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THE RIGHT STUFF
published 06/21/13 8:41am
Russia's Valeri Nichushkin has the goods to develop into a lethal scorer.
Photo: Keith Hamilton / Icon SMI
Completing our five-part series of the top draft-eligible players by position for the upcoming June 30 NHL Draft comes, here are five names to watch from the right wing slot!

1. Valeri Nichushkin, Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL)

Has a powerful skating stride and great size for an NHL winger. Also boasts plenty of skill and scoring upside. Can line up on either side of center. Shows a tendency to rise to the occasion… Must continue to work on his decision-making ability, especially when in possession of the puck (since he has a tendency for turnovers from time to time). Must also fill out his big frame… Big, talented power winger with great upside.

2. Adam Erne, Quebec (QMJHL)

Can score goals, grind it out in the corners and skate very well, mostly due to a strong lower base. Can also be a factor in front of the net and on the cycle… Must prove capable of producing good numbers as a pro, since he isn't a high-end talent. Has also had issues with fitness in the past, which he must overcome… Gritty scoring winger with some upside.

3. Anthony Mantha, Val-d'Or (QMJHL)

Is a natural goal-scoring talent with great size and instincts for putting the biscuit in the basket. For a big winger, he skates very well, too. Displays great hand/eye coordination. Can play either wing position… Needs to work on his play at the defensive end of the rink and also his game-to-game consistency. Must fill out his big frame in order to maximize his scoring potential at the highest level… Big goal-scoring winger with good upside.

4. Valentin Zykov, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)

Has a very strong lower base, so he is very difficult to knock off the puck. Works the corners of the ice well and protects the puck with aplomb. Has a good shot and scoring instincts, too… May be more of a complementary winger than go-to scorer at the highest level, since he doesn't have huge upside. Also needs to continue to work on his play without the puck… Quality winger with some upside.

5. Ryan Hartman, Plymouth (OHL)

Plays the game with a fair amount of aggression and grit. Is versatile enough to play either wing or center. Can put up good point totals, but is also a two-way presence. Can get opponents off their game… Needs to add plenty more strength and bulk if he is to continue to play his straightforward, in-your-face, agitating style at the highest level. Also needs to work on his goal-scoring acumen… Agitating forward with upside.

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