The Edmonton Oilers got one of the biggest steals in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft when they selected Russian forward Matvei Petrov from the Molodezhnaya Hokkejnaya Liga (MHL) in the sixth round at 180th overall after a 22-goal, 20-assist performance through 58 games in his draft year. He made the transition to North America and joined the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in the 2021-22 season, and has become a dominant offensive weapon that fans should be excited about.
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Petrov’s Recent Play
Plenty of fans and scouts had Petrov going a lot higher in the draft, so it was a nice surprise to see the Oilers take him all the way down at 180th overall. While some suspicions arose about why he dropped so far in the draft, it was no secret he was ready to put any rumors to bed and show the world he could compete at the highest level if given a chance, and he’s doing just that with the Battalion this season.
Petrov is currently in his second season with the Battalion and is on pace to beat his career best of 90 points this season. His first season was impressive, as he scored 40 goals and added 50 assists for 90 points through 63 games, which comes out to a 1.43 points-per-game average. This season, he currently sits at 26 goals and 63 assists for 89 points through 62 games and is on pace to reach 95 points.
“His game is entirely based around his offensive ability with a great release on his shot, plus good vision and puck-moving ability”– EPRinkside – (Meet The Team: Russia’s Under-18 World Hockey Championships Roster) – 2021
His offensive ability stands out as he currently sits fourth in the OHL in points, and third in assists. His improvements since joining the Battalion have been monumental, as he has gained a ton of confidence with the puck on his stick, and has been able to work on his defensive game which was a bit weaker coming out of the MHL.
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Petrov’s Future In Edmonton
While there are likely a couple more seasons before we see Petrov in an Oilers jersey full-time, there is no doubt in my mind he can eventually turn himself into a top-nine player in the NHL. I don’t see a world where he fails to live up to the hype and if the Oilers continue to work with him correctly, they have a stud in the making on their hands.
I think Petrov’s eventual transition to the American Hockey League (AHL) will be smooth, and he’ll be able to make an immediate impact offensively. Out of all the big names the Oilers have in their system, Petrov is my favorite. He needs to work on cleaning up his defensive game just a bit more, but he has some tools that are NHL-ready such as his shot and playmaking ability. He’s very close to turning pro, and fans should be excited about his ceiling.
Shoot-first offensive winger with top-six upside. A good skater that is not afraid to play a feisty style but could use some improvement in his shift-to-shift compete level.– DobberProspects (Matvei Petrov Prospect Profile) – 2022
I can say confidently that Petrov will eventually be an Oiler, it’ll just take some time. I think he’ll be one of those players that dominate in the minors and gets a shot at the NHL but takes a while to adjust to the higher level. I have seen him compared to Evgeny Kuznetsov in the sense they are both skilled shoot-first Russian-born forwards, but it’s tough to directly compare Petrov to anyone when he has such a unique style of play.
I think the 2025-26 season is the first year we see Petrov get his shot in the NHL, and I think he sneaks onto the team as a depth forward and works his way up. Fans should be really excited about this kid, he’s an unbelievable talent.