The Montreal Canadiens kept their first round pick and selected forward Nikita Scherbak with the 26th overall selection.
It was no secret that the Montreal Canadiens and Marc Bergevin were thinking about trading their first round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft at No. 26. However, after holding discussions for the pick, they ended up keeping the pick and taking Scherbak.
Scherbak is very good offensively and was ranked in the top-15 by some scouting services. He dropped for what many feel is the “Russian factor.” Scherbak is 6’1, 175.
From HockeyProspect’s Black Book:
"Nikita’s game is built around his strong skating ability, creative vision, slick hands, and his offen- sive creativity. A left-shooting RW for the Blades, Nikita is offensively savvy and possesses a good hockey IQ. Scherbak skates very upright and uses his body exceptionally well to protect the puck. His lower-body strength and posture make him look quite large despite the fact that he is actually smaller than listed. Nikita is an excellent skater who is very mobile with good agility.While Nikita is a skilled Russian-import, he had no trouble accounting for the gritty WHL style of play. He is not easily deterred and isn’t afraid to play in the dirty areas of the ice. He shows an exceptional willingness to engage in physical play with a high compete level when battling for pucks at both ends of the ice. Nikita will use his quick agility to evade body contact along the boards combined with the slick hands and vision he is able to set up good scoring chances from all angles of the ice. He’s very calm and poised with the puck and does not falter under pressure. He pos- sesses a strong shot with a quick release that drives netminders crazy.Nikita has shown he can be very relentless on the forecheck when he wants to be. Nikita is a strong offensive player who’ll need the round out his defensive responsibilities and start to develop a defensive aspect to his game and play with a more consistent effort in the coming years.The ability to operate in traffic using smarts, size and skill make Nikita very valuable and should result in him being a first round pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft."
"Scherbak has shown incredible offensive development over the course of a year and adapted to the North American style of game nearly seamlessly. He is a fantastic skater with great quick cuts and excellent edge control. He protects the puck very well and is very elusive off the boards or at speed. He applies very good pressure on the forecheck and while he is not overly physical, the speed that he can attack with tends to force opposition players to make mistakes consistenly. He is very adept at finding loose pucks around the net and shows a great touch with the puck in tight and highly contested areas of the ice."
In my composite rankings from before the draft, Scherbak was 23rd. HockeyProspect had him at 14, McKeen’s at 16. Craig Button was the harshest on him and had him at 35.
He had 26 goals and 43 assists in his first WHL season with Saskatoon.