Valentin Zykov

Darren Walker

Zykov is a hard-to-handle power forward who takes the puck to the net every chance he gets. While he is not tall, he is extremely sturdy and wide-framed. He skates well with strong push and gets up to speed in just a few short strides. His skating is good for the power game he plays because of a wide balanced stance. When he doesn’t have the puck himself he is always a presence deep in the opponents zone or in the crease, especially on the power play, and will drew a few penalties because of his strength. He’s hard to move and has good hand-eye coordination, making defenders work hard to try and box him out and goaltenders trying to keep up with any deflections. He’s tough to move along the boards and a good skater and puckhandler in open ice. He takes the game to the opposition offensively and isn’t afraid to drive the puck into traffic. The results of these forays vary but he typically generates chances using his strong puck protection skills and his heavy shot. Zykov has a quick, hard wrist shot that he likes to use when coming down the wing and has surprised many QMJHL goaltenders by how quickly gets it off. He gets himself in good scoring positions and uses that big body of his to get there. Not a physical player who drives people through the boards but he does finish checks and uses his strength in one- on-one battles. Zykov is responsible defensively and can always be found backchecking, being quite active in the defensive zone, taking up space in the slot, and plugging up passing lanes. In essence, he’s a rare blend of North American grit and European skill. (May 2013)