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Potential Canadiens Draft Pick Matvei Michkov Can’t Be Ignored



Canadiens potential pick Matvei Michkov

The Montreal Canadiens will have an opportunity to add a game-changing presence to their lineup at the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

Beyond Connor Bedard, the top five players available in the Draft all present good options for a team like the Habs that lacks elite talent in the prospect pipeline.

However, there is one prospect who may be available that carries a much higher upside than the rest: Matvei Michkov.

Video Room

Unless you live in Sochi or watch KHL games live, it’s rather difficult to get a good read on Michkov’s skillset due to existing copyright laws.

But thanks to a fantastic video breakdown by prospect expert David St-Louis, we finally have an opportunity to get a better appreciation of what Michkov brings to the table.

Simply put, if not for Bedard’s presence, Michkov would be considered one of the most talented prospects in recent draft history. Thanks to his high-end offensive awareness and multi-faceted approach to generating scoring plays, Michkov projects as a forward that can quickly shift the momentum of a game on a whim.

As you’ll see in St-Louis’ video breakdown, Michkov is creative, has a fantastic shot, and can read the ice much better than his counterparts.


By The Numbers

Michkov turned 18 on Dec.9, which means he spent a significant portion of the KHL season as a 17-year-old. But despite facing much bigger opponents with a wealth of experience, the flashy forward managed to impress with his production.

To make matters worse, the team he was playing for, Sochi HC, managed to win just 11 of their 68 games this season. To say they were the worst team in the league is accurate, but it’s also understating just how poorly the team performed

Despite the adversity and his lack of experience, Michkov managed to score 9 goals and 11 assists in 27 games.

In otherwords, even though he played fewer than half of their games, Michkov actively participated in almost 15 percent of Sochi’s scoring plays. Additionally, he finished the season with the second-highest points-per-game ratio by an 18-year-old in the KHL over the course of the last 10 years.

Consequently, Michov’s draft profile has reached generational status. He compares well to players such as Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Connor McDavid, and Auston Matthews, among others.

Risk Reward

At this point, I can hear people yelling from the top of their lungs, “What about the risk?!”

And though I’m much less concerned than most about the risk involved in drafting Michkov, it’s certainly a factor that must be considered.

Michkov signed a contract with SKA St-Petersburg, which means he will not make his way to North America for a few years. But when we take a closer look at the rest of the players available in the first round, other than Bedard and Adam Fantilli, who will not be available once the Canadiens take to the podium with the fifth overall selection, none of the players project to make an impact in the NHL within the next few seasons.

In that context, Michkov’s delayed arrival in the NHL won’t necessarily take much longer than other available prospects.

And within that time frame, he will be playing for one of the best teams in Europe, while also facing an elevated quality of competitors.

It would also guarantee that the Canadiens, who have a long history of rushing top 5 prospects, would not be tempted to toss him into the mix earlier than needed, which would mitigate some of the risk involved in Michkov’s development.

For the record, no top prospect drafted out of Russia has ever refused to come to North America. Despite the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, we can safely put that subject to bed, especially when considering Michkov has stated his dream is to play in the NHL.

And yet, that doesn’t mean picking Michkov is not a risky endeavour.

But a tremendous reward can be found within that risk, the type of reward that can propel a team like the Canadiens into Stanley Cup contention.

We often discuss risk management as a tool used to avoid risk, but risk is an inherent part of sports.

Teams that fail to see the value in breaking from the norm tend to toil in mediocrity.

In this particular case, the long-term reward seems to outweigh the risk by a significant margin.

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I hope the habs get a chance at this generation talent…..he would definitely be the best option at the draft


The slam dunk decision to take him if he’s available is even easier to make now. Let’s get to the draft already! I’m running to the podium if I’m Hughes and Columbus and San Jose have passed on him. It would be a franchise changing moment.

Pierre B.

Goal scoring is what we want to see as fans. This is why Caufield is so popular in Montreal. Imagine a scoring threat that is even greater and the opponents’ defense forced to counter two elite goal scorers. It would be unforgiveable if the current management fails to draft the best prospect available at #5.


Exactly. That’s what I’ve been thinking too. We might actually be able to develop a lethal powerplay for the first time in forever if the defending team has no idea who is going to snipe it. I can see Hutson and Suzuki feeding those 2 right now. Throw in Anderson/Slafkovsky as a net-front presence… An improved PP would also mean an instant 10 point jump in the standings, and likely even more. Throw in a Dubois signing in 2024 (another PP option) and all of a sudden things are looking pretty rosy in Montreal. There’s still a lot of work to do of course, but we’d have the personnel to actually start putting something special together.


Well hmmm… I’m one of those people who’s always yelling NOOOOO every time his name comes up but now I’m not so sure… the risk is still there but the reward is more real after watching this very impressive video.

Last edited 16 days ago by Frank

Welcome to team Michkov. It’s pretty awesome over here. 😁👍


Honestly, I rather pass if he was available at #5. I do NOT want to wait 2-4 seasons to find out whether or not this was a bust or a slam dunk. I want someone who can come in immediately – to either the AHL team, or the Big Club – as in this coming season.

And I have an issue with this statement from above:

…when we take a closer look at the rest of the players available in the first round, other than Bedard and Adam Fantilli, who will not be available once the Canadiens take to the podium with the fifth overall selection, none of the players project to make an impact in the NHL within the next few seasons.
In that context, Michkov’s delayed arrival in the NHL won’t necessarily take much longer than other available prospects.

Really? So Benson and Leo should be ignored at #5 (if available), no matter what? Neither “project” to make an impact within the next few seasons? If this was LAST season’s draft, Habs would have taken either of these two ahead of Slaf – hands down!

I say take Benson (top end winger), make a move up to get either RD Rinebacher or Pellikka, and then offersheet PLD during RFA season. So we get our top end winger, a high end RD prospect, and another top 6 centre all in one. And we need all three. We get all three, and that is one hell of an offseason of filling holes and getting better!

Last edited 16 days ago by morrisk
Pierre B.

Many experts believe that it would have been better for Slafkovsky’s development to play at least one season in the AHL. I tend to believe that Leo Carlsson should have been included with Fantilli and Bedard as prospects who are close-to-be NHL-ready in that quote. Typically prospects like Slafkovsky or Smith, Benson, Dvorsky will take a few years before making an impact in the NHL. Let’s just look at the 2019 draft class, Hughes had an impact (43 goals, 99 points, +10) this season, his 4th. The previous one, his 3rd, he did ok (26 goals, 56 points, -16) but not the previous ones (21 and 31 points, respectively). If we look at the 2020 draft class. Lafrenière and Byfield have yet to make an impact. Stutzle has made one (39 goals, 90 points, -3) this season, his 3rd. The previous season, he did well offensively with 22 goals and 58 points, but not defensively as his -27 goal differential indicates (the worst on his team).


You make very good points, all around. The only thing I would slightly differ on is that both Benson and Leo are ahead of Slaf. Say they were all in the same draft – either this year or last. Leo or Benson would have been taken #1 and #2, respectively. And honestly, THIS draft, Slaf is probably a mid 1st rd pick at best, but was over-hyped to get to #1 last draft. So I can argue that neither Benson nor Leo need any time in the minors to start. But even if they did, I’d assume they would be on the Big club before end of season, likely by about the midpoint or just after.

And for Lafrenière and Byfield…maybe both are just not that good and both were also over-hyped in their respective drafts. Maybe, they never should have been taken that high and thus, there would not be as much pressure to succeed as fast. Its still sometimes a crap-shoot when drafting in the top 5 and its never a guarantee – could be a HOFer, or could be Dolly Parton.


Lol. AHL. He’s already going to be playing against men. If he’s not on the habs, why does it matter? He’s 18 so he should be given time to develop for at least one season. Habs can try to buy him out one or two years early It also slides his ecl until he arrives which will come in handy managing the cap.

Pierre B.

I hope that the people in the entourage of Hughes and Gorton will convey to them a message that reflects the same conclusions.

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