Many of us got acquainted with the skillful right winger during the lockout of 2012, while skating with future Habs first round pick Alex Galchenyuk.
Playing with Galchenyuk for half the year in Sarnia, Nikolay Goldobin put up impressive numbers as a rookie in the OHL. In fact, he produced two more points that young sensation Connor McDavid did in his rookie campaign, albeit in five more games.
Without Galchenyuk on his line, Goldobin continued to progress in his second OHL season, nearly netting 40 goals, and surpassing 90 points.
His key assets including top notch stick handling, an incredible release and a plethora of offensive creativity. His past season cemented him as one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the Ontario Hockey League, making a habit of beating top quality defensemen one on one.
Although they note he has some defensive shortcomings, HP claims that Goldobin is one of the most skilled players in the entire draft class. They make sure to compliment his excellent passing game, as it is often overshadowed by his goal scoring ability.
They describe him as a slick passer with a natural ability to produce offense at the drop of a dime. The key word in their write up is puck-possession, as in Goldobin is an analytic dream. They do note that he can seem lost whilst playing defense, describing it as a 'care free' approach to defending.
Hockey Prospect: 29
McKeen's Hockey: 41
Craig Button: 34
Average Ranking: 30
Although he's not necessarily the strongest player in the draft at 6'0", 180 lbs, Goldobin has never shown any glaring weaknesses when it comes to the physical side of the game, mostly due to his ability to shake most checks with his overwhelming talent.
A natural right winger, Goldobin has matured in leaps and bounds since his arrival in the OHL, and in my opinion would instantly become the most talented prospect that the Habs would have in their system, if he happens to fall to them at 26.
Normally I'd say that Goldobin has no chance of making it to the end of the first round, but due to the silly 'Russian fear factor' and his tendency to avoid physical play he might slip to the Habs.
If that's the case, I would hope that Trevor Timmins and Marc Bergevin would jump at the chance of instantly bolstering our prospect crop with a supremely talented player.
What remains to be seen is whether or not Timmins thinks his incredibly high ceiling outweighs his potential downfalls. You can teach defense, but you just can't teach the type of ability Goldobin possesses.
If he's still on the board towards the end of the first round, the Habs would be wise to nab him without thinking twice.