Per their official twitter account, the Oilers have inked 2017 fifth-round draft pick Kirill Maksimov to a three-year entry-level contract.
The #Oilers have signed forward Kirill Maksimov to a three-year entry-level contract. The 146th overall pick from the 2017 #NHLDraft has scored 73 points (33 goals, 40 assists) with the @OHLIceDogs this season. pic.twitter.com/4z9OWrhWgZ— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 15, 2018
Maksimov is an interesting case. He was born in Ontario, played youth hockey for CSKA Moscow and grew up there, but then returned to Canada to play in the GTMMHL before playing in the OHL. He played a year-and-a-half for the Saginaw Spirit before being dealt to the Niagara Ice Dogs last season.
This year, Maksimov has 33 goals and 40 assists in 59 games with the Ice Dogs, which is second on the team behind only top 2018 draft prospect Akil Thomas. Maksimov played on Russia’s U-18 team in 2017 and recorded three goals in seven games but didn’t make the cut for their World Junior team this winter in Buffalo.
Lowetide talked to OHL prospect reporter Brock Otten back in February about Maksimov back in early February and had a glowing review for him.
“I thought he should have been drafted earlier than Edmonton got him, I think we’re seeing a how progression from him this year. He’s playing a lot more of a power game, we’re seeing a lot more consistency from his game. He’s got a really good shot, as he continues to upgrade his skating and his play away from the puck, I think he’s a legitimate prospect,” Otten said.
Maksimov is exactly the kind of prospect the Oilers need to pan out. The system is barren when it comes to good forwards, especially on the wing, and the Oilers need players with size, skill, and scoring ability to play on the wings next to Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.