This is Viacheslav Trukhno (#58) during his impressive training camp for the Oilers. He showed very well (3gp, 1-2-3, leading scorer among players who didn’t make the big club) after a slow start in camp and hopefully will do the same in his first AHL season.
The slow start is already a part of the resume. 9gp, 2-1-3, minus three. He was a healthy scratch on Saturday, and listed in the game notes as an “extra forward” in the Friday game. The AHL dresses 11 forwards like the NHL did 35 years ago, so Trukhno’s playing time was likely far less than the guys on the three lines. This is a major step down from earlier in the season when he drew quality linemates, regular shifts and tons on PP time (on the point). All this after scoring his first pro goal in his first AHL game. That night he was on a line with Patrick Thoresen and Liam Reddox.
The season is still very young, and the major concern I had for him (injury) hasn’t been a problem. Trukhno is no doubt working his way back to a regular shift and with the team struggling (0-3-2 in their last 5, including a loss both Friday and Saturday) it’s a good guess there will be some lineup shuffling by coach Buchberger.
In the summer, I looked at “reasonable expectations” for all the minor league LWers in the Oilers system. With regard to Trukhno, I said “Slava Trukhno (20)- Has a wide range of skills, including size, skill and grit. He’s my pick to be the ‘Patrick Thoresen’ this fall. Reasonable expectations: He’s a longshot to make the big club, but I think he’ll have a better offensive season as a 20-year old in the AHL than any Oiler prospect (at the same age) in recent history.”
It looks like a tall order currently, but I think it’s still completely reasonable. IF Slava Trukhno is going to have an NHL career he needs to have some kind of impact at the AHL level this season. Here’s a list of Edmonton Oilers’ prospects (since 2000-01) who played 30+ games in the AHL at age 20. I have ranked them by percentage of overall team points (and adjusted for fewer games played if required), which is a little unusual but some of these teams were simply awful offensively and I believe we need to adjust for “ballpark effects”:
- Marc Pouliot (05-06) 65gp, 15-30-45. PPG: .692 (24.6%)
- J.F. Jacques (05-06) 65gp, 24-20-44. PPG: .677 (24%)
- Kyle Brodziak (04-05) 56gp, 6-26-32. PPG: .571 (22.7%)
- Rob Schremp (06-07) 69gp, 17-36-53. PPG: .768 (22.3%)
- Jarret Stoll (02-03) 76gp, 21-33-54. PPG: .771 (20.4%)
- Jani Rita (01-02) 76gp, 25-17-42. PPG: .553 (17.9%)
- Tyler Spurgeon (06-07) 34gp, 5-10-15. PPG: .441 (12.8%)
- Slava Trukhno (07-08) 9gp, 2-1-3. PPG: .333 (11.5%)
- Dan Baum (03-04) 37gp, 4-6-10. PPG: .270 (9.9%)
- Zach Stortini (05-06) 64gp, 2-8-10. PPG: .156 (9.4%)
Anything over 20% of overall team offense (player points divided by team goals over gp total by player) appears to get you some kind of consideration as an offensive prospect. The ranking here is a bit unfair because Stoll was on a deep, deep team and I know for an absolute fact he didn’t get the cherry minutes on that shared (with Montreal) team in 02-03. Having said that, Brodziak’s 04-05 team couldn’t hit the ocean from three feet so adjusting in this fashion is imo the more reasonable option if we’re trying to level the playing field.
Back to Trukhno: WAY too early to suggest he can’t get above that 20% line, and it’s still completely possible for him to top this list. His competition currently on LW is Rob Schremp (he played LW last night), JF Jacques, Ben Simon and Ryan Flinn.
If Trukhno can’t work his way into that depth chart, he’s in a lot of trouble. I like him a ton as a prospect even with this start. Prospects with a combination of skills that includes size, skill and grit are incredibly valuable.