A draft year heralded by many as “average”, saw just two Russians selected in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft. The Montreal Canadiens selected Mikhail Sergachev 9th overall, while the Philadelphia Flyers took German Rubtsev 22nd. The 18-year-old Sergachev was one of the best blue-liners available this year and had won the OHL’s best defensemen for the 2016 season, becoming just the second rookie defensmen to do so. Montreal continue to develop their defensemen corps, having drafted six in the first round since 2006. Sergachev could be the solution as Andrei Markov continues to rack up the miles. He was the first blue-liner to be picked in the draft.
After making a trade with Winnipeg. the Flyers moved down four spots to 22 where they selected the 17-year-old center, Rubtsev. Possibly best known for being part of the U-18 Russian team that was banned from the IIHF championship due to meldonium. Rubstev said he was advised by trainers to take the banned drug. In 28 games with the U=18’s, he recorded 12 goals and 26 points. Flyers GM Ron Hextall believes he posses the strongest hockey IQ of anyone in his class and hopes more a solid two-way center.