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 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:
- 06-07 (26-19-45)
- 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.