Kings GM Dean Lombardi had to wait over three hours to make his first pick at the 2013 NHL Draft, but he’s finally in on the fun.
As we predicted, he traded up from late in the second round to get into the top 40 overall (and the top 10 of the second round). To do so, Lombardi sent three of the Kings’ ten picks (numbers 57, 88 and 96) to Edmonton for the 37th overall selection.
Then, at the heavy urging of his crew, Lombardi took Valentin Zykov, a 6-foot-1 winger from Russia. Scouts peg him as a potential future power forward. Last year he played for Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL and posted 75 points (40 goals and 35 assists) in 60 games. He was also a plus-29 during the regular season.
In the playoffs Zykov had 10 goals and 19 points in 19 games, where his team made it all the way to the league finals before being eliminated by Halifax Mooseheads.
Zykov was named the QMJHL Rookie of the Year and the CHL Rookie of the Year, as the best newbie in all of junior hockey.
Past winners of the CHL Rookie crown include Sidney Crosby (2004), John Tavares (2006), Patrick Kane (2007), Taylor Hall (2008) and Nail Yakupov (2011).
Part of Corey Pronman’s book on him for Hockey Prospectus noted:
“He is a skilled player, showing nice touch with the puck. He is able to make plays in tight spaces, flashing high-end skill at times. He can distribute the puck at a quality level, showing quick decision-making, with good offensive instincts. Zykov’s intriguing element is his physicality…Zykov could be a great second line winger.”
Top Shelf Prospects had this to say about him:
“He goes to the net very hard and knows what to do when he gets there. He has great hands in tight and can make slick moves, tip in shots, or bury rebounds. A natural goal scorer Zykov also has a strong wrist shot and quick release. Zykov also works extremely hard in the corners, winning board battles, and playing a gritty, physical game. Zykov is very strong on the puck and protects it extremely well in the cycle game.”
Tomas Hyka, a Kings draft pick from 2012, had this to share when we asked what it was like to play against the rugged forward: “He is really good, that kid. Skill level is high and he has good vision on the ice. Works hared too. Can’t wait to see him at camp next week get to know him more.”
As of this post, Lombardi and LA still have seven more picks to work with today. See the full story at the link below.
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