Rudolfs Balcers

Hometown:

Liepaja Latvia

Currently Playing In:

Europe

Birthday:

1997-04-08

Position:

LW

Eligible for draft:

2015

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

2015

Height:

5-11

Acquired:

5th round (142nd overall), 2015

Weight:

165 lbs.

<<<<<<< Updated upstream
History

2011-12: Rudolfs Balcers played for the Lorenskog U17 team in Norway as a 14-year-old. He scored 15 goals with 9 assists and was -8 with 8 penalty minutes in 21 games.

2012-13: Balcers led the Lorenskog U18 team in scoring in his first season. He scored 20 goals in 26 regular season games, tops on the team, and was +23 with 17 assists and 26 penalty minutes. Lorenskog finished fourth, falling in the playoff quarterfinals. Balcers scored 3 goals with 1 assist and was +2 with 32 penalty minutes in two playoff games.

2013-14: Balcers made his pro hockey debut in Norway — skating in two games for the Stavanger Oilers in GET-Ligaen and playing 10 games for second division club Viking — and was a dominant scorer for the Viking Hockey U18 team. He played for the Latvia U18 team in the 2014 Division 1A World Junior Championship. Balcers was +1 with 1 assist and no penalties in his stint with the Oilers. He scored 6 goals with 3 assists and was -4 with 4 penalty minutes in 10 games for the Viking men’s team. In 22 games for the club’s U18 team he scored 35 goals with 23 assists and was +17 with 20 penalty minutes. Viking Hockey finished fifth and lost in the U18 playoff quarterfinals. Balcers scored 3 goals with 2 assists and was -5 with no penalties in three playoff games. He was +3 with 2 assists and no penalty minutes in five games for the Latvia U18 team. Latvia was 4-1 in the round robin tournament, winning a gold medal and earning promotion to the top division for 2014-15.

2014-15: Balcers played in 36 regular season games for Stavanger in his first GET-Ligaen season and played for Latvia in the U20 and U18 World Juniors tournaments. He scored 8 goals with 13 assists and was +14 with 8 penalty minutes in GET-Ligaen play. Stavanger finished first in the GET-Ligaen regular season and won the playoff title. Balcers did not appear in any playoff games with the men’s team, skating for the silver medal-winning Oilers’ junior squad in the U20 playoffs. He scored 6 goals with 3 assists and was +3 with 2 penalty minutes in seven regular season games and had 14 goals with 9 assists, finishing +5 with 14 penalty minutes in 12 playoff games. In five games at the 2015 Division 1A World Juniors with the Latvia U20 team he scored 2 goals and was +2 with 4 penalty minutes. Latvia finished third behind Belarus and Norway. The Latvia U18 team competed in the top group at the 2015 WJC and in six games Balcers scored 2 goals with 4 assists and was +3 with 2 penalty minutes. Latvia finished ninth in the 10-team tournament ahead of Germany, avoiding relegation. Balcers was ranked 80th amongst international skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by San Jose in the fifth round (142nd overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Talent Analysis

Balcers is a raw long-term project. He has blazing speed, above average to excellent hands, a good slap shot, and an even better wrist shot; with a no-quit motor that rivals that of countryman Zemgus Girgensons of the Buffalo Sabres. He needs to get stronger and add more structure to his development but has the elements of an effective power forward.

Future

Balcers is in his second season playing for Stavangar Oilers in the Norway top league as an 18-year-old and will likely play for Latvia's U20 team at the 2016 World Junior Championship in Finland. Long-term he projects as a potential sniper with a blue collar grit to his game but Balcers is fairly early in the development process at this point.

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