Rudolfs Balcers

by Zachary DeVine on December 25, 2017

Rudolf Balcers - photo courtesy: sharks.nhl.com

Rudolfs Balcers, LW

Shoots: L

Height: 5-11

Weight: 174

Born: 1997-04-08

Hometown:    Liepaja, LAT

Drafted: 2015 by San Jose Sharks, 142nd overall

 

 

 

 

 

Observations:

December 2017 - Rudolfs Balcers is tied for the San Jose Barracuda lead in goals this season with six and leads the squad with 20 points. Known more for his scoring touch, Balcers has flashed impressive playmaking chops for a Barracuda team that has struggled for consistency and at times a full complement of 12 forwards for a game-night roster. Balcers can make plays with the puck that will make you lean forward in your seat and is surprisingly capable in board battles with a quick, smart stick and anticipation. More impressive is the rotating linemates Balcers has been forced to adapt to while getting used to the professional game. A prospect to watch in the Sharks organization. Zachary DeVine

 

January 2017 – Balcers remains somewhat of a question mark. He shows flashes of high talent and then goes quiet for 30 minutes. Balcers performed well (and in this fashion) in his time with Team Latvia at the World Junior Championship. The Latvians were outgunned handily in every match, but Balcers posted a goal and assist in six games. Offensively, Balcers threatened for the Latvians and showed flashes of his stellar season with Kamloops Blazers. The small Latvian posted seven goals and five assists in his past 10 WHL games. While lofty goal totals are sometimes a red flag, it's the norm for Balcers: Five of his past six seasons have seen more goals than assists. Zachary DeVine

October 2016 - It was the tale of two camps for Balcers. At Development Camp, he was consistently outclassed physically in drills and the scrimmage. At only 5-11 and 165 pounds, the physical development is a significant need for Balcers. Once the rookie camp came around, he was competing much harder for pucks, position and keeping himself where he can help the play. Balcers still has a bit too much of a perimeter game but has the puck handling skills to get in closer. The Kamloops Blazers selected Balcers in the CHL Import Draft, already posting five points in eight games. A year in the WHL will help him, if he hasn’t already, figure out what he will need to do to compete physically at the next levels. Zachary DeVine

September 2016 – Balcers has made the jump from Norway's top division with the Stavanger Oilers to the WHL's Kamloops Blazers. Balcers was taken 43rd overall by Kamloops Blazers in the CHL Import Draft and will give Sharks fans a good look on the smaller ice surface. Opinions are very mixed on Balcers and his flashes of brilliance followed by long spells of modest play is a concern. At the Sharks development camp, Balcers had issues in nearly any physical situation from drills to scrimmages. He looks to have filled out some from his draft year, but more work in the weight room is still required. Also, a healthy dose of grit will need to make it into his game before he turns to the North American professional game. Zachary DeVine

 

June 2016 – The Sharks must’ve had some good scouting trips to Latvia because they decided to draft Balcers and Karlis Cukste in back-to-back rounds at the 2015 draft. Balcers is a rail thin winger with a terrific wrist shot that he’ll unleash at the drop of a hat. The 19-year-old possesses elite-level speed that would challenge even the quickest of NHL talents, but he also has the ability to slow things down and become an elusive element as he enters the offensive zone with the puck. As one of the youngest players in the Norwegian top league the last two seasons, Balcers has produced well, following up a strong draft season by scoring 21 goals in 60 combined regular season and playoff games in 2015-16. Strength will be the overwhelming focus for the young Latvian this summer as he will need to put on plenty of weight before comfortably transitioning to the North American game. Cam Robinson

 

 

Fantasy Outlook: C

Balcers is now in the WHL, and it will be a real test of the small and skilled Latvian. More strength and consistency from game to game is needed. 

 

 

Footage:

Rudolfs Balcers - NHL Draft Prospect 2015 - Stavanger Oilers 2014/2015

 

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