The recruits keep coming for Mike Cavanaugh, and they keep getting better and better.
According to Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant, the latest addition to the UConn men's hockey team is Maxim Letunov, a 19-year-old Russian center who was supposed to be heading to Boston University in the fall. He committed to BU in November 2013, but now looks set to join the Huskies.
Sources: Maxim Letunov will play hockey at UConn instead of BU. Elite recruit. Center. Complications in BU admission reopened recruitment— Mike Anthony (@ManthonyCourant) August 3, 2015
Letunov was drafted by the St. Louis Blues with the 52nd overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, but his rights were traded to the Arizona Coyotes. He will give the Huskies four NHL draft picks, along with defensemen Ryan Segalla, David Drake and Miles Gendron.
During the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, Letunov played with the Youngstown Phantoms in the United States Hockey League. In his first season, he was third on the team with 43 points (19 goals, 24 assists), but he had a minus-17 rating. Last season, he was second on the team with 64 points, scoring 25 goals and handing out 39 assists, and his rating improved to plus-7. Letunov was second on the Phantoms with a .167 scoring percentage, and was first among players registering at least 100 shots.
Despite doubts about his size—he is 6-feet-2-inches tall but listed at 150 on the Phantoms' website—expectations are high for Letunov. He is considered to be an NHL-caliber center if he can tack on a lot of muscle and grow into his body.
The skills are already there, though. Here is one quick example: a spin-o-rama assist to one of his Youngstown teammates.