Bob McKenzie Honorable Mention.
Steve Kournianos: Excitable scoring winger who was a model of inconsistency until a midseason trade from Saginaw to Niagara, where he scored 19 goals in 33 combined games between the regular season and playoffs. He’s big, fast and owns a wonderful set of hands, and there are times where he is easily the most noticeable and unstoppable player on the ice. Maksimov is a hard shooter who doesn’t need the puck to be settled to get maximum velocity on his shot, and giving him a small window of opportunity is a recipe for disaster. He’s also pretty good around the cage and will release the puck to a open linemate at the very last second. Maksimov by all accounts is a very hard worker and never looks lazy or disinterested, but he plays on the outside and isn’t as physically engaged as a teenager with his build should be. His skill set screams future NHL scorer, but take his second-half surge with a grain of salt. Source
Brock Otten: What a difference a change of scenery can make. With Saginaw, the formerly highly touted OHL draft prospect was floundering and looked like a long shot to hear his name called in June (6 goals in 37 games). But a midseason deal to Niagara completely changed his fortunes and brought out the best in Maksimov. Including the playoffs (where he had 4 goals in 4 games), Maksimov had 19 goals in 33 games. Pro-rate that production and you’ve got a 6’2, speedy winger with 35+ goals on the season. That would put him right up there with the production of others in this draft class receiving first round consideration. Not saying that Maksimov deserves first round consideration. But with the way he finished the year and with his strong performance at the U18’s, I think he deserves to be selected in the first three rounds. His potential is sky high. Consistency has always been the issue with him, but the light bulb really did seem to go off in Niagara. Finally saw him using his size to drive the net, with and without the puck, where he could use his great hands and great release to be a consistent goal scorer. We also finally saw him using his speed in puck pursuit and to be a major factor on the forecheck. This was something that was very evident at the U18’s. His skill level and goal scoring potential is through the roof, so if he’s finally put it all together, he could look like an eventual steal for whatever team drafts him. A true draft wild card. Source