout this season, he was inconsistent in his play and we were left wanting more from him. He is a high-risk, high-reward prospect.   (May 2016)