Offensive Tools: Barkov is the total package as a forward. He diagnoses the play well, moves fluidly, flashes nice touch on his passes and converts at a stellar clip. He can hold his own in puck protection and his skating allows him to cover a ton of ground in a hurry. There’s basically nothing he can’t do on the attack.
Dependable: Though his defensive exploits are a bit overstated, he’s a diligent worker who can be deployed against the opposition’s best units. He’s particularly effective on the backcheck, where his wheels and reach shine. Moreover, he’s shifted from a liability at the dot to a center who claims nearly 55% of the faceoffs he takes. That’s phenomenal improvement.
Size: At 6’3” and 215 pounds, Barkov is a sturdy player who can combine his size, skating and puck skills to impose his will on the game. Defenders are virtually helpless once he’s in full flight. He can shield the puck from defenders or use his reach to disrupt the opposition’s possession with ease.
Passive: While he’s a solid individual defender, his approach is so tentative that the Panthers are often forced to defend as a team for extended stretches. This wears you out and inevitably creates gaps that the opposition can capitalize on. With his size, reach and mobility, he should look to be more assertive and limit the time his club spends in its end.
Penalty Kill: Barkov is content to play the containment game on the PK as well. Needless to say, it doesn’t work. He needs to apply pressure and push the opposition into mistakes. Until he begins to do so, Florida will continue to concede too many high-danger chances and goals during his 4-on-5 shifts.