EDMONTON, AB - It was a long summer for Niagara IceDogs forward Kirill Maksimov. The Russian winger was selected by the Oilers in the fifth round (146-overall) at the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago, then joined fellow Oilers prospects at Development Camp in Jasper, AB, in July where the forward got acquainted with many of the franchise's future hopefuls. In September, Maksimov suited up in the 2017 Young Stars Classic. The club ended the tournament a perfect 3-0-0 to win the circuit for the fourth year in a row and Maksimov had a major hand in that, having scored an amazing individual effort overtime tally to beat the Canucks 5-4 in overtime.
Last season, Maksimov posted 15 goals and seven assists in 29 games with the IceDogs. The skater is now back with the team and already off to a hot start registering three goals and four assists in five games to begin the campaign.
EdmontonOilers.com caught up with Maksimov for a brief update.
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After being drafted by the Oilers then joining the organization in the summer for Development Camp and the 2017 Young Stars Classic, what did you take from your experience with the franchise?
"Just all the little details. What should I work on off the ice and what I need to really improve. Then, just keep building my strength to get better. That's the main thing."
Who did you end up becoming good friends with from the organization?
"I'd say they are all a pretty good group of guys but the Europeans and Russian guys are the ones I was close to most of the time: (Ostap) Safin, (Dmitri) Samorukov and (Ziyat) Paigin."
Against Vancouver at the Young Stars Classic, you scored an incredible overtime goal. Can you take me through that game winner?
"I decided to take it back into my zone just to gain some speed. Then I went around a couple guys and got off a good shot and it went in."
Video: Watch Maksimov's great OT winner
Are those solo efforts going to become a common occurrence this season in Niagara?
"Yeah, I think so but I haven't done it yet. I've tried in games it just hasn't happened yet."
Who are you playing with at the moment for the IceDogs?
"Akil Thomas and Johnny Corneil. We're playing in the top six."
What's your goal for the season personally?
"I'm not worried about points, I just want to help my team win. That's the biggest goal I think. Just play well on the ice and the points will take care of itself."
The IceDogs lost to fellow Oilers prospect Dylan Wells and the Peterborough Petes in the post-season last year. What's the aim for the team in 2017-18?
"Yeah, in the first round (we lost). I think just keep getting better. Win most of the games in the regular season then gain playoffs and just go from there."