HEY BOGDAN!

The Edmonton Oilers spent two of their draft picks in 2013 on Russians, giving the club a growing арсенал of youngsters from the Motherland. Bogdan Yakimov in an intriguing selection for several reasons–he’s a big man at 18 (6.04, 201) with skilled hands and that’s a deadly combination. He’s also from Nail Yakupov’s hometown and the Oilers are his favorite team:

  • Yakimov: “I’m extremely happy, because I’ve been waiting to be selected. I was already at the edge of my nerves, so this was a huge relief to be selected by anybody, particularly by the Edmonton Oilers. In Nizhnekamsk, the most favourite team of anybody is Edmonton Oilers, because Nail Yakupov is from the same town.” 

COREY PRONMAN: #73 OVERALL

  • Yakimov had a decent season playing in the second-tier Russian pro league, and he was a final cut from the Russian World Junior squad. He is a big center, measuring in at about 6’5″. He may not have the top-end tools of a typical top Russian prospect, but he is talented and he plays a good power game. His hands are above average, and while he can certainly make some moves and carry the puck into the opposing zone, he is not an overly creative forward. He also has pretty good hockey sense, as he makes quick decisions, sees the ice well, and positions himself effectively. As mentioned, he is a big body player, but he could use some more muscle to fill out and make the most of his frame. Still, he is effective when protecting the puck on the boards, and he will drive the net, making use of his physical assets. 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.

FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS: #102

  • “Yakimov is a big, tough center who thrives in the face-off circle where he uses his size and strength to over power opponents… He’s solid at both ends of the ice and gets most of his goals and points by getting his nose dirty around the net.” Roman Solovoev, FC scout

CHRISTIAN ROATIS, FLAMES NATION

  • Yakimov is ranked amidst a group of similar “power forward” prospects like John Hayden, Avery Peterson and Nick Moutrey among others. If Calgary is looking to add size with some scoring upside at the 66th pick they’ll have plenty to choose from. Yakimov however stacks up well against his rivals in terms of the complete package he offers and . He’s sufficient in all 3 zones and has shown he can put up offensive consistently – in a second tier league at least. He’s also close to being NHL ready – he’s already there size wise – and if he continues to be stonewalled by his KHL team, he could pull a reverse Radulov  and bolt to North America for a shot at the show.

RYAN PIKE, THE HOCKEY WRITERS

  • He’s big. He’s physical. He’s willing to battle in the major traffic lanes to score. His game is not without warts, though. He could be a better skater and he lacks elite play-making ability. But he’s arguably more consistent than a lot of players, lacking huge peaks to his game but lacking massive valleys. More from Pike here. 

 

THE DRAFT: #83 OVERALL

  • Yakimov on talking to NHL teams about playing in the KHL: “I was constantly asked about the KHL. I want to play over there because it isn’t a bad league and there’s good money.”
  • Bruce McCurdy at prospects camp: Huge centre from Yakupov’s home territory of Nizhnekamsk. He was often seen in close proximity to Daniil Zharkov, the other Russian speaker at camp (Sergei Slepyshev was unable to attend due to work visa issues). Yakimov has plenty of work to do on skating and related mobility issues, but was at his most impressive any time he had a puck on his stick. Unfortunately he and Zharkov both missed the final day so we got little chance to see them in a scrimmage situation.

 Yakimov1

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Bogdan Yakimov
  • October 4, 1994
  • Center
  • 11, 6-7-13 Reaktor Nizhnekamsk (MHL)
  • NHLE: Unavailable
  • Acquired: Oilers acquired #83 (Yakimov), #94 (Houck) and #113 (Aidan Muir) from St. Louis for #57 overall (William Carrier).
  • Yakimov represented Russia at the 2011 and 2012 Under-18 World Championships.
  • Represented Russia during the Subway Super Series in the fall of 2012.

FINAL COMMENTS

I love the pick after doing a little digging (liked it at first blush but am now very strong on him). Why? Well the words of Ryan Pike above suggest a valuable player and the video evidence above seems to confirm it. This is a kid who can wheel when he gets rolling but he’s going to make his living down low, along the wall and winning puck battles. That’s a skill that is extremely rare in the Oilers prospect group, and he does appear to be quite good at it already.

The one concern I did have is that Yakimov didn’t play in the KHL, however it makes sense that he would have had a difficult time during a lockout year (Nail Yakupov and other NHLers were part of the KHL this past season). This Christian Roatis article fills in the blanks.

Remember when Stu MacGregor talked about MacT’s draft emphasis?

MacGregor: “Well with Mac, skill is really important to him. That’s something that he’s looked for. Obviously the other intangibles of character, hard work, quality of people and players who are passionate to play the game are important, but he really has a high regard for skill.

This pick is about skill and the risk/reward is high on this player. He may play for the Edmonton Oilers for a decade and he may never see the light of day in the NHL. The key–and the major point to make here–is that if he does make the NHL it will be as a skilled center with size. In this way, the selection of Yakimov (and really the entire draft save one) is about grabbing skill and finding a potential difference maker.

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34 Responses to "HEY BOGDAN!"

  1. Ca$h-Money! says:

    DOUBLE YAK ATTACK!

    I hope this kid makes it, just for that.

  2. Young Oil says:

    It would make me so happy if Slepyshev, Yakimov, and Yakupov was our 2nd line for a decade. It would make us the go to destination for any young Russian KHLers.

    Do you think Zharkov, Slepyshev and Yakimov have a good shot of making the Russian WJC team this year?

  3. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Fever-Bog!!!

    seems appropriate:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvpwF0NBY28

  4. Lowetide says:

    My friends Maggie and Debbie at work sometimes play this on their computers

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgvR3y5JCXg

  5. Bad Seed says:

    The Yakipov selection may pay off in more ways than one. I don’t think we’d be talking about any Russian selections this year if we had picked Murray last year.

  6. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    My two Fever-Bog questions:

    “Yakimov is a big, tough center who thrives in the face-off circle where he uses his size and strength to over power opponents…”

    Will he still be a Centre when he plays pro (here or there)?

    “He’s also close to being NHL ready – he’s already there size wise – and if he continues to be stonewalled by his KHL team, he could pull a reverse Radulov and bolt to North America for a shot at the show.”

    How accurate is this assessment, i.e., “close to being NHL ready”?… is he ahead of Slappy for example?

  7. Lowetide says:

    Rom: It’s hard to know, but I’d suggest he’s miles from being NHL ready. He didn’t dominate the MHL, and he didn’t get a KHL shot. If he was close to NHL ready I suspect he would have forced the issue with his town team.

    Slepyshev has played 65 KHL games to 0 for Yakimov (Slepy is also 6 months older too, though).

  8. 8p0intgame says:

    Lowetide,

    Can he come over and play in the AHL?

  9. Lowetide says:

    8p0intgame:
    Lowetide,

    Can he come over and play in the AHL?

    Yes, if the Oilers signed him he could come over and play in the AHL this coming season (I don’t know his contract situation). I’m not certain that’s wise, though.

  10. striatic says:

    Lowetide: Yes, if the Oilers signed him he could come over and play in the AHL this coming season (I don’t know his contract situation). I’m not certain that’s wise, though.

    why wouldn’t you want him in OKC? he’d get tons of playing time.

  11. 8p0intgame says:

    Lowetide,

    If there are too many players ahead of him on his KHL team’s depth chart, wouldn’t it be beneficial for him to come over and play AHL hockey in a sheltered role?

  12. fuzzy muppet says:

    striatic,

    He’s likely not good enough to play at that level. If they could convince him to come and play juniors (they probably can’t) it would be ideal.

  13. Lowetide says:

    If he comes over and can’t play in the AHL because the gap is too great, the Oilers can’t send him to junior. Better to stay in Russia, post some KHL numbers and proceed next year or the year after.

  14. G Money says:

    Young Oil: It would make me so happy if Slepyshev, Yakimov, and Yakupov was our 2nd line for a decade. It would make us the go to destination for any young Russian KHLers.

    The Yakkety Yak and Slappy show.

    Worth the price of admission for the naming options alone…

  15. FastOil says:

    He seems to be able to finish. I am pretty sure that is what they like. It is harder than it seems, some guys have a knack for putting the puck in the right place to score. Like Eberle, who doesn’t have a great shot but knows where it will go in.

    I would think he’ll either have to go AHL or KHL to remain relevant.

  16. sliderule says:

    I was looking at Yakimovs boxes in 2011-12 when he played junior and some in soviet second

    They were better than Nichushkin in the same leagues.

    If the whole Russian thing doesn’t bite the NHL he might be real good.

  17. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Do we have any sense that he isn’t going to be playing in the KHL next year?

    Nichuschkin spent time in the same jr. league that Fever-Bog did this year so I don’t necessarily consider it a black mark.

    I don’t know the depth chart of Yakupov’s old KHL team, but I’m guessing Yakimov pushes his way on this year. I think the questions will be which line, which disciplines and how much TOI?

    Someone should twitter ask one of these Russian Guys that reports for a North American audience. If I had twitter I would.

  18. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    a closer look at Yakimov’s numbers against other young Russian stars in the same league:

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2013/7/1/4483224/bogdan-yakimov-a-closer-look

    from the same article:

    “He’s slated to play in the KHL during the 2013-14 season with Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (Nail Yakupov’s old team), and his play there will be very telling. Let’s hope it tells us something we want to hear.”

    a source isn’t mentioned… but I assume Reynolds got it right.

  19. RexLibris says:

    I seem to recall Yakupov getting pushed down the batting order early last season because they had a number of veterans and the KHL honours years of service ahead of young rookies.

    That being said, I’d vote for him spending another season overseas and then see how things stand. Ideally he would be ready to come over and play in the AHL as a 19/20 year old. If not, he could look at one more year in the KHL and then re-assess. He is a draft and follow player.

    What I find most intriguing about Yakimov is a combination of his size and skill and how this appears to be translating early in his career, ie: that he seems to recognize that his forte will be taking the puck hard to the net.

    Some of what I have read seems to have some similarities to Jujhar Khaira here and if both of these young men can turn into NHL players then the roster will have some very exciting times ahead.

    Then again he could turn out to be Truhkno part deux. We’ll just have to wait and see, but I’m liking what I’ve seen/read/heard thus far.

  20. wheatnoil says:

    RexLibris:
    Some of what I have read seems to have some similarities to Jujhar Khaira here and if both of these young men can turn into NHL players then the roster will have some very exciting times ahead.

    That’s an interesting comparable actually. Both Yakimov and Khaira played their draft years somewhat under the radar (Khaira was in the BCHL and had a late growth spurt, Yakimov because he was in the MHL, blocked from the KHL in part due to Yakupov himself). Both were drafted in the 3rd round. Both of them are draft and follow types developing outside of the CHL system, which means the Oilers hold on to their rights longer before they have to sign an entry level contract. Both have some foot speed issues but are big centers that can get to the dirty areas.

    Hell, even though they’re from different draft years, they’re less than two months apart in terms of age (August and October of 94)!

    It’ll be interesting comparing the two as they go forward.

  21. striatic says:

    guess i’ll be scouring the web for Neftekhimik video streams come this fall.

    again.

  22. Lowetide says:

    striatic:
    guess i’ll be scouring the web for Neftekhimik video streams come this fall.

    again.

    They keep pulling you back!!!

  23. Hammers says:

    At least 3 years out.

  24. Clay says:

    Bogdan is cool because he sold that car wash to Walter White. Well, to Skyler White I guess.

  25. VanOil says:

    Bogdan-Nail-Nail-Bogdan (said at auctioneer speed, because Nail pitches passes at 95mph) Net. (or through it and into the second row, because Nail)

  26. Woodguy says:

    Reaktor Nizhnekamsk

    Somehow Bogdan Yakimov’s nickname needs to be “The Reaktor”

    Please?

    Also,

    In Polish (so I’m assuming its the same in Russian and the 2 languages are close cousins) Bogdan = Peter.

    In Vancouver there are a lot of Polish patrons of our business and about 30% of them are named Bogdan.

  27. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: In Polish (so I’m assuming its the same in Russian and the 2 languages are close cousins) Bogdan = Peter.

    Shouldn’t we call him “The Foundation Stone” or something? “the rock” is a bit tired now…

    I think I’ll stick with “Fever-Bog,” but I don’t expect anyone to join me there.

  28. Bruce McCurdy says:

    On the development camp roster Yakimov was listed as 6’1, 222.

    Hard to tell by eye, who knows when that 201 was taken (the combine?) but his playing weight is going to e pretty substantial.

    Better to spend a third round flyer on the likes of Bogdan Yakimov than a first round flyer on the likes of Alexei Mikhnov.

  29. spoiler says:

    Woodguy:
    Reaktor Nizhnekamsk

    Somehow Bogdan Yakimov’s nickname needs to be “The Reaktor”

    Please?

    Also,

    In Polish (so I’m assuming its the same in Russian and the 2 languages are close cousins) Bogdan = Peter.

    In Vancouver there are a lot of Polish patrons of our business and about 30% of them are named Bogdan.

    Bogdan doesn’t equate to Peter in any language. Pyotr is Peter in Russkie.

    Closest correlate to Bogdan is Theodore or Ted.

  30. knighttown says:

    No major concerns with guys like Yakimov and Slepeshev but shouldn’t we at least discuss the Russian/European factor after these last few off seasons? Radulov, Kostitsyns, Zherdev, Filatov, Burmistrov and now Kovie. Throw in Hartikainen. There are only a handful of guys even playing in the nhl now and they are mostly stars or veterans with long term roots in NA. Interesting that the Oil are zigging when everyone else is zagging but it certainly is a concern.

    Russian factor concerns seem to be a few-fold:
    1. Young Superstars and stars have massive negotiating power on their second contracts. In a few years does anyone think MacT can play hardball with Yakupov as an RFA? He’ll almost certainly be leaving money on the table to stay in NA or we’ll be paying top dollar to keep him here which may affect our whole pay grid.

    2. Lesser prospects are far less likely to put in the time working their way up to a prominent position. Will they play in the AHL. Are they ok on the 3rd and 4th line? What about the second power play? Harksi puts in all this time and bails just when he is about to help this team.

    As long as there is an easier road will players be as likely to choose the hard one?

  31. Obiwan Eberle says:

    knighttown,

    if by “a handful” you mean 22.9% of the NHL or 158 players, then yes there is only a handful of European players in the NHL.

  32. JohnnyRocket says:

    I think that Bogdan’s skating is being oversold. I don’t know if Bruce saw the skating drills while Yak was there, but he couldn’t complete most of them. Not do them poorly, I mean not be able to do them at all. North-south was okay, but forget any crossovers. It is a big concern. Nice accurate shot though. Put one in the top shelf while standing parallel to the net from the corner. Crazy angle.

  33. Woodguy says:

    spoiler: Bogdan doesn’t equate to Peter in any language.Pyotr is Peter in Russkie.

    Closest correlate to Bogdan is Theodore or Ted.

    Ok.

    You can tell that to the 63 Bogdan’s who have told me, “but call me Peter, that’s what Bogdan is in English’

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