Top prospect is doing exactly what Jaromir Jagr did; fooling NHL teams ahead of this year’s draft, Russian report says

There’s quite a mystery regarding one of the top prospects in this year’s NHL draft. Of course, Connor Bedard is widely expected to be selected as the No. 1 pick, but behind him, it’s a lot of uncertainty, especially about Matvei Michkov.

The Russian is considered the greatest Russian talent in the draft since Alex Ovechkin, and his 0.67 PPG is the highest for a draft-eligible player in KHL history. But NHL teams don’t have much information about him.

211226 Matvei Michkov of Russia celebrates after scoring 3-4 during the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship game between Russia and Sweden on December 26, 2021 in Red Deer. Photo: Joel Marklund / BILDBYRÅN

Michkov didn’t attend the NHL Draft Combine in Buffalo held earlier this month, but it’s believed that he will be in Nashville ahead of the NHL draft. But according to reports in Russia, it’s already decided where Michkov will end up.

The hockey site RMNB reported on Monday, citing Russian outlet Match TV, that it’s a ”99 percent chance” that the Washington Capitals will select him this summer. ”Michkov will go to Washington, you’ll see,’ a source told Match TV, as reported by RMNB.

Of course, Alex Ovechkin has something to do with it, but other factors are also involved. NHL teams have found it difficult to talk with Michkov during the last year.

He’s on a three-year contract with SKA Saint Petersburg, and it’s believed that Washington will have patience with that.

“No one is surprised that Matvey dismissed representatives of the NHL teams who came to him in Russia,” the source said.

“If he doesn’t want to, he won’t communicate. Michkov belongs to SKA for another three years. He is dependent in this sense – he was told by the club not to speak with overseas representatives, so he does not speak. This is clear already to the teams [at the top of the draft].”

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – JANUARY 22: #19 Matvei Michkov of Russian Federation and #20 Kirill Kudryavtsev of Russian Federation during Men’s 6-Team Tournament Gold Medal Game between Russia and United States of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics on January 22, 2021 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals has the eighth pick of the draft. According to many reports, Michkov should get selected way earlier, but it seems to be a high risk. It could be the best steal in a long time if everything goes as the Capitals hope.

When Jaromir Jagr met with NHL teams before his draft, he told the teams selecting 1, 2, 3, and 4 that he wouldn’t come to the NHL in his first season. But when he talked to Pittsburgh, he told them he would come immediately. That scared other teams from selecting him, and he achieved his dream of playing with Mario Lemieux. And now, it seems like Michkov is doing almost the same thing.

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