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REPORT: Michkov Will Meet With NHL Teams Before Draft

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Credit: IIHF

Bob McKenzie has quieted some of the questions surrounding Matvei Michkov, at least for now.

In his final Draft rankings, released today, McKenzie shared, “There was talk Michkov was spurning interview requests from NHL clubs, but those specific fears were looking to be either unfounded or at least allayed. Michkov’s agent, Max Moliver, has this week been scheduling interview times with a multitude of NHL clubs for early next week in Nashville.”

SJHN Daily: Michkov Trying To Influence Who Drafts Him?

The Bobfather added, “Michkov and his representatives are trying to be as accommodating as possible, given the short time frame before the draft.”

The Draft begins next Wednesday in Nashville. McKenzie says that Michkov will be in Nashville early next week.

San Jose Hockey Now expects the San Jose Sharks, who have the No. 4 pick, to meet with Michkov, but a meeting is not confirmed yet.

This would be in line with what the Athletic reported from the Draft Combine about the KHL winger two weeks ago, “A member of the Sharks contingent in Buffalo indicated they would be interested in meeting with him before the draft.”

Usually, pre-Draft interviews aren’t so make-or-break. But as McKenzie notes, “Because NHL club team personnel are not travelling freely to Russia, in the modern era of the NHL draft, certainly post-Soviet Union/Iron Curtain, no elite NHL prospect has had fewer live viewings from NHL personnel than Michkov.”

That also means not that many NHL clubs have spoken with Michkov too, at least up to this point.

“Those interviews [in Nashville] are going to be so important,” an NHL scout told McKenzie. “We couldn’t interview him [at the Combine] because he wasn’t there. We couldn’t interview him in Russia because we weren’t there.”

The San Jose Sharks, among other teams, are surely hoping that Michkov can answer all of these questions.

“Does he want to play in the NHL? How soon might he be able to come? Is there any chance he could sign an extension in Russia? Does he want to play for a particular team?” the scout mused. “How he answers the questions, how he carries himself in those interviews, will determine how high he’ll be taken or how far he’ll fall, and which team is prepared to take him.”

Michkov placed No. 5 in McKenzie’s much-respected Draft rankings.

Meanwhile, Will Smith, much rumored to go to the San Jose Sharks at No. 4, is also fourth on McKenzie’s list.

SOURCE: Smith Not Visiting San Jose Before Draft

But that doesn’t mean that McKenzie or his sources necessarily expect the Sharks to select Smith.

“It’s not a mock draft. At no time in TSN’s survey of 10 high-ranking NHL club scouts did we ask them to match prospects with teams or predict who’ll end up where,” McKenzie cautioned about his rankings. “We simply ask the scouts to rank the players in the order they would take them. Then we put all 10 lists together to come up with a consensus ranking that historically has been a decent barometer of where in the draft a player is most likely to be taken.”

For what it’s worth though, at No. 26 and 36 on McKenzie’s Top-96 rankings are defensemen Theo Lindstein and Tanner Moldendyk, both whom SJHN can confirm that the Sharks did interview at the Combine.

Sharks’ Draft Combine Facts, Rumors & Misdirections

In the first three rounds, the Sharks have the No. 4, 26, 36, and 94 picks. We’ll see soon how those selections match with McKenzie’s rankings.

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