With the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Fansided Mock Draft, the New York Islanders select Valentin Zykov, LW, from Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Zykov scored a rookie-leading 40 goals for Drakkar during his first season in North America. For his 75-point effort, Zykov’s earned himself the Michel Bergeron Trophy, which is awarded annually to the QMJHL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and the 2012-13 BMO CHL Rookie of the Year Award.
This 18-year-old is more than the stereotypical one-dimensional player out of Russia, though. As it turns out, Zykov may be one of the most complete, all-around players in this year’s draft class.
Zykov combines his traditional “Russian” offensive explosiveness with a “Canadian” hard-nosed style of play, as he uses his 6’0, 207 lbs. frame to wreak havoc in the corners and creating scoring chances in front of the net. As a matter of fact, a large chunk of Zykov’s goals came off of rebounds, with him battling for position.
Eric Veilleux, Head Coach of Baie-Comeau Drakkar, had this to say about Valentin Zykov:
Valentin demonstrates extraordinary rigor in everything he takes on. He is serious in his training on and off the ice, and leaves nothing half done. He is intense, driven and a perfectionist. No other player on the team possesses as much discipline as Valentin. He has a calm and quiet temperament and a positive influence on his teammates in and out of the locker room.
Additionally, Zykov appears to be a character guy in the locker room, and one of the most dedicated players at his craft. Under Garth Snow’s regime, the Islanders have shown their preference in drafting skilled guys that will provide a positive locker room influence. From Coach Veilleux’s words, it would seem that Zykov could fit the bill for the New York Islanders, and that’s why the Islanders won’t shy away from drafting a Russian player in the first round for the first time since they selected Darius Kasparaitis in 1992.