The Edmonton Oilers may finally have a Russian prospect who will succeed

Maxim Berezkin appears to have all the tools required to make it in the NHL, although the Edmonton Oilers must remain patient for now.
Lokomotiv Hockey Club player, Maxim Beryozkin (72) seen in...
Lokomotiv Hockey Club player, Maxim Beryozkin (72) seen in... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

The Athletic's Allan Mitchell recently wrote about Edmonton Oilers prospect Maxim Berezkin, or Beryozkin to others. (Subscription required.) More specifically, that he should be considered a priority by the organisation.

Berezkin was selected in the fifth round -- 138th overall -- of the 2020 NHL entry draft. He was considered an intriguing pick for a number of reasons, including his size and toughness on the ice, to go along with being a strong and fast skater.

However, another reason the winger was considered an intriguing selection by the Oilers, was due to their success over the last decade with Russian players. Or more to the point, the organisation's lack of success when drafting Russian players. (Nail Yakupov being the prime example, after the Oilers selected him first overall in the 2012 NHL entry draft.)

Why is Berezkin so important?

So why has Mitchell pinpointed Berezkin as a priority for the Oilers? Pure and simple, they may have finally found a Russian who will succeed at the NHL level in Edmonton specifically, as opposed to having to move them on to pastures new.

The 22-year-old is coming off a 2023-24 season in the KHL, where he produced 30 points (eight goals and 22 assists) in 62 games*. While the numbers may not jump out per se, they allude to an excellent all-around campaign with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, which extended to an excellent playoff run where he added another 16 points (five goals and 11 assists) in 20 contests*.

Of course we appreciate that Berezkin is by no means the finished product yet with -- among other things -- a need to continue working on his puck handling. Overall though, the signs are extremely promising for his continued development.

However, there is one slight problem, with the right-hand shot forward still under contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl for another season. In other words, the Oilers cannot sign him until the end of April next year at the earliest.

Irrespective of the media outlet, Berezkin is a well-respected prospect in the Oilers system. For example, The Athletic ranked him seventh, the Daily Faceoff have previously placed him fifth, while The Hockey Writers had him rated eighth last July.

Next. Considering Ken Holland's options once the season is over. Considering Ken Holland's options once the season is over. dark

As things stand, the Oilers have no choice but to remain patient for the time being. However, given all of the rave reviews concerning Berezkin, it is imperative they do whatever is necessary to sign him as soon as he becomes available.

* All statistics as per

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