Prospect Watch: Valentin Zykov


RinkRoyalty will be reviewing the progress of Los Angeles Kings prospects every Wednesday as the season continues into full swing.

This week’s edition of Prospect Watch takes a look at forward Valentin Zykov.

Valentin Zykov is a man-child.  At age 19, the young Russian left winger towers over his peers at 6’2, 216 pounds.

In the 2011-2012 season Zykov played for Krasnaya Armyia Moskva of the Moscow Hockey League.  Over 52 games Zykov scored 5 goals, 11 points, and racked up 105 penalty minutes.  During the season Zykov joined Russia’s 17-and-Under team for the Under-17 World Hockey Championships.  In 5 games the youngster recorded 0 points and 0 penalty minutes.

Zykov’s play was enough to get noticed by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s scouts.  For the 2012-2013 season Zykov joined Baie Comeau Drakkar roster.  Zykov still plays for Drakkar, and is in his third year with the team.

Since joining Drakkar in the QMJHL, Zykov has been a point-per-game player.  At the end of the 2012-2013 season Zykov played in 67 games, was a 40 goal scorer, amassed 75 points, 60 penalty minutes and a +29 rating.

Zykov added another 10 goals and 19 points in 19 playoff games as well as an impressive +13 rating.  Unfortunately for Zykov and Drakkar they were defeated in five games of the QMJHL President’s Cup Finals, 4-1 by the Halifax Mooseheads.

For all this success in 2012-2013 Zykov was named the Canadian Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year.  Zykov lead all rookie players in the QMJHL, Ontario Hockey League, and Western Hockey League in goals and points.  Zykov also received Offensive Rookie of the Year, and All-Rookie Team selection honors.

Here’s some of Zykov’s highlights from early on in the 2012-2013 season:

A smart hockey club took notice of the youngster.  In the second round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, with the 37th overall pick, the Los Angeles Kings selected Valentin Zykov.

Zykov continued to have success in the 2013-2014 season.  In 53 games Zykov scored 23 goals, 63 points, 70 penalty minutes, and a +32 rating.  In 22 playoff games Zykov put up 22 points, including 7 goals and a -2 rating.  Clearly a performer in the clutch, Zykov’s production carries over to the playoffs, and critical games where goals are needed and the ability to generate points is generally low.

Sadly for Zykov and Drakkar they were again defeated in the QMJHL President Cup Finals, losing in Game 7, 4-3 to the Val-d’Or Foreurs.

Before rejoining Drakkar for the 2014-2015 season, Zykov skated at the L.A. Kings rookie training camp.  In a preseason exhibition game against the Arizona Coyotes Zykov scored a goal, aiding to the Kings victory.

Zykov has started off strong again this year, adding to an already impressive resume.  In 13 games Zykov has 5 goals, 14 points and 16 penalty minutes.

Here’s highlights from one of Drakkar’s games in October against Chicoutimi Sangueneens.  Zykov had 2 goals in the game.

Zykov is a highly skilled player.  Even better, he’s a well-rounded player.  Zykov is strong, big, a great skater, has great vision on the ice, his best assets are his hands and shot.  Unlike most Russian skill players, Zykov will go into a corner and come out with the puck after fighting along the boards.  Zykov is especially dangerous around the net, with his large frame and technical puck-handling skills.

Predictions put Zykov as a future NHL scorer.  If all goes well he could become the Kings version of Vladimir Tarasenko, who Zykov bears some resemblance to on the ice.

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On a lighter side and more personal note, Zykov’s favorite NHL player is a fellow Russian and Detroit Red Wings Star Pavel Datsyuk.  Zykov loves AC/DC, a very fun selection.  His favorite movie is The Pursuit of Happiness; which stars his favorite actor, Will Smith.

Who’s Zykov’s favorite superhero you ask?  Well, it’s Spider-Man.  Zykov enjoys playing ping-pong in his free time away from hockey, and his dream car is a Mercedes SL-anything.

It’s great news that the Kings have a player like Zykov coming up through the ranks.  In all likelihood Zykov will remain in juniors for the rest of the season and make the move to the American Hockey League, playing for the Manchester Monarchs, next year.  Depending on the Kings cap situation and roster needs Zykov could be in the show within the next two seasons or so.

We’ll continue to watch Zykov’s development as the season progresses.

Sep 22, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Valentin Zykov (38) battles for the puck with Arizona Coyotes defenseman James Melindy (68) during the first period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports