AN ARTIST NAMED TKACHEV

Using ice and the game of hockey as his canvas, Russian winger Vladimir Tkachev turned heads during a very brief opportunity in the QMJHL. Among those impressed? The Edmonton Oilers.

PAINT BY NUMBERS

rom tkachev

These are CHL projections from the (now defunct) Extra Skater. I’ve borrowed (lifted) this from a tweet August 13 by Rom from Oilers Rig. As you can see, despite playing 20 games Tkachev showed extremely well—he’s in some insane territory for a guy who passed through the draft.

IT AIN’T EASY BEING GREEN!

neil hodge

When the Edmonton Oilers named Bob Green director of Amateur scouting one year ago, he had a very specific chore:

  • “he will work closely with the Oilers’ hockey operations department
    and amateur scouting staff and will assist with identifying and
    recruiting NCAA, CHL and select European free agents”

My mind instantly went to college free agents, guys like Justin Schultz, Taylor Fedun, Mark Arcobello, et cetera. I also thought about 20-year old junior grads, men like Mitch Holmberg and Josh Winquist. I didn’t think about CHL teenagers like Vladimir Tkachev, who passed through the most recent draft, and should be eligible for the 2015 edition.

Unless.

Unless an NHL team invites him to training camp and then signs him. I’m no CBA expert, but the thrust of the issue comes in this portion of the collective bargaining agreement (hat-tip to Bank Shot at Lowetide blog):

  • 8.9 Eligibility for Play in the League.

No Player shall be eligible for play in the League unless he:

(a) had been claimed in the last Entry Draft, or was ineligible for claim under

Section 8.4; or

(b) had been eligible for claim in the last Entry Draft, but was unclaimed, and:

(i) had played hockey in North America the prior season and was age

20 or older at the time of the last Entry Draft, and signed an SPC

which was signed and registered with the League between the

conclusion of the Entry Draft and commencement of the next NHL

Season.

(ii) had played hockey in North America the prior season and was
under age 20 at the time of the last Entry Draft, and signed an SPC
which was signed and registered with the League between the
conclusion of the Entry Draft and commencement of the Major
Juniors season (except that if such Player had signed an NHL tryout
form, which was signed and registered with the League during
the aforesaid time period, then the deadline for signing and
registering with the League an SPC with such try-out Club shall be
the commencement of the NHL Season).

Hannah Stuart of the Hockey Writers picks up the story from there:

  • After realizing he’d been passed over, I remember hoping that some team would take a chance on him like the Carolina Hurricanes
    did on Sergei Tolchinsky last year. Tolchinsky went undrafted, but was
    later signed to an entry-level deal by Carolina, and ended up having a
    terrific 2013-2014 season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, putting
    up 91 points in 66 games. Now Edmonton has the opportunity to take a
    similar route wi
    th Tkachev.

Source

HOW GOOD IS HE?

Beyond the numbers above, which are splendid (in a small sample size), what are we looking at in Tkachev?

  • RED LINE REPORT: Exceptionally skilled, but diminutive winger. Tiny and does not have a big frame to fill out, but he’s incredibly elusive and instinctive around the offensive end. Super fast hands and could stickhandle in a phone booth. Skill level is 1st round calibre, but small frame is a major concern. 

WILL THEY SIGN HIM?

No idea. The young man has a chance, and Edmonton has an interesting prospect. As a longtime observer of Oilers procurement, this move represents real innovation. In this way, there are two things to celebrate: a management team aggressively looking to make the team better, and a young Russian winger with substantial talent.