Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Yevgeni Oksentyuk.
Undrafted in last year’s NHL Draft, Yevgeni Oksentyuk was drafted fifth overall by the Flint Firebirds in the 2019 CHL Import Draft. The Belarussian forward made his way to North America and proved that he should not be overlooked by NHL general managers for the second year in a row. Oksentyuk scored 33 goals and 45 assists for 78 points in 58 games with Flint. He also played for Belarus at the D1A IIHF World Junior Championships, scoring one goal and six assists for seven points in five tournament games. Oksentyuk had the most assists in the tournament and helped Belarus to a third-place finish.
In 2018-19, Oksentyuk played for Shakhter Soligorsk in the top Belarussian men’s league. He scored six goals and 12 assists for 18 points in 49 games. Oksentyuk won the country’s Best Young Player Award. He also played in the IIHF Under 18 World Championships, picking up three goals and three assists for six points in five games. He was named a top-three player on his team. Okstentyuk also scored one goal in five games at the D1A IIHF World Junior Championships, helping Belarus to a second-place finish in the tournament.
Yevgeni Oksentyuk Scouting Report
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born February 27th, 2001 — Brest, Belarus
Height 5’8″ — Weight 163 lbs [173 cm/74 kg]
Oksentyuk is undersized but makes up for it with his strong skating ability. He has an explosive first step as well as good acceleration. Oksentyuk’s top-end speed is very good. He’s not one of the top speedsters in the draft, but he is still well above average. His edgework and agility are also very good. This helps him to get around defenders and create space in one-on-one situations. Oksentyuk has good balance thanks to a strong lower-body. He is able to fight through checks and is surprisingly good along the boards for his size.
Oksentyuk has amazing hands. He controls the puck while moving at top speed. His hands are smooth and he can make moves in a phone booth. Combined with his quickness, these hands make him a nightmare in one-on-one situations. He can make defenders look silly and walk around them. His quick hands also give him the ability to make a last-second move to open up a passing or shooting lane. Oksentyuk is also an excellent playmaker. He can feather a pass through tight spaces and find an open teammate. He also does a good job of keeping his head up and has good vision. Oksentyuk controls the puck and extends plays, giving teammates time to get open. His hockey IQ is high and he anticipates where his teammates are headed and finds them to create a scoring chance.
Oksentyuk’s quick hands and ability to change angles quickly help him to get his shot off quickly and in a way that fools goaltenders. However, his shot lacks some power. He really needs to improve his upper-body strength and this could lead to a better shot. As it stands, he scores most of his goals in tight to the net. He is also able to elevate the puck quickly and scores by pouncing on rebounds or getting deflections. Oksentyuk even scored a lacrosse-style goal this season. He is quick at getting into the zone. Oksentyuk is also an effective forechecker, chasing down defenders and creating mistakes.
Oksentyuk’s defensive game is very much a work in progress. He is inconsistent in his own end of the rink. He has a tendency to puck watch and not move his feet, losing his man and giving opponents opportunities to create chances. Oksentyuk also has a tendency to leave the zone early, looking to create an offensive chance before being sure that his team can leave the zone. Oksentyuk does not really engage physically and instead tends to reach with his stick instead of getting his body into the play. He will need some good coaching as well as an improved effort level going forward.
Projection and Comparison
Oksentyuk has plenty of offensive skill and if he develops correctly could become a top-six forward at the next level. However, there are some real red flags here. Oksentyuk is small and slight. He will need to get stronger to be able to stand up to the physical game at the pro level. He also needs to greatly improve in his own end of the rink. His defensive game will drive coaches crazy. There is a chance for a big reward if he can solve these issues though. Oksentyuk’s game is reminiscent of Johnny Gaudreau, however, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and potential.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Yevgeni Oksentyuk that are available on youtube and twitter.
Thread of clips from today's scrimmage.
Sequences from Brook #46, Oksentyuk #67 and McShane #47 in red. pic.twitter.com/Mf2bw8xtH9
— David St-Louis (@RinksideView) June 26, 2019
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) January 5, 2020
— Flint Firebirds (@FlintFirebirds) October 20, 2019
— Caitlin Berry (@caitlinsports) September 28, 2019
Meet one of the most exiting 2020 NHL Draft prospects Yevgeni “Geno” Oksentyuk of Flint Firebirds. 1st OHL season 78 points in 58 games! If you are an NHL hockey fan, you should really get exited for Geno #AreYouGoldStar? #TeamGeno! #RememberHisName! pic.twitter.com/zXy6aZApgd
— Dan Milstein-Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) May 25, 2020
The @FlintFirebirds have set a franchise points record with captain @tydellandrea leading the flight with first year forward @ev_oksentyuk, point-per-game D @Riley_McCourt27, recently acquired @TylerTukr19, and @OHLHockey champion @anthonypop30 in goal.#KiaCHLTop10 Spotlight ? pic.twitter.com/scsEiFKvGo
— CanadianHockeyLeague (@CHLHockey) February 22, 2020
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) October 17, 2019
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Yevgeni Oksentyuk Main Photo:
OSHAWA, ON – FEBRUARY 9: Yevgeni Oksentyuk #91 of the Flint Firebirds scores an empty-net goal in the third period during an OHL game against the Oshawa Generals at the Tribute Communities Centre on February 9, 2020, in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)