The Sharks acquired their newest prospect, Maxim Letunov, in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes yesterday. I shared my reaction to that trade already, so now it’s time to get to know Letunov a little bit better.
First off, it seems he goes by Max, which is great since I’ve called him Maxim about 100 times already. Check out some of his vitals below.
Name: Maxim (Max) Letunov
Drafted: St. Louis Blues (2nd round, 2014)
Junior Team: Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
His UConn Bio:
Originally from Moscow, Russia, spent the last two seasons with the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League (USHL)...Played in 118 games over two season with Youngstown, piling up 107 points...In 2013-14, he appeared in 60 games finishing third on the team in scoring with 19 goals and 24 assists for 43 points...He scored 17 points on the power play including eight goals...In 2014-15, led Youngstown to a league best 40-14-6 record, winning the team’s first-ever Anderson Cup, presented to the USHL regular season champion...Named to the All-USHL Second Team after a season where he posted 64 points on 24 goals and 39 assists...He scored points in 42 of the 58 games he played and finished the year with six game-winners and a +7 rating...Made his presence felt on the power play, scoring 26 points including 11 power play goals to rank fifth in the league...Relocated rom Russia to the Dallas, Texas area and played for the Dallas Stars U16 team in 2012-13...He was the leading scorer with 29 goals and 37 assists in helping lead his team to the USA Nationals in Pittsburgh...Attended Ursuline High School in Youngstown, Ohio.
Profile from Elite Prospects
Letunov is a skilled forward with slick hands, a hard wrist shot who makes crisp, accurate passes. Uses his frame to protect the puck but can get pushed off by stronger opponents. Flashes some gritty play and willingness to play a defensive responsible game but does not do so consistently. Has to add substantial strength and correct some issues in his mobility. (November 2013)
Doug Wilson touched on the Letunov trade on Monday, saying they liked his skill but want to see him bulk up a bit. At 20 years old, Letunov is very slight (170 pounds) given his height (6-4). It seems likely he’ll play at the least his sophomore season with UConn, particularly given his size.
It’s too early to say where he will slot in with the Sharks in the future, but the organization is relatively thin down the middle at the moment so sticking at center would be a big boost for San Jose. In two years, if Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton aren’t retained, we’ll be looking at Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and (hopefully) Tomas Hertl as the Sharks’ top centers.
Letunov originally committed to play with Boston University but decommitted in favor of UConn because of an admissions snafu. That worked out just fine for the Huskies, as Letunov led the team in scoring in his freshman season and looks poised to do it again in his sophomore campaign.
It’ll be two or three years before we see Letunov with the Sharks, but he looks like another skilled project and a nice pick up by Doug Wilson.