Entering the draft as the 123rd ranked skater in North America, it would be easy to overlook a player like Henry Rybinski. Further to that, he isn’t been included in many public rankings either.
That said, Rybinski is a tenacious forward who has some great offensive qualities that were on display in the second half of the season following a trade to the Seattle Thunderbirds.
A lot of people might be sleeping on him because of the circumstances surrounding this trade, as well as the muted numbers he put up in the season as a whole, but we feel that he showed enough once put in a position to succeed that he is worth a mid-round selection at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
- Age/Birthdate: 17 / June 26, 2001
- Birthplace: Vancouver, BC, CAN
- Frame: 6-foot-1 / 170 lbs
- Position: Left Wing
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
2018-19 Stat Rundown
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Rybinski is a highly skilled player whose talents really shine when you focus in on him. The first thing that will stand out about him is his relentless on the puck. When he isn’t the one carrying the puck into the zone, he seems to always be the first player in on the forecheck. He won’t run his opponents over but does a fantastic job of hounding them to force turnovers.
If he does have the puck, he is a skilled stick-handler that he uses to create separation from his opponents. A fantastic example was explained by Mitch Brown of The Athletic and Elite Prospects:
This goal by Henrik Rybinski (2019 eligible) is one of the nicest and most well-executed plays of the WHL season. Teammate sets the space, Rybinski sets up deke on arc with a crossover. Baits defender's stick with handling, then extends to slide puck under D's stick & separate. pic.twitter.com/V2qocLufC6
— Mitch Brown (@MitchLBrown) March 27, 2019
Rybinski is able to complete these impressive and ballsy moves and then quickly create a chance with his shot or play-making abilities.
His point totals (8-32-40) and playing style suggest that he is primarily a play-maker, and that is what allows him to thrive, but he shows a fantastically quick and deceptive release on his shot when the opportunity is afforded to him. If the time and space aren’t there, he utilizes his awareness and passing skills to thread the puck to wide-open teammates.
He also isn’t afraid to attack and drive towards the net to generate his offence.
The right-handed winger is more than willing to battle in front of the net, banging at pucks or taking it out of the fray to find an open teammate on the perimeter of the mayhem for a higher percentage chance.
He is a multi-tooled offensive player that is aided by a great work ethic and hockey IQ.
Rybinski is very adept at using his edges to shift the balance from one side to other, allowing him to use his stick-handling abilities effectively; he can pull off the move, shift his weight, and then continue to press forward. The Vancouver-born winger isn’t the quickest to accelerate, instead relying more on finding an open line and going momentum. He could also use some improvement to his overall top speed, but that may come as he adds more strength to his lower body.
Rybinski thrives in the offensive zone but isn’t a slouch on the defensive side of the game. He has shown a willingness to do whatever needs to be done to defend, including blocking shots, and is very good at jumping on loose pucks to create transition.
Much of the focus placed on Rybinski this year was regarding his request to be traded out of Medicine Hat due to ice-time and role. It resulted in him sitting out for a while and then playing some games in the BCHL before being sent to Thunderbirds.
Luckily for him, he was able to take off offensively after making the move to Seattle and it gave him personal vindication for his claim that, given a larger role, he’d be a more effective player.
You can’t really fault a player for getting frustrated at his role during his NHL draft-eligible year, and wanting to be a situation that would allow him to succeed. The window for these players to set themselves apart is so small and can pass before they know it.
The increased ice-time is clearly displayed in the rolling 5-on-5 point per hour rates.
His point totals with both teams also reflect that he was given a larger role and made the most of it:
Seattle is a team going through a rebuild and thus felt they were able to give Rybinski a chance. He, along with goaltender Roddy Ross, were a huge reason why the Thunderbirds were able to climb themselves into a playoff spot.
Rybinski produced generally mediocre results in terms of goals-for WOWY
His line is mostly ahead in terms of the goal share, so the minor drag on his most common linemates shouldn’t be of concern.
Given his production over the two teams this season, his pGPS gives out the following read-out:
With a cohort of 177 matches, Rybinski is assessed an 18% likelihood of becoming an NHL regular. That number is the 67th highest rate among first time draft eligible players, and is certainly good value in the middle rounds.
When looking at all the data, there aren’t many things that will blow you away, but there also aren’t many reasons for concern that he can’t continue what he did with Seattle in the second half of this season. That alone would represent a step forward next season.
The major concern is that Seattle has gone all in their rebuild, which included a blockbuster trade of Jake Lee and Dillon Hamaliuk to Kelowna on WHL draft day. Given the graduating players as well, Rybinski’s support will be gone for next season. He wanted a bigger role; he will certainly be getting it next season.
Rybinski is a player that immediately jumped out to me in my first viewing of him with the Thunderbirds, and I couldn’t take my eyes off him whenever I saw him after that. He’s a fun player that utilizes his skills to make some great plays.
Needless to say, I am big fan of his game and what he brings to the table. It will be interesting to see where ends up going on draft day but without a doubt, he is a player that I would target in the middle part of this draft.
He has some issues to work out in his game, but there is enough to like about him now that there should be little concern about him getting where he needs to get to carve out an NHL career as an offensive third line player. Outside of the elite, nobody is a sure bet of course, but Rybinski appears worth taking a chance on.
Rolling Season Data
Raw data for the charts used in this article came from eliteprospects.com and WHL.ca.
Clips were pulled from original broadcasts, with all rights reserved for the original broadcast companies.
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