For the third time at the 2016 NHL Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected an overager. This time, it was in the fifth round, picking up 19-year-old Victoria Royals winger and centre Vladimir Boblyev.
After spending his draft year in a limited role as a rookie with the Vancouver Giants, Boblyev joined the Royals this year and posted 67 points in 72 games, finishing fifth on team scoring. In the playoffs, the Russian import added another seven assists in five games. At 6-2 and more than 200 pounds, Boblyev is a huge presence, and one of the stronger players in the class -- in part because of his age.
He's not an overly physical player, but he's definitely not shy either and has been credited with some pretty questionable hits in the last two years in the WHL.
Boblyev, or Bobylyov, joins fellow overagers Adam Brooks (92nd overall) and Yegor Korshkov (31st overall) among the older players the Leafs selected on Saturday.
He also adds some more size -- a theme in rounds 2-7 for the Leafs -- to a pool of prospects that was previously small.
What stands out most about Boblyev is how good he is defensively. Away from the puck, Boblyev was challenged with playing tough defensive minutes and checking some of the WHL's top players. He's a good, strong skater for his size and his pure strength allows him to out-muscle opposing players in one-on-one battles to remove his mark and come away with the puck.
The WHL does a poor drop tracking analytics, but he plays a strong possession game and does a good job controlling the puck off the cycle. A project, thanks to his athleticism.