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Top 25 San Jose Sharks under 25: No. 17 Maxim Letunov

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2014 NHL Draft - Portraits Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Maxim Letunov is one of the Sharks newest prospects, joining the organization just over a month ago in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes (he was originally drafted by the St Louis Blues, and was traded to Arizona in 2015).

Originally from Moscow, Russia, Letunov’s junior hockey career began in the USHL. He played for the Youngstown Phantoms for two seasons before joining UConn, where he racked up 40 points in 36 games during his freshman year. He’ll likely be returning there next season.

We wrote about Letunov back when he was traded to the Sharks. He’s tall, but at 170 pounds lacks the weight he’ll need to be successful in the NHL. His position at center is valuable, as the Sharks may be weakening in that area in a season or two when Thornton and Marleau retire (or otherwise leave).

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)

Name: Maxim Letunov

Age (as of 10/12/16): 20

Position: Center

2015-16 Team: University of Connecticut

Where he’ll (probably) be next year: University of Connecticut

What we like: He’s a center with an ability to score and pass the puck well.

What to improve on: Size. At 6’4 he has the height part down, but he’ll need to put on some weight before playing in the NHL.

Highlight:

There are a few highlights from Letunov’s first season at UConn in this video, where his passing and scoring skills are both on display. The first highlight shown is my personal favourite.