Flyers Take Center German Rubtsov with 22nd Pick
BUFFALO — Were it not for a doping scandal in his native Russia, German Rubtsov might not have been there at 22 when the Flyers drafted him Thursday night.
He might not even have been available at 18, where the Flyers were before they traded back four spots with the Winnipeg Jets.
“I’m not worried that I didn’t go higher,” Rubtsov said through Ken Hoodikoff, one of the Flyers’ overseas scouts who watched him play this season. “I was hoping to be drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers, so everything worked out the way I was hoping.”
Two months ago, the Russian under-18 team was heading to Flyers coach Dave Hakstol’s old stomping grounds at Grand Forks, North Dakota when the entire team was replaced for a doping scandal two days before their departure.
“It’s still hard to understand exactly how it worked out,” Rubtsov said through the translator. “We were caught obviously taking a not-allowed substance and we weren’t allowed to go to the tournament. Obviously everybody was disappointed we couldn’t go, but now it’s over thank goodness.”
The entire team was taking Meldonium, a Latvian-made cardiac drug that the World Anti-Doping Agency added to its banned list on Jan. 1. It’s the same drug that tennis star Maria Sharapova was just banned two years for using.