This is Alexei Mikhnov playing for the Russian National Team. He’s still big, he still has talent and he still lives in Russia.
Mikhnov is coming off a good season playing in the KHL for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv. In 52gp, he went 16-19-35 and ranked third on his team in points (Yashin led the team with 47 points).
Mikhnov is one of the “players of interest” for the Oilers this summer.
- Will the Oilers sign Alexei Mikhnov and bring him over? Maybe, but the questions of last summer remain. Edmonton has already given one-way deals to enough fringe forwards and Mikhnov can probably make more in Russia than he would make in the AHL. They’ll be shopping for size, though.
- Will the Oilers sign Alex Plante or let him fall back into the draft and take the 45th overall pick as compensation? They’ll sign Plante. Although this is a deep draft, Plante has played well and the Oilers said on draft day they knew he was a project. I’d expect Plante to be one of the top 6D for the Oilers’ AHL team in the fall.
- Will they sign Milan Kytnar? No brainer. Kytnar projects as a solid checking center in pro and might have an NHL future. Oilers sign him for sure, and if he can’t make the AHL team, he might be in Stockton or Europe playing pro this fall.
- Will they project Theo Peckham as the 7D in the fall? I think they’ll turn over one of the big 4 during the summer (one of Lubo, Souray, Gilbert and Grebeshkov) and possibly one or both of the 5-6D (Staios, Smid). Peckham will make $585,000 with a cap hit of $600,000 (both totals courtesy nhlnumbers.com) and would have to be considered a strong contender for the inexpensive end-of-the-roster blueliner.
- Will they keep Dustin Penner? This depends completely on Craig MacTavish. If the Oilers make the playoffs, I suspect the coach stays and it is hard to imagine the coach keeping Penner in the fold. Should MacT receive his walking papers, Penner is likely to return. The math says he’s been effective in both of his Oilers seasons, although the money is, was and will be an overpay. He’s flawed but he brings some things.
- Will they sign Roloson? Yes. I think this is pretty much a slam dunk, to the point where I could see them giving him two seasons.
- Who will be the latest star brought in? Since summer 2005, the Oilers have acquired Chris Pronger and Michael Peca (2005), Dwayne Roloson and Petr Sykora (2006), Sheldon Souray and Dustin Penner (2007) and then in 2008 it was Lubomir Visnovsky and Erik Cole. This summer? My guesses are they re-sign Dwayne Roloson and Denis Grebeshkov, sign Jagr and offload Penner plus Staios. Think “mixed bag” and you should be in the neighbourhood.