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Drafted first overall in the CHL Import Draft, Maxim Cajkovic joined a rebuilding St. John’s Sea Dogs team. It was a tough season for the young Slovakian player, adjusting to a smaller ice surface and having to be the go-to player on a very weak Sea Dogs club. Cajkovic scored 22 goals and 46 points in 60 games played. To put those numbers in perspective, he led the Sea Dogs in scoring, 12 points ahead of the next best scorer on the team.
Cajkovic put up four goals and seven assists for 11 points in five games at the 2018 IIHF Under-18 World Championships. Cajkovic led the entire tournament in assists. He also played in a number of other tournaments. Overall, he had nine goals and 22 points in 16 games with the U18 squad. At the 2019 IIHF Under-18 tournament, he put in four goals and three assists for seven points in seven games. The coaching staff named him one of Slovakia’s top three players on the team. He also had four points in four games at the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament. Over the course of the season, he scored five goals and 11 points in 14 games with the Slovakian U18 squad.
Maxim Cajkovic Scouting Report
Right Wing/Left Wing — shoots Right
Born January 3rd, 2001 — Bratislava, Slovakia
Height 5’11” — Weight 185 lbs [180 cm / 84 kg]
Cajkovic is a very good skater. He has a good first step and reaches top speed quickly with excellent acceleration. Cajkovic also has very good top-end speed. He is able to use his ability to change speeds as a weapon, fooling defenders. If he gets a step on a defender, he can pull away and cut to the net. Cajkovic’s edgework and agility are also good. He can beat a defender in one-on-one situations both with and without the puck. He also has very good core strength. Cajkovic has good balance and protects the puck well in the cycle game. He wins battles on the boards and in front of the net. Cajkovic also has the power to fight through checks, hooks and holds.
There have been flashes of brilliance this year, though they have not come as consistently as some would have hoped. It is clear that Cajkovic has dynamic offensive skills. The question is how much of his reduced production is lack of consistency and how much is the fact that he had very little in the way of offensive support. He is an excellent stick handler, who can use his moves to beat defenders one-on-one. His creativity creates space and opens up passing and shooting lanes. Cajkovic finds open teammates with a quick pass and has the vision to see scoring opportunities as they develop. His skating allows him to get in quickly on the forecheck and create turnovers.
He also has the ability to score goals. He is not afraid to get to the front of the net and has the hand-eye coordination to finish when he gets there. Cajkovic can pounce on rebounds, redirect passes into the net, and also get tip-ins. He is a real sniper. Cajkovic also has a nice arsenal of shots with a good wrist shot, snapshot, backhand and one-timer. He has very good power in his shot, and also can fool goaltenders with a quick release. Cajkovic also does a good job of changing the angle of his stick on his release, which also makes things difficult for goalies.
Maxim Cajkovic plays a decent defensive game. He gets back defensively, providing back support and helping to contain the cycle down low. He also is willing to get involved in physical battles on the boards and in front of the net. Cajkovic uses his stick to cut down passing lanes. Once a turnover is created, he is able to transition to offence quickly.
Projection and Comparison
Maxim Cajkovic needs some time to develop. There are those flashes of skills but he needs to find a way to be more consistent. Hopefully, the Sea Dogs will be an improved team next year, giving him some additional talent to work with and to take all of the pressure off of him. If he can continue to develop he could be a real steal for his team. Cajkovic’s game is similar to David Pastrnak, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Maxim Cajkovic that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect in our NHL Draft series.
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