The only thing faster than how quickly Matvey Petrov has started his Ontario Hockey League (OHL) career is the speed with which the Edmonton Oilers got the North Bay Battalion forward’s name on a contract.
On Wednesday (Nov. 10), Edmonton inked a three-year Entry-Level Contract (ELC) with Petrov, who the Oilers selected with the 180th pick at the 2021 NHL Draft.
Petrov Ranks Among OHL Scoring Leaders
Petrov has been on a tear for North Bay since making his OHL debut five weeks ago. Entering games on Friday (Nov. 12), the right-shot winger was tied for fifth in the league with 10 goals and 10th with 18 points while ranking eighth in the OHL with 51 shots on goal in just 14 games.
The Battalion posted a photo taken in their locker room that showed Petrov, wearing an Oilers hat and #21 jersey, signing his first professional deal.
“I feel so good,” Petrov said on the Battalion website. “I’m so happy to be part of the Edmonton Oilers organization. I’m looking forward to working hard in North Bay, and I’m honored to be able to sign my first contract with the Oilers.”
Petrov Looks Like a Draft Steal
In short order, Petrov has emerged as one of the steals of last July’s NHL Draft. Projected to be picked early in the third round, Petrov slid down to the sixth round, where the Oilers snapped up the 18-year-old sniper.
In his first OHL regular-season game against the Peterborough Petes on Oct. 7, Petrov recorded a hat trick. He was at it again just over three weeks later, scoring three times against the Barrie Colts on Oct. 30, solidifying his place in North Bay lore. Before this season, Matt Duchene was the only player in Battalion history to record two hat tricks in his first season with the team. Petrov equaled that feat in his first 10 games.
The 6-foot-2 Petrov recorded the second four-point game of his young career, with a goal and three helpers, in a big 5-4 road win over the Kingston Frontenacs last Friday (Nov. 5). North Bay has surged to the top of the OHL Central Division standings, thanks in no small part to the product of Moscow, Russia.
“Since the day Matvey arrived in North Bay, he’s been nothing but a breath of fresh air,” Battalion general manager Adam Dennis said on his team’s website.
“He approaches every day with great enthusiasm and has made an obvious impact in such a short amount of time. We’re thrilled for his accomplishment and look forward to helping him crack the Oilers’ roster in the not-too-distant future.”
Petrov is Still New to North America
The No. 1 pick in the 2020 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft, Petrov had his North American debut delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic that ultimately wiped out the entire 2020-21 OHL season. Instead of journeying overseas, Petrov remained in his home country, producing 22 points and 20 assists in 58 regular-season games with Moscow Krylia Sovetov of the Junior Hockey League (MHL). Petrov’s limited exposure in North America could be why he fell so far down the draft.
In September, Petrov got his first taste of Edmonton when he attended the Oilers rookie camp and skated in both of the exhibition games between the Oilers’ and Calgary Flames’ rookies. Notably, he is the first of Edmonton’s six 2021 draft picks draft to sign an ELC.
Related Link: Oilers Hope to Have Sleeper Picks in 2021 Draft Class
Petrov possesses a deadly shot along with the vision to find teammates in the slot. Where he could potentially fit down the line with the Oilers will become more evident as his game evolves. At this stage, he appears best suited for a top-six role, and while that may be a tough job to win in Edmonton, there’s no such thing as having too many skilled wings on the organizational depth chart. Hiss progress will be very exciting for the Oilers and their fans to track.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.