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Edmonton Oilers Prospect Countdown #4 – Matvey Petrov

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Bruce Curlock
5 months ago
Continuing the theme of late-round draft picks making waves, Matvey Petrov comes to the Countdown at a lofty position of #4.
Position: Left Wing
Shoots: Right
Nationality: Russia
Date of Birth: March 12, 2003
Drafted: 6th Round, 2021
Height: 6’2″ / 188 cm
Weight: 195 lbs / 88 kg
Ranking last year: #8
A lot of the focus on Petrov is where he was drafted and how he has produced since being drafted. However, I do not think much of this should be surprising. Petrov was the first overall pick in the CHL European draft and was well-regarded internationally at the time. Where some of the issues came from, and it is something the Oilers benefitted from greatly, was the impact Covid had on player movement. Petrov ended up staying in Russia after his selection which was related to the pandemic restrictions in place. Whether this impacted Petrov or not is hard to say, but he went on to have a very substandard year in the MHL, which is the top junior league in Russia. This combined with the fact that scouts were not travelling much either during this season and suddenly Petrov is the 180th selection in 2021 instead of being much higher.
Fortunately for the Oilers, as can be seen above, when Petrov arrived in Canada, he made up for lost time in a hurry. This past season going 27-66-93 in 65 games was impressive for a couple of reasons. First, it ranked him 8th overall in the best junior league in the world for scoring. Second, it showed a new dimension in Petrov’s game that no one knew about. When Petrov came over, he was known as a first-strike shooter with a very strong shot. Goals like this were quite common.

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Petrov’s power and release are very special. He adjusts blade angle well and he attacks the goal with lateral movement giving the goalie lots to think about. Petrov’s shot is so good it led to 67 goals in 128 games in two years in the OHL.  However, this past year, Petrov scored only 27 goals. Why? Well, there was rumbling he played the late part of the season with an upper-body injury. Certainly, it appeared to be the case as he was shooting less. However, I think a lot of this was a concerted effort by him to round out his game and become more of a playmaker.

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No question in the past, Petrov takes this shot. However, this was a more consistent part of his game this year and it led to Petrov finishing third in assist totals in the OHL this year with 66. Whether this development was something he did or was done in conjunction with the Oilers, this is a big deal. With his shot, defenders are going to attack Petrov hard. This will open up lots of time and space for his linemates. If he can find them, it will certainly lead to offensive opportunities.\

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The other benefit of this development is defenders will need to think twice before attacking Petrov quickly. This should allow Petrov more space for his own shot.
Now it is quite likely Petrov will move to the pro ranks this year. He could play his overage year in the OHL, but I am not sure there is much left to prove here for Petrov. In addition, Petrov’s physical stature will allow him to withstand the rigours of pro hockey. Finally, Petrov needs to get to this level to work on two areas of his game. The first is his compete level. What was really noticeable in Penticton last September was his lack of compete against better competition. It will be ramped up further in the AHL. So Petrov needs to bring a more energetic game and avoid plays like this at the next level.

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Petrov skates well and has a great stick. In addition, he has a really good size. There is no reason for him to let players off the hook like that shift above where he did it three times. His AHL coaches, but more importantly his teammates will certainly not let this type of play go without feedback.
The other element is consistent work rate. This is a more important reason for him to go pro in my opinion. He needs to get to a league where he will constantly be challenged and plays will not come as easy to him. His work rate really needs to be amplified to have a chance to play NHL minutes. There were too many plays like this one last season.

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Now this is not to say Petrov is not a legit prospect. He is for certain. We have him ranked at #4 only two seasons after being a 6th-round draft pick. Scoring goals in the OHL at a rate of one every two games is impressive. However, it is these little items that will make the difference on whether Matvey Petrov will get to show off his offence in the NHL. If he does these little things better, he will make it to the NHL and he will score.

Previously in the countdown

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