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Top 25 Under 25: #18 Boris Katchouk searches for his first point-per-game season in juniors next year

Boris Katchouk enters his final season of juniors before making the leap to the pro ranks.

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the RawCharge writing staff. Four writers, plus a special guest, ranked players under the age of 25 as of September 1, 2017 in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked, plus Honorable Mentions.

Boris Katchouk was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry draft with the 44th pick overall. He was the second of three picks that round for Tampa Bay. The first pick was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes for 2014 1st rounder Anthony DeAngelo, and was thusly used to draft left-handed defenseman Libor Hajek. The third pick was Tampa Bay’s original selection, which was used to draft right winger Taylor Raddysh.

Katchouk draft’s year was also his first full year with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL—the same junior club where former Lightning prospect DeAngelo played for half a season. In his draft year, Katchouk put up 24 goals and 27 assists for 51 points in 63 games, while adding 6 goals and 4 assists for 10 points in 12 playoff games.

Katchouk, who holds dual citizenship in both Canada and Russia, opted to stick with his North American citizenship in participating in the U-18 World Junior Championships, where he put up 1 goal and 1 assist in 5 games for Team Canada.

Several scouting reports have made note of his high compete level and hockey IQ—a key characteristic of Yzerman draft choices. Some scouts believe he has the ability to be a solid power forward in the NHL, and standing 6’3” and weighing 190 pounds, he still has some room to add bulk.

Being able to play on both sides of center is another aspect of Katchouk’s game that makes him a very versatile asset in the system. He is a rugged player who loves to play physically. At last year’s Draft, some scouts believed that he might even sneak into the end of Round 1. Given where Tampa Bay drafted him, Yzerman and staff really got a high value selection with their choice.

As far as his upside, Katchouk could be a very solid second line winger once he solidifies himself in the NHL. In addition, he has one of the best Twitter handles out there—@RussianRocket13.

Boris was signed by the Lightning on April 20, 2017 and will almost surely be sent back to juniors this year. He will then be playing for Syracuse beginning in the fall of 2018, barring a miraculous acceleration in his development in the next fourteen or so months.