The Owen Sound Attack found themselves eliminated from the OHL playoffs after suffering a 7 to 4 defeat at the hands of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds last Friday. The attack only managed one victory in the series. Though some players will look towards redemption next season, others are moving forward in their hockey journey. One of those player is Philadelphia Flyers prospect Maksim Sushko.
Maksim Sushko, a native of Brest Belarus, was selected in the first round (29th-overall) of the 2016 CHL Import Draft by the Owen Sound Attack. The year prior to his OHL debut, Sushko played in Bealrus2 for Shakhter Soligorsk-2. He recorded 30 points in 21 games.
Sushko’s first season in Owen Sound saw promise for the years to come. He posted a modest 17 goals and 15 assists in 54 games. The Attack made the semifinals that year and Sushko contributed 11 points in 17 games. Additionally, the young winger represented his home country in the WJC-20 D1A. Belarus brought home a gold medal and Sushko contributed one goal.
Although Sushko’s overall production did not jump off the page, he garnered interest as the 2017 NHL Entry Draft approached. The Philadelphia Flyers selected him with the 107th-overall pick in the fourth round.
In his first year as a part of Philadelphia’s prospect pool, Sushko took serious strides in his development. He posted the fourth-most points on the team with 60 and was proving to be a dynamic scorer with 31 goals. Once again, Owen Sound made the postseason, losing in the quarterfinals. Sushko contributed two goals and four assists in the Attack’s efforts. His biggest accomplishment that year came in the World Junior Championships where Sushko was named team captain of Belarus.
This season, expectations for Sushko surrounded taking the next steps in his development and being one of the leaders on and off the ice for Owen Sound. These expectations are about as obvious as it gets when dealing with prospects. It’s not rocket science that you want to see a young players production increase each year, especially when professional hockey is on the horizon. Unfortunately for Maksim Sushko, that did not happen. Inconsistent is the best way to describe his 2018-19 campaign as he would go on an extended scoring streak and then follow that up rough patches. When the season came to an end, Sushko saw a nine-point drop in his point total from the prior season. The scoring prowess that was there in 2017-18 disappeared.
What’s Next for Maksim Sushko?
Next season, Maksim Sushko will join many other rookies in Lehigh Valley and look to make a name for himself. It will be an uphill battle for the 20-year-old as expectations are at an all-time low. With such a deep prospect pool, it is very possible that Sushko finds himself lost in the crowd. Of course, he will do everything to make sure that does not happen. He will be an interesting prospect to keep an eye on next season as it could prove to be a make-or-break year.
Mandatory Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
John Gove is a full-time elementary educator with a passion for sports media. He has covered various aspects of hockey and basketball for various outlets over the past five years. Currently, he serves as a contributor and editor for Philly Sports Network focussing on prospects within the Philadelphia Flyers farm system and Villanova Men’s Basketball. John also serves as a co-host of Pod Street Bullies, PSN’s flagship Flyers podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @PodStreetGove.