#20 PROSPECT (winter 2012): DANIIL ZHARKOV

Daniil Zharkov’s scouting report and 23 goals in the OHL as a 17-year old are extremely positive arrows. His performance so far as an 18-year is less impressive, but he’s a scoring winger with a nice range of skills.

Zharkov on the draft: “I think it matters when you get drafted but you also have to take into consideration that every team has its needs. It’s a huge business. Players shouldn’t think of this too much. We just have to play. I had a week when I was really focused on it. I checked the rankings, try to find my name in them… And they it dawned on me – what am I? A fool? What’s the use of looking at the screen all the time? Just play! Have fun!” Enjoy!”

Last season, Zharkov showed wild inconsistency month to month:

  • 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

This season, its much the same but there’s too much January:

  • September: 4, 0-2-2
  • October: 9, 4-0-4
  • November: 14, 3-1-4
  • December: 3, 1-0-1

Summer 2012: #10

Winter 2012: #20

Pre Draft

ISS: 33; Craig Button Ranking: 58; Bob McKenzie: 48

  • Redline:Excellent natural tools and terrific puck skills with great hands and a wicked shot. He’s kind of a one-trick pony, but it’s the best trick of all: he puts the puck in the net. Has a knack for sliding to open ice just at teh right moment and buries his chances. Has long reach and prtects puck well. Excellent shooter who hides release point well. Has a long, smooth stride and good acceleration, but only skates hard when there’s a scoring opportunity involved. His compete level is poor and completely unacceptable. Resorts to horrific diving and histrionics whenever he gets hit. Some games spends more time on his [backside] than on his skates – a feather could knock him off his feet. Also a perimetre guy with mediocre hockey sense who rarely passes the puck. Still, might be one of the five best pure snipers in a draft starved for offense.
  • Pronman:Zharkov had a pretty impressive first OHL season despite somewhat underwhelming counting numbers. He’s a good skater who hits a desirable top speed, with good first step quickness, showing very good agility and ability to evade defenders. That last part is also due to his puck skills, which are plus, as he can really dangle and has a lot of individual ability. His goal to assist ratio may give the indication of a poor passer or a puck hog, and while he’ll occasionally look like the latter, he does show many instances of being a fine puck distributor. Zharkov is much better, though, at making moves and getting into shooting position where he displays high-end finishing ability. He shows a fine physical game, as while he still needs to put on strength, he has a projectable frame and will work hard on the forecheck and when he has to battle along the boards. Zharkov doesn’t show that same effort in the other end, and will have to address his defensive game significantly going forward. While he still has some holes in his game, he has great upside and is worth the risk.
  • Craig Button: Daniil is a scorer who needs but one chance to make good on it. He has an excellent release and he doesn’t tip his hand to the goaltender when he’s shooting and that creates problems for a goaltender. He is a very good skater with speed and agility and has the ability to shoot off a move or in stride. Given open ice, he is very dangerous and defenders have to be very cognizant of him on the ice because when he breaks open, it is often too late. His 1-1 skills have improved and the next step for him is to make his skating an advantage in beating defensemen 1-1 with the puck and putting them back on their heels and not relying solely on getting behind them. He is smart and recognizes the offensive opportunities that may be unfolding and is quick to act on them. His size is good and with more strength and confidence, he could be a very difficult player to deal with and combined with his skill, could make him a very prolific scorer.

  • Zharkov on Zharkov: “I’m a physical player. I actually call myself not Russian but more of a Canadian player. And I think that I’m really physical in the way that I skate and shoot the puck.”

I’ve checked online and can’t really see what’s happened to Zharkov’s situation in Belleville. He’s certainly not scoring on the PP and the even numbers suggest he’s not delivering at the same pace:

Zharkov 11-12

  • Overall: 50, 23-13-36 .720
  • Evens: 50, 14-8-22 .440
  • PP: 50, 9-5-14 .280
  • PK: 50, 0-0-0

Zharkov 12-13

  • Overall: 30, 8-3-11 .367
  • Evens: 30, 7-2-9 .300
  • PP: 30, 1-1-2 .067
  • PK: 30, 0-0-0


#20 ranked prospects on December lists:

  • December 2004: C Mike Bishai
  • December 2005: L Geoff Paukovich
  • December 2006: D Cody Wild
  • December 2007: C Ryan O’Marra
  • December 2008: C Milan Kytnar
  • December 2009: L Slava Trukhno
  • December 2010: G Tyler Bunz
  • December 2011: C Ryan Martindale
  • December 2012: L Daniil Zharkov


I like Zharkov’s scouting report, the fact that he’s a first shot scorer, his size and style of play. I also like his personality–he’s a very interesting kid.

I’m not sure what to make of Zharkov’s season. He scored 9 of his 23 goals last season on the powerplay, and has 1 of 8 on the man advantage this season. Has he moved down the depth chart? Is so, why? Can’t find it online.  Zharkov has been invited to the Russian WJ camp, it’ll be interesting to see if he makes it. Zharkov plays a North American style, which may make him unique among the Russian forwards.

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12 Responses to "#20 PROSPECT (winter 2012): DANIIL ZHARKOV"

  1. sliderule says:

    I don’t know whether it means anything but he is listed on Russian WJC roster.

  2. Jon K says:

    It’s interesting that he refers to a North American style of play for himself, given that Belleville plays on an international size ice surface. I wonder if there is anything to be gleaned from his home/road splits this season and last?

  3. Chris Hext---formerly EasyOil--- says:

    A lot of prospects seem to going sideways or even down this season, kind of jarring considering (a) the wealth of successful seasons had by most Oiler prospects last year, and (b) minor and junior hockey is all we have to follow so far this season.

    Among prospects I consider to be doing well / rising:
    Rajala (still longshot to make it to NHL, but doing all he can in Stockton)
    Pelss (lack of scoring still, but good reviews from all who see him)
    Yakupov (despite the recent slump)
    Bigos (5 points in 9 NCAA games so far, plus he’s too freakin huge not to like)

    Among prospects I consider to be going sideways / not standing out:
    Rieder (mediocre numbers, generally good reports, none of the Rangers’ forwards are really knocking it out of the park this year so might be a team thing)
    Paajarvi (love him, really do, his numbers aren’t bad at all, they just ain’t great)
    Simpson (7 points in 16 games, reports say he’s pretty good but numbers aren’t jumping out at me)
    Teubert (mixed bag of reports, poor offensive numbers)
    Tuohimaa (numbers slightly better than last year, still not special)
    VandeVelde (great reports on him defensively, but really low offense)

    Prospects struggling / going downwards:
    Lander (poor year last year, probably worse this year)
    Pitlick (ditto)
    Hamilton (ditto)
    McCarron (2 apples in 10 NCAA games in his sophomore year, yikes!)
    Ewanyk (can’t score in junior, will he ever in the pro’s?)
    Moroz (Lucic? Looks more like Abney with hands)
    Plante (AHL All-Star to barely AHL replacement level, concussions?)
    Bunz (goalies are strange)
    Roy (ditto)
    Perhonen (never that great to begin with)
    Jones (both he and his brother struggling, 6 points in 17 games)
    Cornet (great in ECHL, hasn’t had same form as last year in AHL)
    Zharkov (all the talent in the world, just not coming together yet)

    Prospects hard to get a read on or missing time to injury:
    Gustafsson (8 points in 27 games in Sweden, not bad but there’s just so little info on this guy)
    Klefbom (who would definitely have been going up had he continued playing)

    Feel free to disagree.

  4. Steve says:

    Hey LT,

    I live in Ottawa, and watched the 67′s play the bulls a few weeks back. Being and Oilers fan, I watched Zarkhov very closely. My impressions (based only on a single game):

    - Has average NHL speed already
    - Tall for a winger, but still on the lanky side
    - played 2nd line minutes and was generally on the 2nd PP unit (though he was out there for the primary unit at least once, maybe twice).
    - I didn’t see any issues with effort level. I was impressed when he had a strong backcheck to negate a 67′s trailer who was looking to get open in the slot. However, overall he seems to be a bit unsure of what to do without the puck. He was also willing to engage physically and appeared to agitate the 67′s with some chippiness.
    - On that night Zarkhov was a complete puck hog. He enters the zone with one thought: shoot the puck on net. I counted 6 shots by Zarkhov (of the team’s total 26). However, on a night that the 67′s goalies struggled (what else is new), they had no trouble turning aside every Zarkhov shot.
    - The Bulls won 3-2. Zarkhov was held pointless and was -1.

    I left the game wondering what is wrong with Zarkhov. He appears to have the tools, but he came away empty-handed. His shot seemed to have some zip, but the goalies had no difficulty picking it up. He tried to pick the top corner twice coming down the left side (once on each goalie – the first guy was pulled), and both guys flashed the leather.

    I don’t have data on shots, but based on the number of goals he has scored, I would guess that his shooting percentage is actually quite low.

    He’ll never be a guy that gets many assists. He just doesn’t have the mentality for it. He’s an interesting player, but it’s very difficult to see him on an NHL skill line, and he’s not a good fit for a bottom six role either.

  5. Steve says:

    One more thing.

    The best player on the ice was the Bulls’ Jordan Subban. He has the same electric style as P.K. Great skater, great shot, all around good offensive defenseman. The only problem is that he is listed at 5’9″, 177 lbs, and that might be generous. He looks like pee wee player out there.

    Talent alone will mean he gets drafted in 2013 in the mid-rounds. The hope will be that he is a later bloomer and will grow at least a couple more inches. I don’t think I have ever seen a defenseman that small in the NHL.

  6. VOR says:


    Reijo Ruotsalainen.

  7. Steve says:

    Reijo was slightly before my time, so I looked it up. You are correct. Wiki indicates that he was 5’8″, 165 lbs. Crazy. I also found it interesting that he only played 26 regular season games for the Oilers. Goes to show how much people remember playoff games, considering how fondly Oiler fans think of him.

  8. Bruce McCurdy says:

    •November: 14, 3-1-4
    •December: 3, 1-0-1

    To put more perspective on current trends, worth knowing that Zharkov scored twice in his first game in November. Since then he’s gone 16 GP, 2-1-3

    Steve: He’ll never be a guy that gets many assists.

    I thought his assists total were pretty lame in his draft year (13 in 50 games), but this year they’ve disintegrated all the way to 3 in 30 games. And to put THAT in prespective, consider that in his last 30 CHL games, Cameron Abney had 10 assists.

    I guess we were warned that Zharkov would be a boom or bust pick. I’m fine with the odd one of those, although it would be nice to actually hear a “BOOM!” one of these years.

  9. dessert1111 says:

    Definitely didn’t think six months ago that McCarron and Zharkov would be tracking the worst out of the new picks. Okay, McCarron yes, but I was excited about Zharkov. I guess he’s a type that will take awhile to develop, but it’s hard not to be down on him right now, and man I’ve always thought that Redline scouting report was brutal.

  10. Scott Reynolds says:

    McCarron’s scoring numbers aren’t strong, but he is at least shooting the puck quite a bit. He’s sitting at 2.6 shots per game, which is good for second on the team and 31st in the ECAC. It’s only a small improvement on the 2.4 shots per game he managed last season, so it’s not like this is something to get really excited about, but it does imply that he’s getting ice time and that he’s likely to start putting a few in the net going forward (as long as the coaches stick with him).

  11. jake70 says:

    Going off topic here LT but I know you like/reference jersey numbers in your post, and inspired by watching the Score just now…. they did small feature on famous number 12s in sports, given it’s 12th day of 12th month of 12th year (this phenomenon won’t happen again until 2101, next time Leafs win the cup they said ;) ), here is a list of Oilers to wear #12

    Alexandre Giroux, Robert Nilsson, Sergei Samsonov, Mathieu Roy, Mike Bishai, Josh Green, Michel Picard, Jesse Belanger, Joe Hulbig, Tyler Wright, Micah Aivazoff, Steven Rice, David Maley, Troy Mallette, Adam Graves, Jimmy Carson, Dave Hannan, Dave Hunter .

    Courtes of OilFans.com, don’t know if it’s all inclusive list. Boy don’t recognize many names, must have been from the dark 90s.

  12. KitchenerWatcher says:

    I saw Zharkov play in Kitchener a week or so ago.

    His game was generally invisible. Not good, not bad, not much of anything. He sure didn’t look like a threat to score nor did he create chances. He was too slow, too ‘in the wrong spot’, too blah. I was hoping to see reason for optimism, but based on his game that night, I’m not holding my breath.

    Wee brother Subban was definitely a treat to watch. He’s obviously athletic with great agility, puck control, and a nose for offense. Defenseman? Not really, though he plays bigger than his dimensions indicate. With his superior skating & hustle, he threw several solid defensive zone checks that were right on target, hard, and got the man off the puck. Some team will gamble on him with a draft choice and it will be a good gamble. Still, size will be Jordan’s barrier to the NHL.

    Brother Malcolm Subban is the real deal. Every time I’ve seen him play, it is obvious that he is a better goalie than the other prospects.

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