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Alexei Lipanov really broke out at the 2016 World Junior A Challenge. He played on a line with 2018 NHL Draft prospect Andrei Svechnikov, and the two dominated the tournament. Lipanov had four goals and eight points in just four games. Russia would take home the bronze medal. Lipanov also played at last summer’s Ivan Hlinka Tournament, scoring five points in five games. He was also part of the Russian team that won bronze at the 2015 Under 18s, though his stat line of just three assists in seven games wasn’t really indicative of how well he played in the tournament. He also played in both the Under 17 and Under 18 during the 2015-16 season.
Lipanov was drafted 44th overall by the Barrie Colts in the 2016 CHL Import Draft, but choose to remain in Russia. He is part of the Moscow Dynamo organization, but on a deep team has not yet made the KHL roster. He was part of their VHL winning team this year.
Alexei Lipanov Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #34
Centre — shoots Left
Born August 17th, 1999 — Moscow, Russia
Height 6’0″ — Weight 170 lbs [184 cm / 77 kg]
Lipanov has very good speed and the quick acceleration to reach that speed quickly. He challenges defenders on the rush, and forces them to back up or be beat to the outside. He also has excellent agility and edge work. Lipanov uses strong and powerful crossovers to accelerate quickly out of tight turns. However, he has some issues with his strength and balance. Lipanov will need to increase his lower body strength in order to have the balance and power necessary to avoid being pushed around by bigger defenders at the next level.
Lipanov is a smart player, who sees the ice very well and can complete a tape-to-tape pass through a tight opening. He has the stick handling ability to extend plays and keep control of the puck down low, waiting for a teammate to get open and make that pass. Lipanov almost always makes the smart play with the puck, putting it in good areas for the recipient to be able to make a play as well.
Lipanov has an accurate wrist shot, as well as a quick release. While it could be a little bit harder going forward, that should come with more muscle on his frame. It is hard enough at the junior level, and can be a weapon in the offensive zone. However he does not seem to use it as often as he should. Lipanov defers to being a play maker instead of a goal scorer in the offensive zone. He can be even more dangerous and keep defenders honest by taking that shot more often. He also has a good one timer, but again it is a weapon that he does not use often enough.
Lipanov is very good defensively for his age. He has excellent positioning and his active stick cuts down passing lanes. When he gets a turnover, he is able to quickly transition the puck up the ice and go from defence to offence quickly. Lipanov is trusted by his coaches to win face-offs and to work on the penalty kill. He could stand to be more physical. While Lipanov is not afraid to take a hit, he rarely initiates contact.
Projection and Comparison
Lipanov has the potential to be a two-way centre at the NHL level. There are some areas that need improvement, such as adding muscle, using his shot more often, and the physical aspects of his game. That could mean some development time is in order, but if he does add those skills, he can be an excellent two-way centre. Lipanov’s game is reminiscent of David Krejci of the Boston Bruins, but this is a style comparison only and not a talent one.
The following is a compilation of highlights, assembled from Youtube.
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