By John Vogl
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.
taggedNHL Entry Draft