The 2012 NHL draft may have changed the course of Oiler history. I say “may” because the club could trade Nail Yakupov tomorrow, once again cutting off the Russian pipeline of talent. The Yakupov selection, which was followed by Daniil Zharkov, Bogdan Yakimov and Anton Slepyshev, represents a new day in Oilers Nation. The Russians could have a major impact on the Oilers future if Yak, Yak 2 and Slepyshev patrol the top 2 lines in the future. If Zharkov—a long shot—joins them? Even better.
VOLLMAN’S NHLE APPLIED TO RUSSIAN OIL
- Bogdan Yakimov 33, 7-5-12 (NHLE: 82, 14-9-23) 9:55TOI
- Anton Slepyshev 32, 3-5-8 (NHLE: 82, 6-10-16) 10:19TOI
- Daniil Zharkov 49, 2-2-4 (NHLE: 82, 2-3-5) 6:44TOI
Yakimov is getting a lot done on less than 10 minutes a night for Neftekhimik, and is a player to watch closely during this offseason. I am in no way suggesting he’ll come over and play in the NHL, but these are pretty good numbers based on TOI (his points-per-60 is about 2.20—that’s a very good number, especially considering he has only 1 power-play goal).
- Craig MacTavish: “Bogdan Yakimov is a mammoth of a guy and he looked good. He won faceoffs, killed penalties and played on the power play. He’s come a long way the last couple of years with his skating and skill level. Hopefully we’ll sign him and bring him over next year.”
- Pronman: His main issue is his skating, as it is below average. His top speed and his first few steps are subpar, and while has shown some improvement, he must continue to progress in that area.
- Craig MacTavish: “He has a dynamic skill set. High-speed skill. He competes well. There’s plenty of tools there.”
The worry with Slappy is the offense isn’t there. His points-per-60 is 1.46 in the KHL, well back of Yakimov’s number in the same league. I think that’s an issue, but all of his goals have come at even strength. I’d really like to see him spend a season in the AHL.
- Corey Pronman: Zharkov had a pretty impressive first OHL season despite somewhat underwhelming counting numbers. He’s a good skater who hits a desirable top speed, with good first step quickness, showing very good agility and ability to evade defenders. That last part is also due to his puck skills, which are plus, as he can really dangle and has a lot of individual ability. His goal to assist ratio may give the indication of a poor passer or a puck hog, and while he’ll occasionally look like the latter, he does show many instances of being a fine puck distributor. Zharkov is much better, though, at making moves and getting into shooting position where he displays high-end finishing ability. He shows a fine physical game, as while he still needs to put on strength, he has a projectable frame and will work hard on the forecheck and when he has to battle along the boards.
Zharkov’s point-per-60 is 1.21 so far this season, but man he’s not playing much. I don’t really know what we can find out about a guy who has played in 50 games and averages 6 minutes a night. That’s an enforcer’s line.
I think this Yakimov fellow might be a player.