2010-11: Rushan Rafikov played for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s U17 team and represented Russia in two U16 tournaments. He scored 12 goals with 16 assists and had 40 penalty minutes in 21 games. Yaroslavl was third in the Moscow Region. Rafikov was +4 with 1 goal and 4 assists in five games during Russian championship play as Lokomotiv lost to Ak Bars in the quarterfinals.
2011-12: Rafikov played for Yaroslavl’s U22 team in Russia’s MHL and the club’s U18 team and represented Russia in three U17 tournaments. He scored 4 goals with 2 assists and was +5 with 14 penalty minutes in 26 games for Loko Yaroslavl and was was -3 with 1 assist and 25 penalty minutes in three MHL playoff games. Rafikov played 25 games, including five playoff games, for the Yaroslavl U18 team. He scored 8 goals with 9 assists and had 57 penalty minutes. In six games at the 2012 U17 World Hockey Challenge in Canada he had 2 assists with 10 penalty minutes. In a pair of Four Nations tournaments he had 4 assists and was +4 with 25 penalty minutes in six games.
2012-13: Rafikov played in 53 games for Loko Yaroslavl in his second MHL season and skated for Russia in the 2012 U19 World Junior A Challenge and Ivan Hlinka Memorial (U18) and 2013 U18 World Junior Championship tournaments. He scored 1 goal with 9 assists and was +11 with 38 penalty minutes in MHL play. Rafikov had 2 assists and 6 penalty minutes in four games at the WJAC. Playing for Russia’s U18 team he was +2 with 4 penalty minutes in four games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament and was +6 with 5 assists and 10 penalty minutes at the U18 WJC in Sochi. Russia finished fourth after a 2-1 loss to Finland in the bronze medal game. Rafikov was ranked 21st amongst European skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Calgary in the seventh round (187th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.
2013-14: Rafikov returned to Loko Yaroslavl for his third MHL season and represented Russia in the 2013 Subway Series in Canada as well as the U19 Four Nations Tournament in Russia. He scored 8 goals with 12 assists and was +30 with 46 penalty minutes as Loko had the top team in the MHL’s Western Confererence but were upset by SKA-1946 in a second round playoff series. Rafikov had no points and was -2 with 2 penalty minutes in 7 playoff games. He was -4 with no points and 2 penalty minutes in five games at the Subway Series and scored 1 goal while finishing +5 with 6 penalty minutes in three games at the Four Nations Tournament.
2014-15: Rafikov played for HK Ryazan in Russia’s second league, the VHL, as a 19-year-old. He played for the Loko Yaroslavl junior team in the MHL playoffs and was an assistant captain for the silver medal-winning Russia U20 team at the 2015 World Junior Championship. Rafikov scored 1 goal with 17 assists and was +7 with 16 penalty minutes in 35 regular season VHL games. He scored 1 goal with 2 assists and had an even plus/minus with no penalty minutes in five playoff games as Ryazan lost to Rubin Tyumen in a first-round playoff series. Rafikov was +1 with 1 goal and no penalties in two regular season MHL games with Loko. He scored 4 goals with 4 assists and was +8 with 22 penalty minutes in 14 MHL playoff games. In seven games for Russia at the World Juniors he scored 1 goal with 2 assists and was -2 with 10 penalty minutes. Russia lost to Canada, 5-4, in the gold medal game.
Rafikov is a talented Russian defender with an edge to his game who possesses an offensive upside and can generate scoring opportunities from the blue line. He continues to develop his overall game and is working to gain more consistency in his positional play. Rafikov has good puck moving skills and can carry the puck into the offensive zone to set up plays. He has the ideal frame to be an NHL defender but as with many young players will need to add bulk and strength to compete at higher levels.
Rafikov is in his first KHL season in 2015-16, skating for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl under first-year coach Alexei Kudashov. With a veteran lineup in Lokomotiv he is in a battle for a regular spot but early season injuries to Mikhail Grigoryev and Vladislav Gavrikov have allowed him to see ice time to start the year. With a higher upside than many seventh-round draft picks, Rafikov has yet to participate in a development camp or prospects' tournament with the Flames so his NHL potential is a mystery at this point. His size and skill level suggest he can be an effective two-way defenseman in the future.