Skip to content
Matvei Michkov: equal talent, Kent Hughes looks the other way

Ever since it became known that the Canadiens would be drafting fifth overall in the upcoming draft, Matvei Michkov’s name has been the talk of the town. The young man is loaded with talent, but there are doubts about the rest of his situation, as he will be spending the next few years in Russia, where he could be blackmailed into staying.

If Alexander Romanov had been benched a few times in his final year in the KHL, imagine the pressure Michkov, the local jewel, could be under to stay there.

And obviously, opinions differ. Stu Cowan, for example, thinks it’s too big a risk for the Tricolore. And his argument stands.

That said, the fact remains that a team’s goal is to go after the most talented player. And aside from Connor Bedard, it’s hard to argue that any guy is really that far ahead of Michkov in terms of pure talent at the next draft.

And in fact, Kent Hughes talks (publicly, at least) like a guy who’s also looking for that pure talent. Because yes, Mishkov has the potential to reinvigorate the organization’s entire offensive core.

When it comes to Mishkov, however, things look a little different. Hughes acknowledges the Russian forward’s immense talent, but adds a caveat: if there’s a player of equal talent to Michkov, the CH will most likely look elsewhere.

And those are his words, not mine:

If, at the end of the process, the Tricolore place other players on an equal footing with Michkov, Hughes makes no secret of the fact: there’s a very good chance the club will opt for one of the other players.

That said, unless Bedard drops to fifth (which would probably be the surprise of a lifetime, like), there’s probably no guy who comes close to Mishkov’s caliber. An argument could be made for Adam Fantilli, but he seems destined to go out at No. 2 anyway, so the CH probably won’t have to worry about him.

So, if Kent Hughes is right, I can’t see the CH finding another potentially available fifth-round prospect more talented and promising than Michkov. Nevertheless, I don’t expect the club to select him, because I think that behind the scenes, the Russian’s situation is scarier than we dare admit.

Like Corey Pronman, I think the Tricolore would prefer a guy like David Reinbacher (or Dalibor Dvorsky, or Ryan Leonard, etc.) to Michkov if the latter is still available at No. 5.

Clearly, then, the issue will continue to attract attention over the coming weeks. The decision to select (or not) Michkov could be decisive for the CH’s future, for better or for worse.

It’s up to Kent Hughes and his colleagues to come up with the best decision.

In gusto

– Speaking of Reinbacher and the next crop of prospects.

– And I understand why he’s doing it. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you, after all.

– Jordan Dumais got it.

– News from Toronto.

– Bummer.

More Content