Weight: 172 pounds
Date of birth: January 30, 2001
Hometown: Nizhnekamsk, Russia
Position: Left Wing
OHL Draft: Round 1, 42nd overall, 2018 CHL Import Draft
NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season, November: B Prospect. Mid-term: 63rd North America
When it comes to NHL Central Scouting, Matvey (Matvei) Guskov has been a virtual flat line in their rankings. And that’s not a bad thing. He started off the year where he was expected and did nothing to hurt his draft value finishing off pretty much how he started the season as an early to mid third round pick.
Born in Russia, Guskov plied his trade with CSKA Moskva Under-17, Under-18 and Krasnaya of the MHL (Russia’s equivalent to the OHL) during the 2017-2018 season. He came across the pond after the Knights selected him 42nd overall at the 2018 CHL Import Draft with a reputation of being a skilled, offensive forward who was well on his way to developing his two-way game.
Guskov has represented Russia internationally on several occasions: The Under-17, Under-18, The Hlinka-Gretzky where he scored twice in five games.
Guskov finished the season scoring 12 goals (11th among rookies), 18 assists (16th among rookies), and 30 points (12th among rookies) in 59 games (35th among rookies). His 12 goals game on 107 shots for a respectable 11.2% shooting percentage. To break that down by zone, Guskov was 21. 4% from high danger zone areas, 12.5% in the mod danger zone area and 8.2% from the low danger zone areas.
Of Guskov’s 18 helpers on the season, 11 of them were primary assists which speaks to his vision and abilities to make plays.
As stated earlier, Guskov had the reputation of being a solid two-way player. His ability to play the defensive side of the game was only helped by playing on a Dale Hunter coached team. It was evident from the start, but as he got more and more use to the North American ice surface and with top notch coaching, his ability in all zones became more prominent.
At 6’1” Guskov has good size but is a lanky kid. He needs to add a lot of bulk to his frame. But that doesn’t scare him. He’s willing to drive the net, fight through traffic and has a willingness to battle on the walls. He is a good skater with good top end speed and has an ability to turn on the jets when in stride to beat defenders one-on-one.
Guskov has a very good wrist shot with a surprisingly quick release. His accuracy is very good and he can surprise goaltenders. One thing he has to learn is when to be selfish and when to use his teammates. Often times, I see him shooting when he should be passing and others he passes when he should be shooting.
Here’s my thing when it comes to Guskov: He can play all three forward positions. But which one is he best suited for? I think his off wing is not the best option. I like a guy there who possesses an excellent one-timer and I don’t think Guskov is that guy. His two-way game suggests he is best suited down the middle. And while he has shown some intriguing playmaking abilities, I don’t think its at the point of development I would like to see at this stage.