Report: Sensational Draft Prospect Evading NHL Teams For Interviews

One of the most intriguing cases as we get closer to the NHL Draft is that of elite offensive talent Matvei Michkov. He's been called the best Russian prospect since Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin in 2004.

The Russian phenom is a wild card entering the proceedings, however, as we've learned that he's been evading interviews with the top teams in the draft. If all things were equal, he'd probably go No. 2 overall. But Michkov is an enigma. And that can scare teams, as noted by NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman:

I think the true storyline here before the Draft itself is: who does he meet with? Because... a number of teams are indicating that they can't get an assurance that he'll talk to them before the draft. 

"There's a lot of mystery about him," added Friedman, "and teams want to get to know who they're dealing with here... So there's a number of teams wanting to meet with him, and they haven't gotten a commitment yet... So the intrigue around him continues as we get closer to it."

Michkov wasn't at the Combine, and there is some thought that the reason he'd snub the teams at the top of the draft in advance is that he wants to fall to the Washington Capitals at No. 8, where he'd get to pair up with Russian NHL legend Alex Ovechkin. 

The other very significant issue to face for teams that are considering drafting Michkov is that he is signed with the KHL club SKA through the 2025-26 season.  

The credentials, though, are unmistakable. Michkov had 70 goals in 26 games for Lokomotiv’s U16 team when he was just 15 years old. He then went on to register the most goals (38) and points (56) ever by a 16-year-old in Russia's top junior league, the MHL. And in his age-17 season, he potted 30 goals in just 28 games. He was also the MVP of the U18 world championships in 2021.

Photo: Handout Photo-USA TODAY NETWORK