Rumors that Matvei Michkov will end up falling to the Washington Capitals are getting louder.
Monday, according to a report from Russian outlet Match TV, the Washington Capitals are said to be targeting Michkov with their first-round draft selection, number eight overall. The report’s source features “an expert close to the teams that will be the first to choose in the 2023 draft.”
The source outlines that Michkov will have a 99 percent chance of being picked by Washington if he falls to the eighth pick. That expert also says that the Caps will have little competition when it comes to adding the uber-talented winger to their organization.
“Michkov will go to Washington, you’ll see,” the source told Match TV and translated via Google Translate. “The Capitals will definitely take him – there is only one competitor for [them], San Jose, who will make the fourth choice. Because, the owner of the club loves Russian hockey very much, and he is a fan of Igor Larionov.
“According to my information, the Capitals are seriously targeting Michkov,” the source continued. “Moreover, there is the factor of Alexander the Great – Ovechkin will deliver this kid to the Capitals when necessary. At number eight, Washington will not get a ready-made player who can play in the NHL tomorrow. The team will be waiting for [a rebuild], so the Capitals are ready to play with Michkov for a long time.”
Rumors about Michkov angling to be selected by a specific team have been swirling in recent days. Hockey insider Elliotte Friedman reported last Friday that teams have found it near impossible to sit down and meet with Michkov this past season.
The Russian source in the report has revealed why that might be occurring. It’s apparently what his KHL club, SKA Saint Petersburg, has requested of him.
“No one is surprised that Matvey dismissed representatives of the NHL teams who came to him in Russia,” the source said. “If he doesn’t want to, he won’t communicate. Michkov belongs to SKA for another three years. He is dependent in this sense – he was told by the club not to speak with overseas representatives, so he does not speak. This is clear already to the teams [at the top of the draft].”
Despite all of that, Michkov’s high talent level and the fact that he might be the top Russian draft prospect since Ovechkin could still intrigue teams enough to try and work towards taking him. Michkov’s 0.67 points per game rate was the highest for a draft-eligible player in KHL history.
The Russian source threw some cold water on that idea. “It is hard to imagine that Montreal (fifth overall) will take the Russian,” the source started. “Clubs like Arizona (sixth overall) or Philadelphia (seventh overall) understand that Michkov may not come to them until he is 26 years old. In eight seasons, the entire leadership in the NHL clubs will change. What’s the point of drafting a kid if your followers will reap the success?
“There are a million factors besides talent,” the source concludes. “In terms of talent, Michkov is number two in the draft, but he will not be taken that high.”
Headline photo: Capitals press release
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