The thing about training camp is that storylines can move in a hurry. Take the battle at center in Edmonton’s TC this fall: After RNH and Boyd Gordon, it’s ? and the mysterians all over. I have guessed (in the RE series) that the TOI will go thusly:
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Leon Draisaitl
- Boyd Gordon
- Mark Arcobello
- Anton Lander
but that comes from this side of the mountain. A training camp followed by pre-season could change a lot of things. Edmonton could make a trade, a prospect could shine like a diamond, or maybe it shakes out just as I’ve described above. Part of the reason this could go any way is the Oilers don’t really have a major waiver worry. The certain ‘cluster’ players like Leon Draisaitl are non waiver eligible, and the team could probably live through losing Arcobello or Lander via waivers.
In regard to prospects who could jump up and make enough of an impact to force their way onto the team, we’re talking extreme long shots. We discussed Jujhar Khair yesterday, and if we have time (the Oilers are doing a helluva job making no news, so probably) we’ll be able to cover the entire spectrum. Today, it’s Bogdan Yakimov and for good reason. He’s played in a quality men’s league (KHL) and his estimated points-per-60 (2.20) is solid good. I’ve estimated Yakimov’s points-per-game total in OKC to be .703 (the look at Yakimov is here) and that total would put him near the top of Barons’ 20-year old scorers since 2010-11:
- LW Magnus Paajarvi (11-12 OKC Barons) 34gp, 7-18-25 .735
- LW Teemu Hartikainen (10-11 OKC Barons) 66gp, 17-25-42 .636
- LW Phil Cornet (10-11 OKC Barons) 60gp, 7-16-23 .383
- RW Tyler Pitlick (11-12 OKC Barons) 62gp, 7-16-23 .371
- C Anton Lander (11-12 OKC Barons) 14gp, 1-4-5 .357
- C Ryan Martindale (12-13 OKC Barons) 41gp, 6-8-14 .341
- LW Curtis Hamilton (11-12 OKC Barons) 41gp, 5-6-11 .262
- C Travis Ewanyk (12-13 OKC Barons) 68gp, 7-5-12 .176
- LW Kale Kessy (12-13 OKC Barons) 54gp, 2-4-6 .111
- RW Cameron Abney (11-12 OKC Barons) 14gp, 0-0-0 .000
A quick note here, Paajarvi’s season came after a year in the NHL, so isn’t really a fair comp for the rest of the group. It is very clear 20-year olds have a terrible time offensively in OKC, and part of that may have to do with playing time (as we’ve discussed in the past). Yakimov’s arrival somewhat coincides with Craig MacTavish’s organizational tweaking of playing time, and perhaps gives the Russian a better shot at establishing himself early.
Bogdan Yakimov is 6.05, 202 according to the Oilers website and is clearly focused:
- 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
I’m betting Yakimov has a strong training camp and then heads to Oklahoma territory for the winter. Strange things have been known to happen, and coach Eakins may be willing to risk waivers on players if a 20-year old shoots lights out during the pre-season. If we’re making a list of candidates, Bogdan Yakimov would rank very high.