NHL Draft Profile: Valentin Zykov
Hometown: St. Petersburg, Russia
Birth Date: 1995-05-15
Weight: 209 lbs
Position: Left Wing
67 Games Played, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Central Scouting Rank: #7 in North America
A good skater with great on-ice vision, Zykov's offensive upside is tantilizing. He possesses an accurate shot and excellent passing abilitiy, and he uses his solid frame to his advantage in front of the net and in the corners. Dangerous in close, Zykov has a quick release and is always looking to pick up rebounds while driving to the net. He plays a power style and is still developing.
Despite scoring 40 goals last season, Zykov still has work to do on his consistency and his skating stride. He's still a very raw talent which makes him a quality under-the-radar selection for a team looking to add offensive talent and time to allow Zykov to fully develop.
He may be under-the-radar but don't expect Zykov to stick around long. It would be unlikely that he's available in the second half of the 1st round. The Islanders (#15), Sabres (#16) and Senators (#17) would all do well to add him.
Scouts are saying:
“Zykov has slipped under the radar for most of the season, but whoever ends up with him after Draft Day 2013 could be walking away with a steal. An unheralded addition by Baie-Comeau last summer, he adapted quickly to the QMJHL and set a handful of team rookie scoring records along the way. A complete player, it could be argued that perhaps no draft eligible player in the league is as dangerous in close as Zykov. He scored a large chunk of his goals by driving the net, fighting for position and looking for a quick release or to pot a rebound. But he’s not just a goal scorer either, as he’s got a solid frame and used it well to win battles along the wall and get his nose dirty in the corners. His goals might not always be the prettiest, but they count just as much. As he improves his skating, he’ll become even more dangerous on the ice.”
- Kevin Forbes, Hockey's Future
“Zykov was one of this season's biggest surprises. He did not come into the QMJHL as an elite scoring prospect, but he really flourished at Baie-Comeau. He is a skilled player, showing nice touch with the puck. He is able to make plays in tight spaces, flashing high-end skill at times. He can distribute the puck at a quality level, showing quick decision-making, with good offensive instincts. Zykov's intriguing element is his physicality. He is quite strong for a U-18 player, and he is proficient at shielding the puck and driving the net. He works hard, he will backcheck, and he can lay some crushing hits. His skating is an area of concern. A few sources describe him as a good skater, but a few that I trust believe he is clearly below average.”
- Corey Pronman, Hockey Prospectus
"Zykov is a big, powerful winger with a great shot and quick release. Very hard to take off of the puck. Zykov has size and skill, but he is very raw. He’s a longer-term project, and the “Russian” factor will have a huge impact in his selection. Yet, because he has speed and he can score, Zykov has the potential to be a top-6 forward with some seasoning in the minors."
- Ryan Holmer, The Prospect Report