Bogdan Yakimov may not speak English well, but he manages to get his point across. In an Edmonton Journal article earlier this summer, Joanne Ireland quotes the young prospect about the NHL and how much he wants to make the world’s best league:
- Yakimov: “Last year, I played in the pro league and I think I can play. I need more work, but after development camp, I will stay in Edmonton. In my head? One thought. NHL. NHL. NHL. So no problem if they say eat this, do that, I do it. No problem.” Source
BOGDAN YAKIMOV RE 14-15 PREVIEW
|.703||BOGDAN YAKIMOV OKC RE 14-15||64||22||23||45|
|.000||BOGDAN YAKIMOV OILERS RE 14-15||2||0||0||0|
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.
- 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.”
The Edmonton Oilers went to the entry draft in search of a specific player type. A man who could play a physical game while playing a complementary role on a skill line. They traded down at #37 in order to add bullets to the collection. They traded Zykov for more chances at a Wayne Cashman type—a complementary player who can deliver enough offensively to play with skill. Bogdan Yakimov clearly gained the confidence of Edmonton’s management, as one year after he was selected he is signed and heading to camp. That my friends, is called the fast track.
- Could he make the Oilers opening night? Very very small chance of that happening. Leon Draisaitl is going to get a long, long look—suspect he wins a job in Edmonton, with Yakimov playing in OKC for most of the season.
- The AHL projection suggests he’ll be successful. If Yakimov posts those numbers, he’ll be the most successful 20-year old forward in Barons history offensively. His ppg will trail Magnus Paajarvi, but as you’ll recall the Swede had an NHL season at 19, so it’s not a fair comparison.
- What is the best thing about him? Yakimov was successful last season in the KHL—that’s a strong league. Six even-strength goals in 33 games, and less than 10 minutes a night. His points-per-60 in the KHL is about 2.20, mostly at evens. That looks pretty good. Teemu Hartikainen’s point-per-60 in the KHL last season was 2.34, and we know Harski could post offense in the AHL.
- Will the Barons play him at center? Hard to know. Yakimov did take 76 faceoffs in the KHL regular season a year ago, winning 58.3% of them. On the other hand, he was taking about 2.5 faceoffs a game, so he wasn’t doing a ton of it.
- What was that crazy trade again? Ready? It’s a long one. The Oilers traded No. 37 overall (Valentin Zykov) and ended up with (ahem) No. 83 overall (Bogdan Yakimov), No. 88 overall (Anton Slepyshev), No. 94 overall Jackson Houck, No. 96 overall Kyle Platzer and No. 113 overall Aidan Muir. I wrote about it here.
- Is Yakimov the key from the Oilers side? Yes, Yakimov and Jackson Houck. Houck enjoyed a strong season (after a slow start) in the WHL and could help the trade, but the Russian improved season over season and should be considered the big item in the deal.