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Road to the NHL Draft: Valentin Zykov

By John Vogl

Valentin Zykov

Position: Left wing

Junior team: Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)

Born: St. Petersburg, Russia

Measurables: 6-foot, 208 pounds

2012-13 stats: 67 games, 40 goals, 35 assists, 75 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 7

Lowdown: Like Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko, Zykov left his Russian homeland to play in the Quebec junior league. It’s trending toward a necessary step for foreign players who want to leave no doubt that the NHL, not the KHL, is the place for them.

An unknown before the season, Zykov rocketed up draft charts with a 40-goal outing that culminated in Canadian Hockey League Rookie of the Year honors. He has a body built for smaller North American rinks. Though Russian, scouts view him as a prototypical Canadian power forward who likes to crash the net. He is tough to knock off the puck and wins battles along the boards. He has an accurate shot and deceptive speed.

Zykov needs to improve his consistency. He hasn’t shown well in international competitions, leading to mixed reviews. While NHL Central Scouting has him seventh, International Scouting Services ranked him 19th and scouts for the Hockey News rated him 31st.

They said it: "Valentin demonstrates extraordinary rigor in everything he takes on. He is serious in his training on and off the ice, and leaves nothing half done. He is intense, driven and a perfectionist. No other player on the team possesses as much discipline as Valentin. He has a calm and quiet temperament and a positive influence on his teammates in and out of the locker room.” -- Eric Veilleux, coach of Baie-Comeau.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft June 30.


NHL Entry Draft
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |