2020-21 Team: Krasnaya Armiya Moskva
Date of Birth: May 15, 2003
Place of Birth: Moskva, Russia
Ht: 6-foot-6 Wt: 201 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 63rd
- FCHockey: 145th
- THW Baracchini’s Final 160 Rankings: No Ranking
- THW Zator’s Final 128 Rankings: No Ranking
- THW Forbes’ Top 128 for May: No Ranking
There are a number of polarizing prospects in this draft class, and Matvei Averochkin is a name that can be added to that list. The monster centre has grown up in the CSKA Moskva program, and most recently, he suited up for Krasnaya Armiya Moskva in the Junior Hockey League (MHL). In the 2020-21 season, he registered 16 goals and 24 points in 54 games. Going back to 2019-20, he split time in between the Russia U17 and U18 leagues with CSKA Moskva. He finished the season in the U18 league, where he recorded 38 points (nine goals, 29 assists) in 23 games.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Averochkin’s reach is one of his biggest assets, as he is able to use his size to poke the puck away from the opposing players is a key part of his defensive game. While he does stand 6-foot-6, his motor is good, and he is able to move around the ice, and be in all three zones when needed. His hands are solid, as a bigger player he uses his size and strength to control the puck and makes it difficult for defenders to shut him down.
There are some concerns surrounding Averochkin, one weakness that has been displayed in his balance and inability to complete hits. When you stand 6-foot-6, you need to be able to follow through and complete a check without losing your balance. Oftentimes, Averochkin will try to complete a check on a smaller player and will bounce right off of him. While balance is something that can be worked on, it is a notable weakness that could severely hinder him at the NHL level.
All in all, Averochkin is a complete project player, as he will likely stay in Russia to further his development before and if he makes a jump to North America.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Matvei Averochkin – NHL Draft Projection
Although there are some concerns that surround Averochkin, some scouts have him ranked as high as 145th, and others have him in the late 200’s. I think it’s fair to say that Averochkin will likely be a fifth-round selection due to his size and scoring capabilities.
“Averochkin really caught my eye in this match. As a huge center who moves around the ice decently well, he is rangy and easily able to get involved in the play in all three zones. On top of that, he has a good motor, allowing him to get up the ice for a rush chance and then get back in time to help on the backcheck. Protects the puck well with his hands and frame, including while in flight.” – Derek Neumeier – (Matvei Averochkin Game Report, FCHockey, Nov. 3, 2020)
“Averochkin is an easy player to spot on the ice as he is an absolutely towering individual. While his size is the first thing that stands out, his skill level also becomes apparent early in the viewing process. He particularly has incredibly smooth hands and sound puck control.” Donesh Mazloum – (Matvei Averochkin Game Report, FCHockey, Nov. 2, 2020)
- Strong shot
- Good Motor
- Transition game
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
With the right team development, Averochkin could pan out into a top-nine forward. The team that drafts him will need to be patient throughout his development over the next few years. As stated before, he is a complete project player.
Risk – 5/5, Reward – 3/5
Matvei Averochkin Statistics
Born and raised in Kamloops B.C. and a die hard fan of the Kamloops Blazers, hockey has always been apart of my life. Now, I am looking to get into the sports media world and make it a career. I will be covering the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues for The Hockey Writers. Follow along on Twitter @itscrdavies for more hockey content!