The Los Angeles Kings nabbed a critical goal-scoring source for a years to come — they hope — by drafting Russian forward Valentin Zykov with the 37th overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft. The Kings had a need and saw the chance, moving up to the early second round by sending the 57th, 88th and 96th selections to the Edmonton Oilers to take Zykov.
The 18-year-old won Canadian Hockey League Rookie of the Year honors last season by notching 40 goals and 75 points in 67 games. Zykov’s performance in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League certainly drew the eye of Kings co-director of amateur scouting Mark Yannetti. Orchestrating this trade meant giving up a lot but L.A. got it done.
“It was a very hard deal to put together,” said Yannetti, via the Los Angeles Times. “It wasn’t hard to get Dean to do it. We go through every scenario in our meetings. Every year someone falls…. Despite the best preparations, there was some on-the-fly work.
“We thought to get Valentin, we would have had to move up to the first round. … It was hard and it was nerve-racking. … Because each pick that goes by, this could be the pick where you lose your guy. We felt very strongly about Valentin. You don’t need to be a scout to watch him play and realize he is a high-level talent.”
At 6 feet tall and over 200 pounds, Zykov gives the Kings a powerful forward to cause disruption near the net for years to come.