2018-19 Team: Saint John Sea Dogs (#88)
Date of Birth: January 3, 2001
Place of Birth: Bratislava, Slovakia
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 186 lbs.
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
The number one pick in the CHL Import Draft in 2018, Maxim Cajkovic was selected by the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. He is playing for the first time in North America as a Slovakian born player.
The Sea Dogs finished with only 32 points and lost a total of 55 games while scoring an average of only 2.07 goals per game. Despite the team’s poor offensive production, Cajkovic finished first on the team with 22 goals and 46 points in 60 games, good for 74th overall in league scoring. He also finished with a minus-33 rating which is not surprising given that the Sean Dogs finished the season with a minus-195 goal differential.
Cajkovic is versatile, playing on the first power-play unit and the second forward pairing on the penalty kill. He is creative on the power play but is also prone to taking risks, which makes his team vulnerable to shorthanded goals. He tends to be undisciplined; he has a habit of taking unnecessary penalties and logging long shifts.
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
Cajkovic’s offensive statistics have always been there, regardless of where he has played. His scoring prowess was consistent with the U16 Elit, U18 Elit, and SuperElit teams in Malmo, Sweden and while representing Slovakia at the World U18 Tournament.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Maxim Cajkovic – NHL Draft Projection
Cajkovic is projected to be a late second or early third round pick. Earlier in the season, he was expected to be a high second rounder or possibly a low, first rounder. He played with an organization this season that was in the second year of a major rebuild, and the team failed to make the QMJHL playoffs, finishing second last in the 18 team league. His offensive production was negatively affected by the fact that the team sometimes dressed as many as eight inexperienced 16-year-old players.
Leadership and veteran experience
“Maxim Cajkovic projects to be a top-six winger at the NHL level. He is a natural goal-scorer with dynamic hands in tight, as well as promising playmaking abilities. Cajkovic has the potential to be an effective,
“A player that has tremendous ability to score. He needs to get stronger physically. He has a good nose for the net and offensive instincts, however he needs to work on his defensive game. His willingness as a forward to come back on the backcheck lacks commitment. He needs to mature as a young man with respect to his relationship with teammates and improve his off-ice training. He has a scoring ability that is sometimes hard to find in junior hockey.” – Senior QMJHL NHL Scout
Cajkovic, the first overall pick in the 2018 CHL Import Draft, is a raw but talented winger with plenty of upside. His first three steps are among the best of his age group, allowing him to punish his opponents on turnovers with his speed, good hands and a powerful shot. He’s deceptive in his skating in that there’s a willingness to change gears mid-flight to help throw off defenders. Cajkovic is most effective off the rush, as his speed in-zone is limited and he can be outmuscled in battles down low. On the fly is where Cajkovic shines brightest. – Aaron Vickers/Elite Prospects Rinkside
“Maxim Cajkovic is an enticing winger with supreme skills. He has the ability to put the game in his hands through dynamic offensive abilities. Cajkovic plays with a shoot-first mentality and possesses a tremendous release with precision accuracy. He often changes shooting angles on the goaltender right before firing a strong wrist shot which can beat the keeper clean.” –Prospect Pipeline
- Excellent puck skills
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Commitment to his defensive game
- Earn the respect of his teammates
Cajkovic will need more time to adjust to the North American game. Improved team success next season will help with the mental part of his game and maturity. Two more seasons in the CHL might be necessary for Cajkovic to develop as a professional player.
His offensive ability could be his ticket to the NHL as a third line scoring threat and his confidence on the power play is impressive. He could be a ‘sleeper’ in the 2019 Draft.
Risk – 2/5 | Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 7/10 | Defence – 6/10
According to the Prospect Pipeline website, “He really made a name for himself at the 2018 IIHF U18 Championships, where he led the tournament in points-per-game with 11 in just five games. In Sweden, Cajkovic added 14 goals in just 10 games with the Malmö Redhawks at the J18 Elit level, as well as 10 goals and 21 points in 28 SuperElit games, Sweden’s top U20 league.”