Golden Knights Top Prospect Rankings: #6 Maxim Zhukov

Golden Knights Top Prospect Rankings: #6 Maxim Zhukov

Name: Maxim (or Maksim) Zhukov

Position: G

Age: 18

Place of birth: Kaliningrad, Russia

Height: 6’3’’

Weight: 187lbs

Catches: L

Picked: 4th round, 2017, 96th overall

2017/18 Season:

USHL Green Bay Gamblers – 53 Games, 2.45 Goals Allowed, .909 Save Percentage, 3 Shutouts – 27 Wins, 19 Losses, 1 Tie

Goalie prospects have it rough. Goalies are rarely taken in the first round, but no matter where they get picked, there is always a lingering paranoid worry that your star netminder will end up riding the bus in the AHL for his entire career. Even the most talent prospect goalies might never see NHL ice. Netminders have to work harder for fewer jobs. It takes a toll on the body and mind to be the guy who can steal games when your team is playing bad, to be the safety net that can relied upon night after night. For Vegas, that guy could very well be Maxim Zhukov.

First off, Maxim (or Maksim depending on your source) is a god damn unicorn. The Kaliningrad native is one of the very few Russian goalies to leave the motherland to play in America. Its not surprising that he’s training on North American ice, as he’s arguably one of the best goalies in his draft class. Maxim uses that sizable 187lbs frame to excellent use in net, blocking top shelf shots from varied angles. Couple that with his excellent skating ability that allows him to take aggressive angles against shooters and his agility that allows him to go into his butterfly style quickly and you start to see why he was a top 10 NA prospect.

Before you make comparisons to Fleury, Zhukov is a more stay at home goalie. He can come out of the crease and stop the pressure, don’t get us wrong, but it’s not his main claim.

Now, we really love Zhukov and he has the potential to be the Rock on which McPhee builds our church, but… we’ve got some problems. For one, Zhukov needs struggles to locate pucks in traffic, but will.improve in time. Secondly, he needs to develop more on-ice focus. When he’s facing many shots, he can be a dominant force but when there are dead periods, he can be caught off guard. Finally, stopping rebounds and second chance shots must be a priority for him, as they can be deadly in the pro league.

Despite these noted concerns, McPhee uses his fourth pick wisely on Zhukov. He’s a solid netminder who, with properly development and coaching under Goalie Coach Dave Pryor, could be one of the best backstops of his generation. He already wants to play in Vegas (he said in his draft interview he hoped Vegas picked him) and is making a strong case for himself in his junior league. When you face more than 25 shots a game (like Maxim did at least 10 times this season) and show that you can handle the pressure and keep them out, that’s a pretty good indicator of how good you are.

Vegas’ Full Prospect Rankings:

#1 Cody Glass

#2 Nick Suzuki

#3 Erik Brannstrom

#4 Nic Hague

#5 Lucas Elvenes

#6 Maxim Zhukov

#7 Ben Jones

#8 Zach Whitecloud

#9 Jake Leschyshyn

#10 Jack Dugan

#11 Dylan Coghlan

#12 Jonas Rondbjerg

 

Game Calendar

September 2018
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