Discussion

The Russian risk and eight percent rule

Updated: January 12, 2011, 2:09 PM ET
By Alvin Chang

NHL GMs have to be considering Russian draft prospects now.

After all, Washington Capitals prospect Yevgeni Kuznetsov and St. Louis Blues prospect Vladimir Tarasenko put on spectacular shows last week at the IIHF World Junior Championship. Sure, there are risks with Russians -- mostly signability issues. But these kids were brilliant. Kuznetsov was the "single most spectacular talent" on the Russian team, according to ESPN Insider Gare Joyce. And Tarasenko tallied 11 points in seven game -- with broken ribs!

The most intriguing part, though, is that Kuznetsov slid to the end of the first round, and Tarasenko to No. 16, because teams were scared. But NHL GMs won't make that mistake again, right?

Well, it turns out they may be smart to let the Russians slide by. Our analysis shows that Russians are still huge risks, and, overall they're not worth it -- especially if you don't do your homework.

Risk assessment

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