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OHL Prospect Profiles: Sergey Kuptsov and Nick Ebert

This week in our prospect profiles we have a special double edition. Since our friend, Laura Barney, left us this week we were worried that our Mississauga St. Michaels Majors coverage was going to take a hit. I had originally planned on profiling top prospect, Nick Ebert, of the Windsor Spitfires but when I found out Laura was leaving us, I called an audible and decided to cover The Majors’ offensive weapon Sergey Kuptsov. Now I’m a nice guy (depending on who you ask) and I knew you guys would be looking forward to some journalism gold, featuring Ebert, so being the nice guy that I am, I thought that I would just publish both ‘In the O Prospect Profiles’. So, here they are!

NHL Draft Prospect: Sergei Kuptsov – Mississauga St. Michaels Majors
The Line:
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 212 lbs
Shoots: Right
Position: Right Wing
Draft Eligible: 2013

This past season, the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors traded with the Sudbury Wolves to obtain the 16th overall draft position. The man they wanted, was the six-foot-two 212 pound Russian, Sergey Kuptsov. As is the case with many Russian players his stick handling and skating abilities are quite impressive. And he can devastate any defense and goaltender in the league on any given night.

Kuptsov is a very large man and uses his size to his advantage when going to the net or when his line is cycling the puck down low. He can find gaps in the defense and can exploit them very quickly. His first 3 steps are explosive and can give him separation on most players in the league, allowing him to take advantage of these gaps and get open.

The one downfall in his game is the consistency in his compete-level. I don’t want to be too hard on him considering the fact that he is still trying to make the adjustments to life in Canada and playing in the OHL on a weekly basis, but there are games where he can disappear at times, sort of the ‘Alex Kovalev syndrome’ so-to-speak.It will be interesting to see how his game evolves over the next few months as he heads into his draft year in 2012/2013.

Professional Player Comparison: Maxim Afinogenov
NHL Draft Prospect: Nick Ebert – Windsor Spitfires

The Line:
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 205 lbs
Shoots: Right
Position: Defense
Draft Eligible: 2012

After a 41 point season last year for the Windsor Spitfires, the Livingston, New Jersey native has gotten off to a slow start this year recording just eight assists through 17 games thus far. Watching Ebert play brings one word to mind; smooth. He’s a smooth skater, smooth with the puck and makes smart plays that look easy.

Ebert’s game is all about making plays. He has an offensive flair to his game that cannot be missed when watching him play. His first pass is very strong and almost always on target, even when under pressure. The one interesting thing about watching him play is his selection process when deciding to join the rush. He doesn’t usually make a poor decision and when he is in on the rush, you can hear him communicating with his team mates. When he gets the puck he displays an NHL-caliber shot.

Although I have written with the highest praise thus far regarding Nick Ebert, as I should considering that he will be a top 10 pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, there are a few issues with his game; as there is with most major junior level players.

Ebert does have some trouble moving guys out of the front of the net, especially when they have position on him. He also leaves his defensive partner hanging on occasion. Although I mentioned that he had a great selection process with regards to when he decided to join the rush, he still can be caught out of position at times due to the amount of times he joins the rush. There is no doubt that defensive play can be taught and he is not a liability at this point in his development by any stretch of the imagination.

Ebert really is a can’t-miss prospect, as he should be, considering all of the hype. He is a player that I feel can live up to that hype and, is as NHL-ready of a defender as there is, in this draft class.

NHL Player Comparison: Dan Boyle

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