Potential Canadiens Pick Matvei Michkov Discusses NHL Draft
The Montreal Canadiens will put their hands on a very talented player at the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
It may very well end up being none other than Matvei Michkov, the skilled forward who would probably be considered the best prospect at any draft that did not include Connor Bedard.
Much ink has been spilled as to Michkov’s potential, the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, as well as the lack of a transfer agreement between the NHL and the Russian Ice Federation, but thanks to a recent interview with Match TV, we have a rare opportunity to hear about Michkov’s long-term intentions directly from the horse’s mouth.
At the risk of some of his comments being lost in translation, the interview provided North Americans with some insight into Michkov’s mindset.
Preparing For Next Season
Michkov was loaned to HC Sochi last season but is likely to start the 2023-24 season with SKA St-Petersburg, which is the hockey equivalent of trading in your K-car for a Bugatti Veyron.
And while the team on which he plays will improve significantly, which should be healthy for his development, Michkov is not taking anything for granted.
“You need to be ready for everything,” he said. “Work, develop twice as much. The coaching staff will then notice it. You have to take advantage of your chance. We just need to prepare for everything.”
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The conversation quickly turned toward the 2023 Entry Draft, where Michkov is expected to be among the first players to hear their name called by an NHL team at the podium.
Michkov suggested he will not take part in the NHL combine, however, he did confirm he will be present at the Draft itself.
“I haven’t heard anything about the combine,” said Michkov.
To be clear, the translation suggests Michkov hasn’t heard anything about a harvester, but we can safely assume it confounded the NHL combine with a combine harvester.
“Most likely I won’t be there,” said Michkov about the combine. “And I will go to the draft itself at the end of June. I’m just going to watch the ceremony. It happens once in a lifetime. I can’t even imagine what will happen there, and what emotions it will be.”
Michkov would go on to state he doesn’t worry about comparisons to other prospects, such as Bedard, nor is he interested in being the main player in a Bedard-Michkov rivalry, which would essentially replace the Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin rivalry.
For now, the incredibly talented player is simply focused on his own game, though he did already admit his lifelong dream is to play in the NHL.
“I don’t think about it,” he said. “Don’t compare yourself to anyone, just be better than yesterday or last season. I will do my best for this.”
It’s always hard to get a read on someone’s tone in a transcribed interview, even more so when said transcription is translated, but it does seem like the 18-year-old winger is all business at this point in his career, which is the type of attitude that tends to impress NHL scouting teams.
A little later in the article SKA coach Roman Rotenberg referenced current Canadiens coach, Martin St-Louis, saying Michkov needs to emulate the Hart Trophy winner by being the strongest player on the ice, regardless of his size, a rather wise approach for any player hoping to find success in professional hockey.
The translated version of the article can be found here. The original version of the article is available here.
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I believe what Michkov is talking about re: the combine is that you can’t just show up to it – the NHL has to invite you. Last year, all the Russians playing in Russia were not invited.
This is correct.