While it sucks that Viktor Tikhonov wasn’t up with the Coyotes last season, in retrospect, thank God Teek was in San Antonio, because SOMEONE had to translate for Maxim. It’s like a blessing and a curse for Teek to speak fluent Russian and English. His rookie year in Phx, he was roommates with and personal translator for Enver Lisin. Now, he serves the same purpose with Goncharov.
We drafted Maxim 123rd overall in the 2007 draft, which is the same year we took Turris and Nick Ross in the first round and Brett MacLean in the second. Max is already 22 and his body looks it. He’s not only big, he’s broad. I wouldn’t enjoy that check (and you know I love almost all Czechs 😉 ).
In 2007, Max won Gold with Russia at the U18 Championships and in 2009, he won Bronze at the World Juniors.
With his Russian team, CKSA Moscow, Maxim averaged about 6 goals and 10 assists in about 50 games. Last season, he decided to come to North America and take a run at making the team. In rookie camp, Maxim and Oliver Ekman-Larsson really stood out against the other players. When the NHL players came back, Maxim had some difficulty with the speed of the game and ended up being among the last cut and sent to the AHL.
With the Rampage, Max played in 61 games, notching 6 goals and 9 assists…… along with 65 penalty minutes. It was a big year of growth for Maxim, where he not only had to adapt to the North American physical style of play, but also to a new culture and a language barely speaks (once again, Thank God for Teek).
My lovely Rampage insider had a couple cute stories that show a bit of Gonch’s funny personality:
It’s always hard for the kids from other cultures to come in, but he seems willing to stick it out.
So, little known fact, Maxim is super tight with Nikita Filatov, another Russian NHL player who is now on the Senators. Here’s a vid of them karting in Russia:
Overall, Max has a hard shot, is a good skater, and just needs time to adapt to the game. He’s got a lot to deal with and controlling his temper is also key. He’s a tough customer and will lay a big hit if it’s available. There will be tough competition for NHL jobs in a year or two with Max, Stone, and Summers.