Prospects News & Rumors: Golod, Afanasyev & Michkov

The Anaheim Ducks have signed an Erie Otters forward to an entry-level contract, the Nashville Predators loaned a former second-round pick to the KHL, and a top prospect in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft is dominating in Russia as a 15-year-old.

Ducks Sign Otters’ Golod

After drafting Erie Otters defenseman Jamie Drysdale sixth overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Anaheim Ducks have gone back to Erie and signed left-winger Maxim Golod. It’s easy to see the connection, after what I’d imagine was watching several games and taking notes on Drysdale. Golod was the Otters’ top offensive player during the 2019-20 season.

He amassed 25 goals and 53 assists for 78 points in 63 games played and formed a lethal duo with recent Chicago Blackhawks sixth-round pick Chad Yetman. It was a significant increase in production from his sophomore OHL season where he posted 17 goals and 35 points in 54 games played.

Maxim Golod, OHL, Erie Otters
Maxim Golod (77) and Austin Swankler (21) celebrate a goal for the Otters. (Credit: Matt Mead, Matt Mead Photography LLC)

As his name indicates, Maxim’s parents are of Russian descent. He speaks three languages including Russian, English and French. THW’s own Hali Hetz detailed his multilingualism in an article from 2017:

Max can speak three languages, fluently. As the son of Russian emigrants, Russian is his first language, although he also picked up English by default having been raised in Canada. He later learned French at school in his Canadian hometown, for the trifecta. When asked what his favorite language of the three is, Golod replied with only the faintest of accents, “Probably Russian because I grew up speaking that language, but now it’s English since I speak it the most.”

Golod was undrafted in the last three seasons after being eligible for the first time in 2018. Here’s a look at his draft profile from the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. While he isn’t expected to challenge for a Ducks’ roster spot in training camp, he is likely to play for the San Diego Gulls at some point during the 2020-21 season. It’ll be interesting to see his development and adjustment in his first season of professional hockey.

Predators Loan Afanasyev to Russia

The Predators have loaned Russian winger Egor Afanasyev to CSKA Moscow in the KHL. Drafted 45th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, he spent last season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Windsor Spitfires after coming over from the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the United States Hockey League. With Windsor, he amassed 31 goals and 67 points in 62 games played and signed his entry-level contract with the Predators in Oct. 2019. During the 2019-20 season, he led the Spitfires in both goals (31) and points (67).

With the start of the 2020-21 OHL and AHL seasons still undetermined, it’s not surprising that Nashville found somewhere for Afanasyev to play in the meantime. It will be his first taste of professional hockey, and what better way than to jump into arguably the second-best league in the world. He is expected to return to the Predators once training camps open for the 2020-21 NHL season.

Michkov Dominating in Russia

It’s not often you see a player dominate like Matvei Michkov has been doing this season. It’s even more seldom that you see a 15-year-old producing at this level. Michkov plays for SKA-1946 St. Petersburg in Russia’s MHL and is the first under-16 player to play in the league.

The top U-17 scorer in MHL history is Nikita Kucherov with 54 points in 54 games played during the 2009-10 season. Michkov is on track to beat those numbers despite being significantly younger than his peers, with 12 goals and five assists for 17 points in 15 games played. In his latest game against Amur, he had two goals and one assist including this ridiculous example of his skills:

Michkov could easily be the top Russian born prospect to enter the game since Alexander Ovechkin. We’ll have to wait a little while to see him however, since he isn’t eligible until the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. It’s rounding out to be am exciting draft class with Michkov joining the likes of WHL Exceptional Status grantee Connor Bedard, Chicago Steel prospect Adam Fantilli, and Saskatchewan native Brayden Yager. However, Michkov might be the best of the bunch and it doesn’t hurt that he’s the only one currently playing hockey. Remember the name Matvei Michkov.