Zykov was not a big scorer back in Russia, but perhaps it was just a matter of opportunity. Playing for Red Army’s junior team in 2011-12, he tallied just 11 points in 52 games, but had 105 PIM. Even though it would have been easy to stay home in the culture he knows, the sturdy winger decamped for North America and the Quebec League in order to show off his wares for the NHL draft.
“I had to prove myself and get better,” Zykov said. “For my game, I’m very happy that I came here. The coach was great and it was a great bunch of guys. The coach made the difference.”
Born in St. Petersburg and playing in Moscow, Zykov had seen big, metropolitan cities, but Baie-Comeau is a different experience altogether: The idyllic waterfront locale boasts a little less than 30,000 residents.
“It’s a smaller town,” Zykov said. “But people are nice and I like it there.”
His first QMJHL campaign was a smash, as the winger registered more than a point per game and helped the Drakkar to the league final. In the early goings as a major junior sophomore, Zykov has nine points through seven games as he continues to work on his skating, physicality and shot. He likes Pavel Datsyuk, but believes he plays a different style. The result is often the same, though. “Put the puck in net,” he said. “Make scoring chances.”Drafted 37th overall by Los Angeles in 2013.