Draft Pick Profile: Philipp Kurashev


Upon the completion of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, The Rink will take a look at the players chosen by the Chicago Blackhawks on day two of the draft.

Next is the Blackhawks’ fourth round choice, center Philipp Kurashev.

Philipp Kurashev
2017–18 Team: Quebec (QMJHL)
Date of Birth: October 12, 1999
Place of Birth: Munsingen, Switzerland
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 190 lbs
Shoots: Left
Position: C

NHL Central Scouting Final Ranking: 61
NHL Central Scouting Midterm Ranking: 68

NHL Comparable: Evgeny Kuznetsov

Philipp Kurashev is a skilled Swiss-born center playing for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Kurashev possesses high-end offensive skills, which he displayed this season, tallying 60 points in 59 games.

One of Kurashev’s biggest strengths is his skating ability. He has very good speed, which he can get to quickly with excellent acceleration. Kurashev uses his edges very well, having the ability to cut quickly to the middle of the ice for scoring chances. Kurashev knows how to use his powerful skating well, as he often skates through checks to create offense. He has strong legs, making him very tough to knock off the puck.

Kurashev has a nice shot featuring a very good release. He can really get the puck on net in a hurry. Kurashev’s shot has good accuracy and decent power as well. He is comfortable shooting the puck in all situations and is not afraid to use any of his shots. Kurashev is good at getting pucks through to the net in traffic, which can often create rebound opportunities for teammates.

Another of Kurashev’s strengths is his vision and passing ability. Kurashev seems to always know where his teammates are and can find them and get the puck to them in a heartbeat. He is able to make difficult passes look easy. Kurashev enjoys combining his skating and playmaking abilities. He regularly uses his feet to create space and draw defenders to him before making a tape-to-tape pass or a nice area pass for a teammate to skate into. Kurashev’s playmaking ability also helps him be highly effective on the power play as a distributor. Kurashev is also really good in the cycle because of his ability to make plays while moving his feet.

Kurashev is a bit of a hit-or-miss player in the defensive end. He uses his skating well to cover ice and support his defensemen. He is comfortable in board battles and clearing the front of the net, and his decently sized body helps him do so effectively. His skating and play making help him transition play from defense to offense quickly. However, his positioning and awareness can be an issue. He can sometimes be too focused on the puck and lose track of his man or his positioning. But, with proper coaching, this should be able to be rectified.

The biggest knock on Kurashev is his lack of consistency. Kurashev is a game-changing player in some games but is non-existent in others. He has loads of offensive talent, but often does not use it enough to be a constant threat.

Implications for the Blackhawks
Kurashev is another high-risk, high-reward prospect for the Hawks. If he can figure out his consistency issues and improve in the defensive end, he could be a nice NHL center option, likely in a middle-six role, though his game fits a top-six role better. While not overly large, Kurashev should still fill out his body enough to have adequate size to play his style, a style the Blackhawks do not really have right now. If he pans out, he could be a steal and give the Hawks added depth.

Kurashev will likely still need at least a couple of years before turning pro to really figure out his game. He would likely benefit from a year in Rockford as well. If he ever gets to the NHL, it would likely not be until at least 2021–22.

Kurashev has the raw talent to be a dynamic forward, similar to someone like Evgeny Kuznetsov. But, with his consistency issues, it is possible, if not likely, he would not reach that high of a level. If Kurashev can pull it together, he could be a serviceable middle-six center in the NHL with some nice offensive upside. He could prove to be one of the steals of the draft if he is able to round out his game and translate it consistently at the NHL level.

What others are saying
“Kurashev is a dynamic skater. He is lightning quick, with a great first step, top-notch acceleration, and incredible top speed. He can blow by the defence, creating breakaways and odd-man rushes in transition. Kurashev can also take a defender wide and cut to the net. He is agile, with the ability to make quick cuts and weave in and out of traffic. Kurashev has a powerful stride and good balance. He is tough to knock off the puck and can make plays off the cycle as well. … Kurashev has good vision and can play the role of playmaker. He uses his quickness and ability to make quick cuts to open up passing lanes and find teammates. He can control the puck on the half boards on the powerplay and look to set up a scoring chance. Kurashev has the poise and patience to extend plays an wait for a teammate to get open.”
Ben Kerr/Last Word on Hockey

“Kurashev is a good all-around player who wants to get involved in the play any way he can…strong playmaking abilities with excellent creativity and vision…quickly finds open lanes to get through and when he has multiple options, he typically always tries to connect with a teammate rather than fire a shot on net himself…needs to shoot more as he has a dangerous release…his explosive first steps allowed him to reach his top speed quickly…gives his opposition fits as he is dangerous on zone entries with his quickness and creative puck skills…electrifying hands make him dangerous to score anywhere around the opponents net…at times can force pucks and create turnovers by trying to be too careless with his passes…defensively, he can play a crucial role…follows his player tightly, and is engaged into puck battles deep in the zone…also provides an outlet for his defenseman to hit on the breakout…has to improve on his face-offs quite a bit if he wants to become an NHL center, but he does display top-six potential at the NHL level.”
Aaron Vickers/Future Considerations

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