Russian Daniil Zharkov made an impression on Oiler fans shortly after Stu MacGregor’s scouting staff gave him the seal of approval. "It’s my goal to be better than Yak" he said on draft day. Zharkov was taken 90 spots behind Yakupov and started this season slowly; howver things are looking up.
Zharkov will be on your television this week–Thursday–in game 3 of the Subway Super Series. He’ll be representing the Russians and could end up playing with some superb skill players like Alexander Khokhlachev, Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko. Despite his draft pedigree, Zharkov is a player who (should he fulfill promise) could end up on a skill line in the NHL. He was taken 91st overall, but was projected to go much higher in the draft (Bob McKenzie had him #48, Corey Pronman had him #28).
Zharkov is a big man (6.03, 212), has speed and good hands. That’s a winning combination in any era.
Zharkov scored 23 goals a year ago in the OHL, but was wildy inconsistent. Here are his scoring totals by month one season ago with Belleville:
- November: 9, 7-4-11
- December: 9, 8-0-8
- January: 11, 0-3-3
- February: 13: 5-5-10
- March: 8, 3-1-4
Zharkov missed the early part of the season with a broken collarbone, but when he arrived in November started strongly. He scored a goal and added 4 assists playing for Russia at the world juniors and scored 1-2-3 in 6 playoff games for the Bulls.
This season, Zharkov began slowly, doing an about face compared to last fall. Here are his numbers by month so far:
- September: 4, 0-2-2
- October: 9, 4-0-4
- November: 3, 2-0-2
If you add up all of his GP in the OHL (playoffs too) you get about one full season (72, 30-17-47). I think the Oilers should be excited about this player if he can score 30 goals this season, and he’s on track for 26 goals currently. He’ll need a hot streak or two, but has shown himself more than capable in that regard.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I have no idea why Daniil Zharkov fell in the draft and frankly don’t care. He had top 50 skill based on McKenzie and Pronman and with his size/speed/skill combo would be a Godsend for the Oilers future should he turn out. He’s tracking well, watch for him in Guelph on Thursday.
Oh, and one more thing: the kid says funny things (as we saw above at the beginning of this post) but he’s smart and has a good head on his shoulders. In this interview with Andrey Osadchenko Zharkov talked about Edmonton:
AO: What’s your first impression on Edmonton?
Good. Honestly, people recognize Yakupov and me on the streets. Obviously, they recognize him more than me. They talk to us, ask to get a picture and to sign stuff. It’s a beautiful city. I can honestly say that of all the towns I’ve been to in Canada, Edmonton attracts me the most.