Everything’s Alexei

I now believe Alexei Mikhnov is the Russian version of Archie Andrews.

Like Archie, Alexei is frozen in time, not quite man and not really boy, chasing girls and having fun and fixing the jalopy.

Mikhnov is similar to young Andrews in that his hijinks keep pulling us back into the story generation after generation.

Many hundreds of years after I read about Betty and Veronica my own daughter reads the comic (there are more Archie Digest’s in my home than Carter has pills) and I laugh as she explains to my that she can’t understand how Veronica gets away with all that crap (she’s a Betty, God love her).

The Oilers’ version of Archie made some Jughead decisions early in his career that kept him behind the Iron Curtain (I know there isn’t one, you know there isn’t one, but Russian Archie didn’t act like he knew) and when he finally got here the scouting report read like this:















Has big-league size and a fair amount of goal-scoring potential. Can play on either side of center, and is comfortable shooting from his off-wing (right). Is not a good passer, and still has trouble in defensive-zone coverage. Must step up his physical play to survive the NHL game.

He got into a couple of NHL games but didn’t do much and then played well in the AHL before going home to the Motherland where like all Oilers prospects he stopped scoring and we never heard from him again.

Except.

Except that he’s scoring like a demon and is 15th in the Russian Super League in total points. He’s tied for 12th in plus minus in the entire league and his Desjardins’ NHLE looks good using the Russian numbers:

  1. 06-07 (26-19-45)
  2. 07-08 (23-32-55)

That’s per 82gp. The problem is that his AHL numbers in 06-07 (27gp, 6-12-18) screamed also-ran and that was at age 24. Mikhnov’s pretty close to UFA status (he’s 26 in August and will be UFA at 27) and the Oilers have many other options.

I’m not certain we’ve heard the last of the big man, though. He’s a guy another NHL team may look at because of his size and skill. Just like Archie Andrews, Traktor Boy has some staying power.

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10 Responses to "Everything’s Alexei"

  1. Ribs says:

    It’s Back to the Future! Schremp and Mikhnov! Ya!

    I wonder if either of them learned how to skate since their lacklustre NHL first appearances?

    …I like the idea of Traktor Boy. I could definitely see him on a line with fellow big man Dustin Penner that could be very effective deep in the O Zone.

  2. PunjabiOil says:

    Latest mentioned was that he wants a 1 way contract, the Oilers aren’t sure whether to go it to him.

    I would go for it. He has the talent, protects the puck well, and at WORST case scenario, is a press box material a la Patrick Thorosen.

    Of course if MacT has any input, he’s not coming over. Nor is Schremp graduating anytime soon. I also bet Nilsson is traded off sooner or later.

  3. Dennis says:

    I don’t really see where this guy fits in unless the Oilers are going after Tavaras in ’09.

    Plus, this club doesn’t exactly have the best rep when it comes to Russians or Euro’s in general for that matter.

  4. Lowetide says:

    I think there’s a chance he plays in the NHL, but probably not for the Oilers.

    He’s going to be 27 soon and a team that scouts Europe outside the 25 square miles Kenta gets to surrounding his house each winter might like him enough to give up a pick.

    I consider Mikhnov to be one of those guys whose skills are unique enough that it is very unlikely we’ve heard the last of him.

    Jacques is in the same category. Mikhnov is 6-freaking-5 for crying out loud. He’s hockey’s Manute Bol.

  5. rickibear says:

    I was hoping they would give him a chance and then bring over the fab four from HV71: Thornberg, Voutilainen, Puistola, and Luomo(Edm 2002 losing him still bothers me in that Jan Hedja way). Oh well we still have Raffi and Jarret

  6. Josh says:

    Great read LT. Reminds me of a poors man’s Penners. Both are big, have hands, not the greatest skaters (though Penner is not bad by any means), and don’t take the body nearly as much as they should for their size.

    Bringing him over is a tough decision though and made even tougher by that one way. He comes over he is taking a spot away from one of the farm kids (Schremp, Pouliot, Jacques, etc..) and do you feel safe saying that he could be better than any of them?

    It’s weird to say, but offensive rookies are dime a dozen around these parts. In our top six we have Nilsson and Gagner (Cogliano?) so to squeeze Mikhinov in there is tough. Someone plays 4th line and that is not good for any of the above mentioned players

  7. Shawn says:

    I dunno why it’s really that hard of a choice. It’s a young team anyway. He’s been playing with men for how long now? There’s going to be a NA adjustment but they have to be more patient.

    This team is deep at centre but not so much on the wing. That’s true of the main roster and prospects. Could use a big scoring winger.

  8. gary b says:

    Traktor Boy, we hardly knew ye.

  9. Gord says:

    I am a big Mikhnov fan – I know he got shafted last year by the Oilers & still believe we fans got shafted when he was not re-signed for this season – a large stickhandling forward who can score goals is desperately needed…

    But I have been tracking him almost game by game this season – he was tearing up the scoring stats even though Yashin (his team mate) played on a completely different line. Then Mikhnov missed five games.

    Since then, Mikhnov has been invisible – when he missed those games, he was way ahead of Yashin – since then, absolutely nothing….

    Maybe someone with more information can explain what is going on…..

  10. Go Lawyers! says:

    Speaking of the lesser mentioned prospects: Ryan O’Marra has 2 goals and an assist in his last three games in Springfield. Let’s hope that he plays his way back near the top of the prospect list during the second half of his first pro season.

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