TLN Top Twenty Prospects: #20 - Rinat Valiev

Justin Fisher
August 25 2014 08:06AM

Kicking off our TLN Top Twenty Leafs Prospects is newcomer Rinat Valiev, a Russian defender drafted as an overager by the Leafs in the third round of the this past June’s NHL Entry Draft.

Valiev’s journey to becoming an NHL prospect has been an unusual one, playing for four different teams in three different countries in the past three years.

In 2011-2012, Valiev jumped between Russian junior leagues as a member of Ak Bars Kazan’s junior affiliates, Bars Kazan and Irbis Kazan. Despite being drafted third overall in the 2012 KHL Junior Draft (ahead of the likes of Nikita Zadorov, Valeri Nichushkin and Tomas Hertl), Valiev chose to cross the Atlantic to continue his development.

Wishing to play in the CHL, but having not yet been drafted by a CHL team, Valiev spent one season in the USHL with the Indiana Ice. In 36 games, Valiev scored a pedestrian six goals and 13 points, returning to Russia following a season-ending injury. His status unclear, Valiev was passed over in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

After being selected by the Kootenay Ice in the 2013 CHL Import Draft, his stock stabilized. Valiev scored 28 points and was +27 in 55 games, establishing himself as a go-to guy on a thin Kootenay blueline and convincing the Leafs scouting department that he was worthy of a third round pick.

Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison on selecting Valiev...

Valiev is an intelligent two-way defender with advanced skating ability. These skills all add up to a strong transition game, which allows Valiev to effectively collect pucks in his own end and safely advance them up the ice. 

As suggested by his just-decent stat line, Valiev is not a flashy offensive defenceman. There's too much inconsistency in his point production to suggest this will be a strength going forward, having alternated between near point-per-game months and extended slumps this past year with Kootenay. However, Valiev's hockey IQ and mobility suggest that he could develop into an effective top four defenceman at the NHL level, even if he won't produce significant points.

Appearing on five of our nine writers' lists, Valiev fended off Sam Carrick and Brandon Kozun to grab the last entry in our Top Twenty Leafs Prospects rankings. Ultimately, there's raw potential here that the others just don't have. Valiev will return to Kootenay this coming season and should become the team's top, all-situations blueliner.

C0293e2b4678f1e929600607efbd5b6b
Justin Fisher is a Toronto-based writer of sorts. He likes hockey and comic books and sriracha sauce. He doesn't like Don Cherry. Follow him on Twitter: @thejustinfisher
Avatar
#1 JudeMac17
August 25 2014, 08:42AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
16
props

Two things that seem to always be mentioned with this guy. Smooth skating and smarts. In today's game, those are qualities that will take you a long way.

Avatar
#2 STAN
August 25 2014, 03:08PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Props
6
props

Almost all the great defensemen have been great thinkers, seers of the ice and the way the play is developing. Orr, Lidstrom, Neidermeyer, Coffee. I put Gardiner and Rielly in that category, although they still have a long way to go.

Perhaps Valiev will be a sleeper pick.

Avatar
#3 Gumby
August 25 2014, 05:58PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
5
props
WesternDP wrote:

Nice try, Tool, er,.Troll. Everybody Knows how high I am on Valiev.

Did you just respond to yourself?

Avatar
#4 ZoneOut
August 25 2014, 06:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
4
props
WesternDP wrote:

Nice try, Tool, er,.Troll. Everybody Knows how high I am on Valiev.

LOOOOOL.. this post was sooo funny because of it i finally made my own account.

Avatar
#5 WesternDP
August 25 2014, 06:56PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
4
props
Gumby wrote:

Did you just respond to yourself?

No, this is my first post to this article.

I wouldn't resort to calling somebody a tool or troll.

I also know the rules of punctuation, so I wouldn't make such frequent mistakes.

These are just strange imposters. If it's poorly written or researched, it's probably not me.

Perhaps I will do some IP tracking.

Avatar
#6 MaxPower417
August 26 2014, 10:29AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
4
props
MaxPower417 wrote:

The impersonators are part of the reason why I rarely post here anymore. I don't get the point? You're just making yourself look like an idiot and completely derailing any meaningful conversations.

Still better than the "Bozak rules, wtf Jeffler" posts, but not by much

Hahaha

I didn't write this but I do agree for the most part. Although, I do see why the one (or ones) doing this is (are) getting a kick out of it.

The mods really need to bust out the ban hammer a lot more often, I think this has nearly gotten beyond the point of no return.

Avatar
#7 Gumby
August 25 2014, 05:51PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
3
props

While he may have impressed this past year, I am still very leery with any overage players. The Leafs May have lucked out with this one, only time will tell.

Avatar
#8 WesternDP
August 25 2014, 05:49PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
2
props
WesternDP wrote:

Sorry, but I disagree. Carrick simply has more raw tools than Valiev, who seems to lack any particular trait that sets him apart. A lot of people forget that Valiev is an over-ager who still hasn't proven very much at the CHL level.

Nice try, Tool, er,.Troll. Everybody Knows how high I am on Valiev.

Avatar
#9 Casey
August 25 2014, 06:00PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
2
props

While I really was impressed with June's draft, I thought the team reached here a bit on a player who's upside may not be as great as that of a younger player. I was hoping we would have selected Lernout here, a bigger, physical defenseman with alot of upside.

Avatar
#10 MaxPower417
August 25 2014, 09:19PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
2
props

The impersonators are part of the reason why I rarely post here anymore. I don't get the point? You're just making yourself look like an idiot and completely derailing any meaningful conversations.

Still better than the "Bozak rules, wtf Jeffler" posts, but not by much

Avatar
#11 ZoneOut
August 25 2014, 09:39PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
2
props
WesternDP wrote:

No, this is my first post to this article.

I wouldn't resort to calling somebody a tool or troll.

I also know the rules of punctuation, so I wouldn't make such frequent mistakes.

These are just strange imposters. If it's poorly written or researched, it's probably not me.

Perhaps I will do some IP tracking.

but what i dont understand is how the imposter can have the same exact name. shouldnt there be a function in place to prevent that from happening.

Avatar
#12 WesternDP
August 25 2014, 05:46PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
1
props

Sorry, but I disagree. Carrick simply has more raw tools than Valiev, who seems to lack any particular trait that sets him apart. A lot of people forget that Valiev is an over-ager who still hasn't proven very much at the CHL level.

Avatar
#13 redhot1
August 25 2014, 06:02PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
1
props

Let's face facts, when we make a selection, until otherwise advised, our Prospects become Suspects. Been that way for a really long time!!

Avatar
#14 Gumby
August 26 2014, 07:08AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
1
props

@WesternDP

Same, that was also a troll .

You think that this much smut would lead to a ban, which leads me to think that it's Cam Charron taking revenge on the comment section !

Avatar
#15 MaxPower417
August 26 2014, 01:12PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
1
props
MaxPower417 wrote:

Hahaha

I didn't write this but I do agree for the most part. Although, I do see why the one (or ones) doing this is (are) getting a kick out of it.

The mods really need to bust out the ban hammer a lot more often, I think this has nearly gotten beyond the point of no return.

Again, not me.

Comments are closed for this article.