This is Mikael Zoukov. He was born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Russia, USSR on January 3, 1985. His name has been spelled differently so many times a google search is pretty much useless. I’ve seen Mikael Zoukov, Mishail Joukov and Mikhail Zhukov and any combination of the three over the years.
Now 23 years old, he’s in trouble as an NHL prospect no matter how you spell his name. Picked 72nd overall in the very deep 2003 draft, he has struggled plenty since that day. Much of the trouble he’s had as a pro could go back to a serious injury suffered in 04-05 that wiped out most of that season.
His scouting report goes likes this (courtesy Guy Flaming): Has excellent tools: great-sized frame, soft hands, terrific shot, and good vision. Has game breaking moves and scoring touch. Skates well for a tall kid and definitely has some jump to his game, but only in the offensive zone; needs to work much harder in the defensive end. Good size but doesn’t take advantage of it. Not a physical player and doesn’t finish checks, but isn’t afraid of traffic or the corners. Strictly one-dimensional, but his scoring upside is an attractive commodity. Very raw and nowhere near the sum of his parts, but has been coming on like gangbusters down the stretch; could really become an offensive force.
Guy reported earlier this year that the Oilers will likely allow him to become a free agent this summer and his RSL season (43gp, 3-8-11) doesn’t offer any reason to argue the point. Russia is Death Valley for the Oilers at the draft table.