2010-11: Valentin Zykov skated for CSKA-Red Army’s junior team and represented Russia in the U17 Four Nations Tournament in Podolsk – playing for the U16 team in the tournament. He scored 50 goals with 39 assists and had 34 penalty minutes in 55 regular season games. In the U17 national championship tournament he scored 5 goals with 3 assists and was plus-six with 2 penalty minutes. Zykov played in 2 of 3 games in the Four Nations tournament and had 1 assist.
2011-12: Zykov played for CSKA-Red Army the U22 MHL and played for Russia in the 2011 U19 Junior A Challenge and 2012 U17 World Hockey Challenge tournaments. In 52 MHL games he scored 5 goals with 6 assists and was minus-four. Zykov’s 105 penalty minutes were second-most for CSKA-Red Army. He had 2 assists and was minus-five with 4 penalty minutes in the playoffs; playing in 18 of 19 games as CSKA reached the Kharlamov Cup finals. Zykov was selected by Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) in the second round (76th overall) of the 2012 CHL Import Draft.
2012-13: Zykov skated in 67 games for Baie-Comeau in his first season in North America. He was the second-leading scorer for the Drakkar behind Petr Straka (CBS), scoring 40 goals with 35 assists in 67 games, and was plus-29 with 60 penalty minutes. Baie-Comeau had the league’s second best mark; finishing first in the East Division. The Drakkar won its first ten playoff games, with Zykov posting a plus-eight plus/minus and scoring 4 goals with 5 assists. They eventually lost to Halifax in the QMJHL finals, with Zykov finishing +13 with 10 goals, 9 assists and 18 penalty minutes in 19 playoff games. He was ranked seventh amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round (37th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.
2013-14: Zykov attended his first training camp with the Kings before being returned to Baie-Comeau for his second season and skated for Russia in the 2014 World Junior Championship. He was the second-leading scorer for the Drakkar behind Jeremy Gregoire (Montreal), finishing with 23 goals and 40 assists in 53 regular season games and was +32 with 70 penalty minutes. Baie-Comeau finished first in the East Division and reached the QMJHL finals for the second straight season, falling to Val d’Or, 4-3, in the decisive seventh game. Zykov scored 7 goals with 15 assists and was -2 with 14 penalty minutes in 22 playoff games. He had an even plus/minus with no points and 2 penalty minutes for Russia in seven games at the WJC. Russia defeated Canada, 2-1 in the bronze medal game. Zykov signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Kings in May 2014.
Zykov is an under-the-radar threat, a solidly-built winger who uses his big frame to his advantage when taking punishment in front of the net and in the corners. He is extremely dangerous in close and has a quick release — always looking to drive to the net or jam in a rebound. Zykov is still raw but between his size and his nose for the net he has plenty of potential. He needs to continue to improve his skating.
Zykov was dealt by the Los Angeles Kings along with a conditional fifth round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Kris Versteeg. Long-term, his combination of high-end passing and stick skills and a desire to win battles and create scoring chances suggests he can be an elite offensive player one day.