Burakowsky struggled to get ice time in the second-tier Swedish pro league at the beginning of the season, but his fine form in international play has been encouraging. One NHL executive said that Burakowsky's skating is comparable to some of the top Swedes to come out of the draft recently. He gains efficient power from his stride, and he has a great top gear. His skill level allows him to regularly make above-average to high-end dekes and passes. He has the look of a skilled puck possessor with every shift. The extra element of his game is his grit, and one NHL source described his work ethic as equal to his skill level. He has the ability to impact the possession game with his skill and smarts, and he has a knack for pressuring the puck away from opponents. In order to fulfill his potential, Burakowsky will have to get stronger. There are also significant question marks around his decision making, as some scouts indicate he can be a bit of a puck hog. There are some kinks to correct, but his game has great upside, and he can be a top-line player at his peak.
Ranking explanation: Ranking Burakowsky against Bo Horvat came down to the ceilings of the two players. In the skill and speed department, Burakowsky gets the edge. At the top of his game, his hockey sense looks better as well. Horvat, however, is a more consistent player, with a better physical game and more defensive acumen. He also plays center, and could be a two-way, tough-minutes forward in the NHL. Still, Horvat's upside is merely that of an average to below-average top unit forward. Burakowsky's ceiling is a notch higher. Horvat is close in terms of talent, but the high-end tools of Burakowsky are too great to pass up at this ranking. - Hockey Prospectus
Based on skill alone, this player would be a potential top-10 pick, and the Blackhawks will be in a position to groom this elite offensive forward. However, as you can tell from this draft position, he's not a perfect player, but would be helped by coming into an organization that has won two Stanley Cups in four years and has a room full of leaders like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith. He already has creativity and slick skills, but is in need of physical development. Whoever selects him will hope that the rest of his game will improve with added strength. - ESPN ($)