Detroit Red Wings: The case to swing for Matvei Michkov

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 22: #19 Matvei Michkov of Russian Federation shows his gold medal during Men's 6-Team Tournament Gold Medal Game between Russia and United States of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics on January 22, 2021 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Basile Barbey/Getty Images)
LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 22: #19 Matvei Michkov of Russian Federation shows his gold medal during Men's 6-Team Tournament Gold Medal Game between Russia and United States of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics on January 22, 2021 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Basile Barbey/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings, Matvei Michkov
LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – JANUARY 21: #19 Matvei Michkov of Russian Federation in action during Men’s 6-Team Tournament Semifinals Game between Russia and Finland of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics on January 20, 2021 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images) /

Detroit Red Wings need to realize how much value he can bring to the table.

A few days ago, I advocated for Detroit Red Wings General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman to put the pedal to the floor and make bold moves this off-season that will make the team a playoff contender immediately.

Although trading up to be in a position to draft Michkov would be a bold move, it almost certainly would push back the contender timeline another few years. But do not discount the fact that Matvei Michkov is a truly generational talent.

At the age of 16, he was selected to play for the Russian National team, being the youngest player to ever achieve the honor. In the U-16 Russian league, he recorded 70 goals and 109 total points, all while only playing 26 games.

The following season, Michkov played in the next age group, the U-20 MHL, as a 16-year-old. He put up a staggering 56 points against men much older than himself, breaking the record set by Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Nikita Kucherov.

Once Michkov was named team captain for Russia at the IIHF U18 tournament, he led all players with 16 points (12 goals, four assists). That was more than Connor Bedard in the same year. However, Bedard and Team Canada were able to walk away with a gold medal.

For an understanding of how impressive those 16 tournament points are, there was only one other 16-year-old player who has produced more; Alex Ovechkin. With production like this, it should put to bed any doubt that he is a franchise-changing talent.

Recently, Andrey Michkov, Matvei’s father, tragically passed away. The circumstances around the situation have been somewhat clouded in a bit of mystery. The worries about commitment issues have only increased since then.

The idea of staying in Russia with his remaining family long term could seem compelling to him. However, his agent, Sergei Fedorov, has announced that he will visit Nashville to attend the draft. That move alone would likely squash any doubt in general managers’ minds that Michkov plans to come to play in the NHL.