2023 Draft Prospect Profile: Matvei Michkov is an extremely talented prospect that should be nowhere near the Blue Jackets draft board

Can Columbus afford to wait for another winger?

The 2023 NHL Entry Draft is rapidly approaching, and it's time to look at who the Blue Jackets could pick on Wednesday, June 28th. The Columbus Blue Jackets own their first rounder, the third overall pick, as well as the LA Kings' pick, which will likely be in the 20s. Next up: Matvei Michkov.

Matvei Michkov is probably the second-most talented player in this draft, at least from a playmaking standpoint. He's been consistently compared to Connor Bedard and may be more naturally talented than Adam Fantilli is.

He's also the player at the top of the draft the Columbus Blue Jackets need the least.

First, Michkov is a winger. The Blue Jackets are flush with wingers - Patrik Laine, Johnny Gaudreau, Kirill Marchenko, Kent Johnson, Boone Jenner (in a perfect situation), Jordan Dumais - and desperately need a top six center. Michkov is many things, but he does not fill the team's most critical need. Drafting to fit is not an ideal draft process, but in this case it's too glaring to ignore the position.

Second, Michkov is under contract in the KHL through the 2025-26 season. The Blue Jackets, for better or worse, are on a time crunch - the organization has Johnny Gaudreau under contract for six more seasons (and he turns 30 in August).  The team is under the gun to capitalize on that asset, as well as Zach Werenski's prime, Patrik Laine's prime, and Boone Jenner's remaining years with a healthy back. The team cannot afford to draft a player that cannot contribute until four seasons from now. Circumstances do not allow it.

If the team were in a multi-year, protracted rebuild like the Chicago Blackhawks or San Jose Sharks, Michkov may make sense. But the Blue Jackets are not - and that's why he should not be on their draft board, even if they slip to 4th overall.

Matvei Michkov

Position: RW
Team: SKA St. Petersburg
Date of Birth: Dec. 9, 2004
Birthplace: Perm, Russia
Height: 5'10" / Weight: 172 lbs
Shoots: Left


Ranked #3 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #3 by DAILY FACEOFF
Ranked #4 by THE HOCKEY NEWS
Ranked #4 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #4 by MCKEEN'S HOCKEY
Ranked #2 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)
Ranked #4 by SPORTSNET

2022-23 Stats

HK Sochi (KHL - loan)
Games Played: 27
Goals: 9
Assists: 11
Points: 20
PIM: 14
Plus/Minus: +1

SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL)
Games Played: 12
Goals: 10
Assists: 4
Points: 14
PIM: 4
Plus/Minus: -5

Michkov had a very up and down season over the last calendar year - he was sent to the VHL (the AHL equivalent in Russia) where he posted 14 points in 12 games. He was limited by injury before being loaned to league-worst HK Sochi, at which point he was given time and opportunity to rediscover his form. Michkov played 27 games for Sochi, scoring 9-11-20 for 0.74 points per game. That PPG mark is the most by an under-19 player in KHL history, ahead of Vladimir Tarasenko, Artemi Panarin, and Kirill Kaprizov. Michkov, as a result of the aforementioned injury and due to Team Russia's ban due to the invasion of Ukraine, did not play in the 2023 World Juniors.

Scouting Reports

What makes Michkov stand out are his puck skills and overall intelligence on the ice. He is a highly creative players, and that allows him to create space for himself and his teammates in various situations. He can stickhandle his way out of trouble, and the puck can sometimes seem to be glued to his stick as he works his way around the offensive zone. He anticipates the play well, and can attack an open seam with a wicked shot or a pass with pin-point precision. - The Hockey Writers

Matvei Michkov is one of the smarter players I’ve watched this year. He dictates play, and always knows how to create the play he wants; he’s a painter, and the ice is his canvas. It feels as though he thinks two plays ahead of everyone else, and his anticipation and timing are impeccable. He knows where the puck is going before the puck itself does, and it always seems to gravitate towards him. He has the potential to be an offensive dynamo in the NHL, but he has some core issues that he’ll need to address if he intends to make it to that level. - Smaht Scouting

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