2010-11: Aleksander Barkov, the son of former Russian national team and Tappara Tampere forward Alexander Barkov, played 25 games for Tappara’s U20 team as a 15-year-old and represented Finland in international competition at the U17 and U16 levels. He scored 5 goals with 12 assists and had six penalty minutes in the U20 SM-Liiga. Barkov scored 10 goals with 8 assists in 13 games for Tappara’s U18 team and led Tappara to the U16 playoff finals, scoring 7 goals with 17 assists in 10 games. Tappara captured a silver medal.
2011-12: Barkov made his SM-Liiga debut at 16-years-old, playing in 32 games for Tappara, and represented Finland in the 2013 U20 and U18 World Junior Championship tournaments. In 32 SM-Liiga games he scored 7 goals with 9 assists and was plus-five with 4 penalty minutes; averaging 13:32 minutes of ice time. Tappara missed the playoffs after finishing in 12th place. In five games with Tapppara’s U20 team he scored 2 goals with 3 assists. Barkov skated in all seven games at the U20 WJC for fourth-place Finland, scoring 1 goal with 3 assists and had 1 goal with 2 assists and 27 penalty minutes in seven games at the U18 WJC.
2012-13: Barkov played a key role for Tappara in what was the Tampere clubs best season in a decade. Tappara’s second-leading scorer behind veteran Ville Nieminen, Barkov scored 21 goals with 27 assists and was plus-18 with 8 penalty minutes in 53 games. Tappara finished in second place and reached the SM-Liiga playoff finals. Barkov had five assists and was plus-three in five playoff games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury early in Game 5 of a quarterfinal game against HIFK. The injury prevented Barkov from playing for Finland in the U18 WJC. He skated for Finland in Ufa at the 2013 U20 World Junior Championship. In six games he scored 3 goals with 4 assists and was plus-two with 6 penalty minutes. Barkov was the top-ranked European skater in Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings prior to the 2013 NHL Draft, and remained the top-ranked Euro skater in the CSS final rankings.
Aleksander Barkov possesses the rare combination of size and outstanding technical skills along with an ability to quickly analyze situations. He is very mature in terms of hockey sense at an early age and has had success playing against much older players in Finland's SM-Liiga. His skating ability is still developing but is not a weakness. Does not play an abrasive game but has the size and strength to withstand the rigors of the more physical North American game.
Despite the fact that Barkov will not turn eighteen until just before fall training camp starts, his spot on the Florida roster is all but a certainty. He has already played nearly two full seasons in Finland’s top league and has proved that he is capable of succeeding against veteran professional players. Barkov has the look of a perennial All-Star in the NHL and should be a contender for a Calder Trophy this season.