200-10: Nikita Jevpalovs played for SK Riga’s U18 team in Latvia. In 19 games he scored 34 goals with 37 assists and 10 penalty minutes.
2010-11: Jevpalovs played for the junior A South Muskoka Shield in the GMHL in Ontario. He scored 48 goals with 43 assists and had 28 penalty minutes in 41 regular season games. Jevpalovs scored 9 goals with 18 assists and 16 penalty minutes in 16 playoff games and was named the GMHL’s Top Forward and Rookie of the Year.
2011-12: Jevpalovs returned to Europe to play for HK Riga’s junior team in the MHL and represented Latvia in the 2012 U20 and U18 World Junior Championship tournaments. He scored 8 goals with 13 assists and was -2 with 52 penalty minutes in 58 regular season games for HK Riga and had 1 goal with 2 penalty minutes in one MHL playoff game. In six games at the WJC for Latvia’s U20 team he scored 2 goals with 3 assists and was an even plus/minus with 4 penalty minutes. Jevpalovs scored 1 goal with 2 assists and was -6; serving as a team captain for Latvia’s U18 team. He was selected by Blainville-Boisbriand in the first round (40th overall) of the 2012 CHL Import Draft. Jevpalovs was ranked 97th amongst International skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings but was not selected in the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Jevpalovs headed back to Canada to play for the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and was an assistant captain for Latvia at the 2013 World Junior Championship. Skating on one of the QMJHL’s top teams he scored 18 goals with 21 assists and was +26 with 36 penalty minutes in 60 games. The Armada reached the QMJHL finals against eventual Memorial Cup champion Halifax. Jevpalovs scored 3 goals with 5 assists and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes in 15 playoff games. He scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was -8 with 8 penalty minutes in six games as Latvia finished last in the 2013 WJC.
2013-14: Jevpalovs returned to the Armada for his second QMJHL season and was an assistant captain for Latvia’s silver medal-winning U20 team at the 2013 Division 1A World Junior Championship. He was Blainville-Boisbriand’s fourth-leading scorer during the regular season with 28 goals and 26 assists and was -3 with 32 penalty minutes in 61 games. The Armada finished second in the West Division to QMJHL champion Val-d’Or and reached the playoff semifinals. Jevpalovs scored 10 goals with 6 assists and was -1 with 8 penalty minutes in 20 playoff games. He scored 4 goals with 5 assists and was -1 with 4 penalty minutes in five games for Latvia at the D1A WJC. Jevpalovs was ranked 159th amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings prior to the 2014 NHL Draft but was not selected.
2014-15: Jevpalovs attended training camp with the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent before returning to Blainville-Boisbriand for an overage season. An assistant captain for the Armada, he finished two points behind Flyers’ prospect Danick Martel for the team scoring lead with 100 points. He scored 49 goals with 51 assists and was +37 with 30 penalty minutes in 64 regular season games. The Armada finished first in the West Division before being upset by Gatineau in the first round of the playoffs. Jevpalovs scored 1 goal with 5 assists and was +1 with 4 penalty minutes in five playoff games. He signed an entry-level contract with San Jose in January 2015.
Jevpalovs has the prototypical size of a power forward but plays more of a high-skill, perimeter game and is not overly abrasive. Skating in the QMJHL as an overage player along with Danick Martel (Philadelphia) in his final junior season, he dominated against the smaller, younger players at that level. Jevpalovs isn’t afraid to get involved in the corners or finish his checks but will have to develop his all around game and add strength to have that same type of success at the pro level.
Jevpalovs will attend NHL training camp with San Jose after signing an entry-level contract with the Sharks in January of 2015. Barring any surprises he will spend his first pro season in 2015-16 either in the AHL with the San Jose Barricuda or at the ECHL level. His size along with his prolific offensive production at the QMJHL suggest there is some upside but he will need to round out his overall game to be an effective NHL forward.