On TSN 1260 yesterday, Craig MacTavish told us he was very happy with the performance of big center Bogdan Yakimov. For his part, the young Russian seems to be enjoying himself on the big stage.
- Yakimov: “Every line uses the same strategy. It doesn’t matter what line you’re on. You always know where everyone is going to be. I play on a line with Vadim Khlopotov and Eduard Gimatov. I like our line. We have great chemistry. You could say we’re three working horses – we work hard and we do it well.”
In the article linked to above, Andray Osadchenkno gives us a very nice look at the 19-year old and what he’s been doing this season:
- Osadchenko: Bogdan Yakimov: (Neftekhimik, KHL) Known as Yak-2 by Oilers fans, Yakimov is having a great rookie season in the KHL. He scored five goals and 10 points in 31 games, averaging just 9:30 of TOI.
Add to that Yakimov’s willingness to come over next fall, no matter where he plays:
- Hockey’s future: Yakimov’s KHL deal will run out after this season and he has already confirmed that he is going to head to North America and has no problems with playing in the AHL for the Edmonton Oilers’ affiliate team.
I ranked Yakimov #6 overall on my top 30 prospect list, and there’s clearly an interest from both sides. MacT’s visit and strong verbal have me wondering where he might rank on the pro C depth chart 2014 fall.
OILERS C DEPTH CHART FALL 2014+ (SIGNED OR RFA)
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Brilliant young player, coming into his own during a trying season. The modern Dave Keon.
- Sam Gagner: The modern Guy Charron, very skilled but unable to carry a line offensively and not refined away from the puck.
- Boyd Gordon: A fine veteran, checker with some skill and a good fit for this team.
- Mark Arcobello: Could be the modern Andre Boudrias, a surprising offensive talent married to solid fundamentals. Unproven at NHL level.
- Anton Lander: I think the organization may feel he’s a “tweener” in that there’s not enough offense to employ him as a defensive, 4line center (and there’s not a lot of offense required for that job). He’s not part of the MacT group, and I doubt he’s part of the remnant next Christmas.
- Will Acton: I doubt we’ve seen the last of him, from all reports he’s doing fine in the AHL and one suspects we’ll see him after the trade deadline bloodletting takes place. I’m still not sure he’s a bad player, would like to see him with a little better set of wingers (say Smyth-Jones) before making a call.
- Travis Ewanyk: I believe he’s part of the future, a likely 4th line solution for the club down the line. If you list all of the things the Oilers like about Ewanyk, that’s the reason I think Lander is gone.
Yakimov has size and that’s something this group doesn’t have at all. I can see the club bringing Yakimov over in the “Lander role” in that he might get some playing time in both the AHL and NHL (should he earn it with minor league performance). Either way, I think we’re at a point where we can begin discussing:
- Sam Gagner’s exit
- Mark Arcobello’s future with the Oilers (as a two-way center)
- Anton Lander’s exit
- Bogdan Yakimov getting fast tracked