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Matvei Michkov: the CH must draw inspiration from the Blackhawks of the 2010s

Matvei Michkov is almost certainly the most talked-about name in the upcoming NHL draft. The young Russian forward represents a rather polarizing case: on the ice, he has the talent to be in Connor Bedard’s league, but because of all the uncertainty surrounding him, some are dismissing him outright from the top-5.

And others even take him out of the top-10. And that’s saying a lot.

That said, should Michkov end up making the jump to North America, he has the potential to be one of the best players on the circuit. He’s a real offensive bomb, and seeing him score 100 points in one season is a more than plausible scenario.

Earlier today, Craig Button spoke about the Russian forward, who could sign his NHL entry-level contract at the age of 21. And Button makes an interesting point: the Blackhawks took advantage of the entry-level contracts of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to win the Stanley Cup in 2010.

Obviously, it’s not as simple as “drafting Michkov = Stanley Cup win”, but his point remains interesting: in an NHL that’s increasingly accountable, the idea of being able to have a youngster like Michkov on a three-year entry-level contract when he’ll be between 21 and 24 is downright enticing.

Imagine a more physically mature Mishkov scoring 70-80 points a year for less than a million dollars a year: I don’t need to tell you it’s profitable.

And if Mishkov dominates a top-6 while earning little money, it also allows the CH to spend elsewhere to have a better club around the Russian forward. It ‘s hard to project that far into the future on a salary level, but let’s just say that Pierre-Luc Dubois at $9 million a year becomes more digestible when you look at him and Michkov making $10 million a year together.

We agree that we’re in a pretty hypothetical scenario here, but the mere idea of acquiring a player of Mishkov’s caliber and seeing him be dominant on a top-6 while on his entry-level contract is enough to make one salivate. Talk about the Blackhawks, who won the Cup in 2010 with a scenario like this.

That’s why I agree with Button (who even says there’s “no risk” in drafting Michkov): if he’s available at No. 5, we might as well select him and wait until he arrives. In the meantime, the rest of the club’s foundation will be built, and there will be a three-year window in which the team’s top prospect could earn a mere pittance by being dominant.

I still think Ryan Leonard will land in Montreal on June 27, but for all the reasons listed above, I really hope it’s Michkov. We’ll have the answer in just over two weeks.

In gust

– That’s right. I think he’ll play tomorrow, though.

– That’s not entirely untrue.

– That’s a lot of money, though.

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