Smaht Scouting | Scouting Report: Danny Zhilkin

Independent scouting for NHL, QMJHL, OHL, WHL, USHL and NCAA teams

Photo Credit: Luke Durda/OHL Images

Scouting Report written by Paul Zuk

Danny (Daniil) Zhilkin is one of the top OHL players eligible for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft slated to take place this July in Montreal. Zhilkin is a dual citizen of both Russia and Canada, as he was born in Moscow, but moved to Ontario when he was ten years old. He moved to the Greater Toronto Area and played his youth hockey within the Burlington Minor Hockey Association.  

After playing with the Toronto Jr Canadiens AAA program for a few seasons, Zhilkin made the switch to the Toronto Marlboros U16 AAA team which plays in the GTHL. He enjoyed success in his first season with the Marlboros in 2018-19, tallying 43 goals and 37 assists for 80 points in 102 games across all competitions. Playing behind teammates Wyatt Johnston and Jack Beck, Zhilkin managed to catch the eye of the OHL, and was later selected 14th overall by the Guelph Storm in the 2019 OHL Draft.

Zhilkin played his rookie season in the OHL in 2019-20, scoring seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 60 games, but unfortunately the remainder of his season, as well as the entire 2020-21 campaign was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was able to earn a role on Team Canada’s U18 team for the U18 Worlds in Texas, where he played up and down the lineup. He added two assists in seven games on his way to a gold medal, playing for one of the more notable U18 teams to ever play in the tournament.

The 2021-22 season was truly Zhilkin’s first full one in the OHL, and he didn’t seem to disappoint. He started the season on quite a tear, registering 15 points in the first 16 games off the hop. NHL Central Scouting raised his grade from a B to an A on their “Players to Watch” list shortly after. Zhilkin finished the season with 55 points in 65 games, but unfortunately the Storm were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in five games by the Soo Greyhounds, a series in which Zhilkin scored one goal and one assist for two points in 4 games played.