The Edmonton Oilers were sure to add more organizational depth on the right wing in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, and one of their interesting choices came in the fifth round.
At 146th overall, the Oilers took right winger Kirill Maksimov. He hails from both Russia and Canada and could be a potential sleeper pick. Looking at his experience, as well as his growth and transition to the higher levels of hockey, he has a lot of potential.
Though he struggled a bit to start this past season, a change of scenery seemed to help Maksimov elevate his game and made him one of the more prominent names available in the draft. He spent 37 games with the Saginaw Spirit to start the year, scoring just six goals and 16 points. After failing to put up big totals, he was traded to the Niagara Ice Dogs, where he flourished and put up a remarkable 15 goals and 22 points through 29 games.
Maksimov and the Oilers
When it comes to the pieces that Edmonton needs, they need right wingers who can score. While playmakers can also produce and create scoring chances, the Oilers lack a lot of finishers, which seems like a bit of a waste considering their centre depth and the current superstars on the roster.
So looking at Maksimov, the Oilers made a rather interesting choice. Not only can he score goals and possess a solid shot, but he is also a proven playmaker and has a lot of ability on the forecheck. He can make smart and quick passes and uses his impressive speed to his advantage. So not only does he think on the fly, but he can move fast and keep up with the play.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound winger has to work on his two-way play, and also needs to make more use of his shot. In addition, he’ll have to add more bulk and could stand to work a bit more on goal-scoring than playmaking, especially if he wants to succeed as a right wing in the Oilers organization.
Overall, Maksimov is a strong fifth-round pick, and the Oilers will have to look out for him as time goes by. Considering his recent success with the Ice Dogs, he could grow his game and put up even better totals as time goes on.