At the NHL Draft on June 30, the Los Angeles Kings traded three draft picks to move up to 37th overall and selected Baie-Comeau Drakkar forward Valentin Zykov, an 18-year-old who was named the CHL’s top rookie in the spring.
At the draft, Zykov showed plenty of personality in his first media availability after being drafted; Los Angeles Kings Director of Amateur Scouting Mike Futa also spoke of his confidence when referring to Zykov’s colorful language after getting drafted.
At the Kings’ development camp on Wednesday, Zykov had his first encounter with members of the Los Angeles media – and it was a fun discussion that touched on notable Russians, including former MMA star Fedor Emelianenko.
On how development camp has been:
“How is the camp? Tough. Tough, hard, like it’s a new level. Everything’s faster. So it’s very hard to compete, and I try as hard as I can. [Reporter: Is this your first time in Los Angeles?] Yeah. [Reporter: Have you gotten a chance to get out and go around and check it out?] Actually no. Just came and camp went right away…But I hope that I’ll go around maybe, just to see Los Angeles.”
On the experience of being the youngest skater at camp and working alongside older players:
“Yeah, of course. To practice with the guys at the next level, it’s very good. If you want to be the best, you must practice with the best and play with the best. So, yeah, it’s very good to practice with the older guys who have more experience. With this, I’ll have experience, too.”
On whether it’s good to have fellow Russian Maxim Kitsyn in camp:
“Yeah, we talk a lot. It’s good that I can talk with someone in Russian. [Reporter: What do you guys talk about?] That’s a secret. [Reporter: There’s nothing you can share?] No. [Reporter: Do you guys have a lot of similar interests – music, fashion, anything?] We just know each other pretty good. At camp, he’s my roommate.”
On whether he knows Slava Voynov well:
“No. I don’t know him personally. Just I know that he’s a very good defenseman. [Reporter: Did you follow him much when he was coming up?] Did I follow him? Yeah, I saw some highlights, like some news about him.”
On whether he’s a fan of Fedor Emelianenko:
“That’s MMA. [Reporter: You like Fedor?] That’s not hockey. I play hockey. Like, if you want to talk about hockey – but of course. I follow a couple of fights. Why are you asking about him? [Reporter: Just trying to get a feel for what you’re interested in outside of hockey.]…”
End Zykov media availability.