Earlier today, we relayed a report from TSN’s Bob McKenzie that prized but risky Russian 2023 NHL Draft prospect Matvei Michkov has multiple interviews scheduled with NHL teams after arriving in Nashville for next week’s big day. In terms of which teams are expected to meet with him, mark the Washington Capitals down as an absolute.
Per The Hockey News’ Sammi Silber, relaying a report from Russian outlet Match.TV, the Capitals are quite high on potentially the best Russian prospect since Alex Ovechkin and are aiming to select him eighth overall – if he falls there. Michkov’s exceptional skill and potential obviously make him an attractive candidate for any team, but it’s still unclear how teams will weigh the political factors at play that could impede his ability to come to play in the NHL. As part of Silber’s report, it’s noted that Michkov was instructed not to meet with NHL representatives while still in Russia, explaining last week’s reported dodging of interviews on his part.
The Capitals seem willing to take the risk, considering their history of success in getting KHL talents to terminate their deals and sign with Washington.
Also in the NHL landscape today:
- The oft-reported Fiesta Mall site in Mesa, Arizona, is not a leading candidate for the next home of the Arizona Coyotes, PHNX Sports’ Craig Morgan says. The team is still exploring various sites for a new arena, with potential other locations in Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and on Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community land. They’re again aiming to choose a site that caters to their season-ticket holder base, which is predominantly located on the east side of the city, but as Morgan says, are doing everything in their power to avoid another public vote determining the team’s future in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
- After using a massive buyout on defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the Canucks are still undecided on how they want to use their newfound cap space, says Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Speaking on CHEK TV’s Donnie and Dhali show, Friedman reports the Canucks were simply seeking flexibility with the buyout and are looking to upgrade every skater position. The team has at least $6.4MM of space to work with this offseason, per CapFriendly, which could end up being as high as the $15MM neighborhood depending on the injury and contract statuses of forward Tanner Pearson and defensemen Ethan Bear and Tucker Poolman.