Tkachev, Krushelnyski and Boland named to Oilers’ rookie camp roster

Tkachev, Vladimir

The Oilers announced the roster for their rookie camp in Penticton later this week, and while most of the names on the list are drafted and/or signed players in the system, there were a few free agent additions.

The New Guys

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  • Vladimir Tkachev. Easily the most exciting player of the lot, and a guy who put up 30 points in just 20 QMJHL games last season, which was his first year of draft eligibility. He’s fast and crafty; he’s Russian and 5’9”/163 pounds. He didn’t get drafted this past year but based on recent history (Carolina signed a guy in a similar boat) the Oilers have a window to sign him to an ELC if they like what they see.
  • Alex Krushelnyski. Mike’s son is back for a second spin with the Oilers, and his college career is now over. He’s a little undersized, and his numbers at the NCAA level were decent but not spectacular, though he has a reputation as a two-way guy.
  • Connor Boland. The only real surprise of the lot. The 19-year-old defenceman has good size (6’2”, 200 pounds) and was the captain of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes last season. He’s passed through two drafts without being selected but attended Buffalo’s camp last season. He hasn’t scored in the OHL but at least one report has him down as smart and mobile.

Generally these things don’t go anywhere, but Tkachev is a really interesting guy by the numbers and Krushelnyski might be worth a pro contract and seems pretty clearly in the hunt for one.

Nine to Watch

Draisaitl, Leon

Rookie camp is always exciting because even though the hockey isn’t amazing it’s the first NHL-related activity of the year and it’s always been way too long since the last game. It’s also a chance to watch some specific items of interest.

  • Will Leon Draisaitl dominate? No other question at this camp is as important to the Oilers; the team is pretty clearly counting on Draisaitl to play significant minutes in this coming season and this is his first test. Even against older prospects he should be the class of the forward group.
  • Will Darnell Nurse dominate? There isn’t a pressing, desperate lack of decent defencemen, so Nurse’s status has been a quieter issue this off-season. But he’s a guy who could play his way into the plans and we should see the first signs of it here if so.
  • Will Greg Chase dominate? Chase is an interesting guy because he’s one of the team’s few recent late picks performing well north of expectations. He could be on the Canadian WJC team this winter, and he has a case as the team’s second-best forward prospect after Draisaitl; seeing him go head-to-head with Yakimov and Khaira will be interesting.
  • How is Bogdan Yakimov’s skating? Yakimov will be making his first appearance in North America this season, and as we saw with Klefbom there’s a learning curve that comes with it. Because of that, I’m not expecting crazy results – I’m just looking to see how well he skates, which has been his Achilles heel as a prospect.
  • Where does Jujhar Khaira play? Most projections that I’ve seen have Khaira slotted for a centre position with the Barons this year, but the rookie camp is crazy with centres and the Oilers’ official depth chart lists him as a left wing. Where he plays in camp should give us an idea of the team’s intentions for this coming year.
  • How does Dillon Simpson look? Simpson is a bit of a wild card; sometimes these college guys take to pro hockey like a duck to water and sometimes they struggle mightily. This is a critical year where the blueliner could either force his way into the NHL recall conversation or tumble down the depth chart, and this camp could be telling.
  • Can Marco Roy rebound? The 2013 second round pick has draft pedigree, but is coming off a deeply disappointing 2013-14 campaign, one which was clearly impacted by injuries. A strong rookie camp would be our first sign of a rebound.
  • Which of Laurent Brossoit and Frans Tuohimaa impresses most? Brossoit is the current ‘goalie of the future’ in the system but he’s hardly an unassailable prospect; Tuohimaa is a bit of a wild card but just might challenge him for a job in OKC this season. Bouchard’s been getting lit up in the QMJHL camp and Rimmer’s a Central Leaguer, so Brossoit v. Tuohimaa is the contest to watch.
  • Will any of the AHL crowd stand out? A whole pile of players on minor-league deals – Kellen and Connor Jones, Josh Winquist, Mitch Holmberg, Graeme Craig, CJ Ludwig – will be in camp, and all of the mare on the bubble for AHL work this season. Some of these guys have done things that make them worthy of interest, and a good rookie camp could give any one of them the early edge needed to crack the minor-league depth chart.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • pkam


    How is this Vladimir Tkachev compared to Toni Rajala? He seems to be even smaller than Toni, is he really much better than Toni?

    If not, why should we be excited about him if we are not at all interested in a similar small skilled forward?

    • I really don’t think that’s what happened with Rajala. I’m pretty sure Rajala wasn’t interested in the Oilers and bouncing between AHL/NHL, and that the Oilers decided they might as well save the 50-man spot since Rajala wasn’t going to play the AHL minutes he needed.

    • Craig1981

      Rajala was still an OK pick. He played well in the àhl and gave them a skilled forward that could put up points. Something that a development team needs. If we could sign someone that’s 18 to do that for 3 seasons it’s a win

  • pkam

    That’s an impressive list outside of the goalies. For a rookie tournament, LD, Chase, Yakimov, Houck, Tikachev, Moroz, Khaira, Nurse, Simpson, Musil, and Gernat are quite the group of players. Not sure it’ll be much of a competition. I’m most interested in seeing Beltker, Yakimov, and Chase. I wonder if the development of Chase is making other wingers on the NHL club more expendable in the future.

    Either way it’ll be nice to talk about actual hockey again. It would be really nice to see these guys develop into NHL players that can support the top end talent and supplement with size and points, or turn into solid assets that net back some much needed hole plugs.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    It seems like we have more depth than in the past. Some legit prospects and some top notch wild cards. Nice to see us actually searching for hidden gems.

    i remember when all we had to look forward to was rob schremp. he was considered the savior or our organization at one point.

  • Craig1981

    Man oh man, I hope we find a way to send Draisaitl back to Jr.

    Petry + Klefbom + conditional 1st for Thornton

    if we don’t make the playoffs, that first becomes a 2nd.







    Something like that anyway.

    I’m sure I will get trashed, but don’t care. Think of it this way, Thornton will bring the best out of Yak and get his development going. That alone has serious value. Plus we get 2 years of Joe, who I believe will put up 70 points easy.

    Petry will be going UFA next summer anyway. Klefbom is tough to let go but with Nurse and Marincin and other guys like Gernat/Simpson/etc. I think we can afford to let him go if it means improving Yakupov.

    • pkam

      Maybe it’s because everyone expects he’ll make the team anyway, but everyone seems to forget that LD has said he’s not going back to junior. Either he sticks in the NHL, or he’s going to Europe to play his season there.

      And though Thorton almost instantly makes the Oilers a playoff contender, he will never come here.

      • pkam

        You’re definitely right, he likely never comes here.

        We’d have to do some sort of convincing to show him the impact he’d have. I agree, I think we are a playoff team, or close to it, with him

      • pkam


        My bad. Should’ve said I want him to go back to junior instead of saying they should send him back. You are correct he said Europe. I guess the SEL would be my choice there.

    • pkam

      I trashed. Here’s why.

      1.) Big Joe has a NMC. NO way he comes to Edmonton.
      2.) Petry, Klefbom AND a first for Thornton. Do you realize what you’re saying?
      3.) Sharks probably do that deal… Considering it gives them a shot at Jake and Connor… Bold yes. Stupid. Yes.

      We’d be better to find a trading partner that has a young centre to spare. Maybe a Grigorenko I’m Buffalo. Big centre with questionable history so far, probably has attitude problems but maybe with Yak they find chemistry and could likely be acquired for a Petry + a second or maybe the Petry Klefbom combo you suggested.

      Just my opinion.

      • pkam

        I think it would cost a bit of an overpayment to get Thornton, who as I said, is still gonna put up 70 points the next two years (in my opinion)

        I put a conditional 1st. That means we won’t be giving up a lottery pick. If we make the playoffs, I don’t believe we give up a shot at Connor or Jack. If we don’t make the playoffs, they get a 2nd. So I disagree, I don’t think it’s stupid.

        I’m on par with Grigorenko, just doesn’t make us better today. Another guy to keep an eye out for is Anisimov.

        Thanks for writing the response in a professional manner.

        • yawto

          I’m not arguing with you, I suppose I just don’t think the playoffs are realistic this year. Considering who we have to beat out for a playoff spot, I’d rather focus on the future and giving up good prospects and a roster player for a Thornton who is past his prime doesn’t make a lot of sense.

          The oil could surprise us (pleasantly) and be battling for a playoff spot come March, however I would rather see one more year in the bottom 10 in the league then to be stuck with Big Joe and his 6.75 mil contract with Yak and others to be resigned in the summer. I also don’t think Joe gets us a playoff spot.

          I have bought into patience in the hope that MacTs plan is going to work out in the long term. If it doesn’t I’ll probably … Continue to cheer for the oil because I like the Kool aid we’re all drinking.

  • pkam

    What’s with all these trades to make Yak better?
    Are you saying that Yak doesn’t have the ability to learn the game and make himself better ?
    If he can’t do that why trade away assets in a lost cause?

  • pkam

    Just stop it with the Thorton talk. There is absolutely no way on this planet that the Oilers could A) get Thorton from the sharks without giving up a pile of young ELITE prospects and picks and B) convince Thorton, in the later stages of his career, to waive his NMC to come to a perenial loser in Canada’s north. It so beyond impossible that its a waste of the wear and tear on your keyboard to even type it.

  • pkam

    Flames fan here, I come in peace. Being a hitmen season ticket holder ( humble brag) I was at a family fest with the hitmen yesterday and I was talking with Jake Virtanen about the young stars tournament in Penticton and asked him he was playing. He said no but he was going out, then he asked Greg Chase, who was standing right beside him, if he was in the same boat ( going out but not playing) and I think he said yeah, as in he isn’t playing. He was pretty soft spoken so I could be wrong on that. Just a FYI. Also I think as a 7 th round pick it sure is turnin out great.

  • shanetrain

    WILLIS : Josh Winquist (67games-93points) led Everett last year several points above Khaira . 6 ft.-180 lbs . He also seems to like fighting . He will be on our roster in Penticton but not on our list of “in the system ” . Anything you know about this guy ? Is he better than Khaira ?

    • shanetrain

      Josh Winquist was signed to an AHL deal last year. Not sure if he is still under contract. But because he is on the AHL deal he is not listed on the 50 man list.

      (this is part of the way to answer your question)

  • shanetrain

    Mitch Holmberg led WHL scoring last season as a 20 year old . Spokane Chiefs – 72 games – 62 goals and 56 assists for 118 points . RW , but 5 feet 10 and 175 lbs.. Will Winquist and Holmgren outscore Draisaitl , Khaira , Chase, Roy ,Yakimov , Tkachev and Munoz in Penticton ?

  • yawto

    Man Oh man!!!! Some people want to give up a 25 yr old good younbg defenceman, a 21 yr old very good prospect defenceman and a conditional #1 pick…for a 35 turning 36 yr old??????

    For a POSSIBLE, repeat possible, playoff spot to boot???

    What the hell are those guys thinking…or smoking????????? Or is the guy proposing that either Tambo or related to Tambo.

    Yes Thornton wont come here and, repeat and, he even cannot even help his own far better calibre team (than the Oilers, Canucks, Flames, Jets, Coyoptes)…get to the cup finals and/or win it…OMG!!!

    Petry and Klefbom alone would get a young other player back that’s of the same to better type calibre…and both would command back a top type pick in return at least…like a late #1 pick to very early #2 pick.

    Nope no Thornton for me at that very bad cost…

  • BlazingSaitls

    Completely off topic but in that Draisaitl draft pic I cant help but see Stu Macgreggor as the evil clown/violator from the 90’s movie Spawn. Its absolutely uncanny.