Patience, development and Bogdan Yakimov

Yakimov, Bogdan2

Bogdan Yakimov is a massive centre who had an impressive training camp. How have things gone since then?

The Third Round of the 2013 NHL Draft

Yakimov, Bogdan

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

NHL teams selected 22 forwards in the third round of the 2013 Draft. The Oilers had two selections and went to Russia for both of them, taking Yakimov and winger Anton Slepyshev. Yakimov’s in the AHL and Slepyshev is still overseas; how does that compare to players selected by other teams?

  • Still in junior or college (13): Yan-Pavel Laplante, Adam Tambellini, Nick Baptiste, Tyrell Goulbourne, Ryan Kujawinski, John Hayden, Taylor Cammarata, Jake Guentzel, Anthony Duclair (after 18-game NHL cameo), Carter Verhaeghe, Jimmy Lodge, Cole Cassels, Oliver Bjorkstrand.
  • Playing in Europe (4): Pavel Buchnevich, Mattias Janmark, Anton Slepyshev, Peter Cehlarik.
  • Playing in the AHL (5): Connor Crisp, Kurtis Gabriel, Bogdan Yakimov, Sven Andrighetto, J.C. Lipon.

It’s easy to forget that this is only the second year post-draft and that the majority of these players are still in the amateur ranks; only five of the 22 selections are playing professional hockey in North America at the moment. Of those five, where does Yakimov rank in terms of scoring?

  • Sven Andrighetto: 25GP, 9-9-18 (0.720 points/game)
  • Bogdan Yakimov: 36GP, 6-10-16 (0.444 points/game)
  • J.C. Lipon: 41GP, 1-10-11 (0.268 points/game)
  • Kurtis Gabriel: 31GP, 2-2-4 (0.129 points/game)
  • Connor Crisp: 21GP, 1-1-2 (0.095 points/game)

Yakimov fares pretty well here. Aside from Andrighetto – an AHL rookie last year and the latest phenomenal pick by Montreal’s Trevor Timmins (at some point an NHL team is going to make Timmins a G.M. and if his track record is anything to go by he’ll be awfully good at it) – no player has done a better job of putting up points than Yakimov. He’s also clear of the numbers posted by Oilers 2010 picks Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton at the same age.


Todd Nelson

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Nor is Yakimov’s scoring flat; he’s progressing as the season has gone on. Yakimov has played 36 games for the Oklahoma City Barons, so I’ve divided his season-to-date into quarters because the math was easy:

  • First quarter: 9GP, 1-1-2, 17 shots
  • Second quarter: 9GP, 0-5-5, 13 shots
  • Third quarter: 9GP, 1-2-3, 25 shots
  • Fourth quarter: 9GP, 4-2-6, 20 shots

That’s not definitive by any stretch – we’re looking at a small run of games in each case and we don’t know how Todd Nelson and Gerry Fleming have used the player. What we do know is that Yakimov is shooting the puck with far greater frequency (45 shots in his last 18 games as opposed to just 30 in his first 18) and that the increase in shooting volume has coincided with him scoring more goals.


Craig MacTavish7

The Edmonton Oilers are not a patient franchise, regardless of how often they preach patience to their fans. Here’s what general manager Craig MacTavish said at the start of October when the Oilers made their final cuts of training camp:

The downside today is that we lost a lot of size, and a lot of it up the middle, but it’s just not time for those guys yet. Bogdan [Yakimov] was close; we entertained thoughts of keeping him. Jujhar [Khaira] was very close, we entertained thoughts of keeping him. We need these guys to develop and get here quickly. Because of the performance level of those two, we’re less likely to add somebody that would be filler in the centre ice position. If we could add somebody that’s going to have a big impact and fill a lot of areas of need we’d be open to doing that, but we’re less likely to do something as a band-aid solution.

Khaira, a rookie pro, has not distinguished himself in Oklahoma City so far this year; he has six points in 36 contests. He does seem to be progressing somewhat; after a 20-game pointless run he now has one goal and two assists in his last five contests and like Yakimov he’s shooting the puck more. His training camp performance was a mirage, at least if the Barons’ coaching staff can be trusted; he needs more time.

Yakimov too should probably be put in ink on the Barons’ 2015-16 roster to start the year. The Oilers tried to push things this season – when they needed a centre early they brought Yakimov up to play the Kings rather than recalling Anton Lander – but this is probably a case where Edmonton needs to fight its baptism-by-fire instincts. Yakimov seems to be improving as the year goes by, but he’s not scoring a point-per-game and really making an impossible to ignore case. Another year in the minors will allow him to continue rounding out his game; importantly too it will also mean that the Oilers have some depth at the centre position, a luxury the team hasn’t had in quite some time.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Yakimov is a good fit for need, given that he’s a) a centre b) 6’5” and 232 pounds and c) a guy who can contribute on both sides of the puck. But the Oilers should be patient with him, waiting until he forces his way into the NHL rather than forcing him into the league too early.


    • Dwayne Roloson 35

      Sounds like a smart plan for developing both big centers so who plays center for the oilers next year? Will drai really be ready by then? Do they go out and try to get a legit second line center? Will this years pick really be ready for the big time next season?

      • Joy S. Lee

        The thing I’m most curious about Draisaitl is that if you look through his history from the time he was about 12, he always played against older players and always excelled in his second year of doing so. I think the arrows are up on this kid, and he’ll be much better than he was through much of this year. Seems to be a fast learner/adapter who adapted massively on his second crack at it, and his numbers really speak to that for every league he played in.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    After the Oilers rectify their mistake and draft Tkachev, then there could be the makings of an awesome, albeit inexperienced Russian line in the making.

    Tkachev, Yakimov, Yakupov. Man that line would be fun to watch.

    Here’s hoping the Oilers please please please actually learn from their mistakes and hire the band-aid they were so vehemently against. Get Roy under contract for 1 more year, go into next year with at least 3 NHL centres, and then 3 no vets all actually trying to earn the 3rd spot.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    6’5 and 232 has me salivating. I really hope he turns into an nhl player. Looking good IMO so far.

    Apparently slepyshev is doing good in the khl so thats good too.

  • Mantastic

    Lander being recalled has been a major factor in Yakimov’s increase offensive numbers. 1C – Williams, 2C was Lander, 3C was Yakimov and 4C was Khaira. since recall, Yakimov and Khaira have moved up a slot and Yakimov has been playing with much better wingers (Iiro in particular).

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    History is not on the side of the Oilers. They’ll screw it up. Along with Nurse in the NHL next year rather than the AHL. Took them 40 games to realize Draisaitl should be in the dub, where as most FANS said send him back after 9. *slaps forehead*

    • DonEnrico

      Haha pretty funny line.

      Well Pouliot signed for 5 years so maybe Yakimov make the team in 2 years.

      With Nikitin still around then, Oilers can have list starting line up

      Yakupov – Yakimov – Pouliot on fowards
      Nikitin – Klefbom on defense
      Fasth in goal

      We call it Ya-Ki-Pou-Tin-Bom-Fasth

      or FART line it will not smell bad but it will stink the other team bad.

      Utility line for power play

      Teddy Purcell, Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, Rob Klinkhammer with 1 Dman Darnell Nurse with Fasth in goal.


      Many other line combos


  • Mantastic

    Just read lowetides article.

    If Nikitan is part of this organization in anyway shape or form , i will
    throw up, I swear if i could quit smoking i could play better than
    this schmuck. You get paid to do what exactly ? Go away Nikitan.

    Anyone remember once this year where you have said, wow – good game
    Nikitan. Didnt think so. dump him what ever it takes. there has to be
    better. Don’t give me that injured crap either, He is crap , take Howson
    with you Nik.

    End Rant

  • toprightcorner

    “entertaining thoughts of keeping them”????

    That is a scary thought, hopefully just lip service.

    Yakimov needs to stay in the AHL until he is a successful 1st line centre. At that point he can probably play 3rd line in the NHL.

    Definitely needs to spend entire next year and at least half of the following year in the AHL. Luckily Leo and this years pick will likely force Yakimov to stay in the AHL.

    As far as Khaira goes, he is probably 3 years away from being an NHL forward, likely on the wing.

    The Oilers need to start waiting until AHL players are just too good for that league before making the jump.

  • toprightcorner

    I wouldnt mind seeing Yakimov, Oesterle, Pakarinen, and possibly Khaira getting 4 or 5 games in the nhl this season..give those kids a taste of nhl ice and money. Marincin should also get another 10 or so games this year..
    Nothing wrong with giving the prospects a little taste..just dont depend on them..yet.
    Oilers focus is mostly on the draft for the rest of this season (as MacT said)..may as well see what they got in their mid level prospects and get as high of a pick as possible..

  • toprightcorner

    Very good article. The longer these players develop the better off the team is but the Oilers don’t always have that luxury. MacT doesn’t want band aids but that is exactly what we needed so we could leave prospects in AHL. I sure hope Nurse will be ready next season because it’s hard to watch Nikitin play.

    • pkam

      Aren’t Nikitin and Aulie bandaid players so we don’t have to rush Kelfbom and Marincin? Do you expect better players are willing to come to Edmonton for a year or 2?

  • camdog

    “Because of the performance level of those two, we’re less likely to add somebody that would be filler in the centre ice position. If we could add somebody that’s going to have a big impact and fill a lot of areas of need we’d be open to doing that, but we’re less likely to do something as a band-aid solution.”

    Another one of those comments from our GM where he says he’s willing to sacrifice an entire season, because he doesn’t want to provide a veteran/band-aid solution because he’s got kids in the minors that are 2-3 years away from being big league ready.

    And then when the season’s already over Mact goes out and gets a “band-aid solution” in the version of Roy… It just doesn’t add up.

      • camdog

        The Oilers are so scared about the cap and how much the young kids are going to make that they won’t even try and bring in a veteran to bide them time. It’s the same reason why they won’t give Petry the money, because his contract may run into a year when Klefbomb and Nurse are going to get their big money. It’s also the same reason why Mact got rid of Horcoff too early.

        It’s an interesting management philosophy to say the least…

  • Anton CP

    “The Edmonton Oilers are not a patient franchise, regardless of how often they preach patience to their fans.”

    I do agree with you on that, Oilers management are soft and easily cave in under pressure from fans. Impatience is one of the major reason why Oilers have failed in the last 8+ years. It is also why Leafs have been failing for as long as the hockey history. That being said, they should not kept Eakins for as long as he has been here. Eakins did not have this team heading toward the right direction so it will only cause more damage than actually helping the team if he stays here for a long period of time. Hiring Eakins was actually a sign of impatience, MacT believed that the golden boy will carry this team to promise land. Well, he did carry this team to promise land of McEichel.

  • The article seems to be saying its not if but when will Yakimov play in the NHL. Wow talk about of jumping the gun. 3 years from now Yakimov may just as easily be on his way back to mother Russia. I hope he turns out to be one of the few 3rd rounders who beats the odds and is productive in the NHL, but the odds are against him.

  • Never give up hope!!

    I don’t know what the fascination is with MacT and these Russian players he drafts…outside of Ovie and Malkin I’m not sure I’d take any of them on my team. As for Tkachev, small skilled forward, I’ll take Johnny Gaudreau all day long!

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    “Yakimov too should probably be put in ink on the Barons’ 2015-16 roster to start the year.”

    Considering the Barons will cease operations after this season, let’s hope Yakimov plays for another team next year. 🙂

  • JW:

    Boghdan Yakimov:
    Played 9 of the first 14 games.

    He played 7 of the 9 games with Moroz; Gazdic; Pinz; R HAM; Pitlick. 0G 0A -1

    He played 2 games with C Ham and Miller. 1 EVG 1EVA -1

    Fom Nov 21 on he played 27 games

    3 gm we are not sure who he played with.

    9 Gm with R HAm; KHaira; Moroz; Ford 0G 0A -5

    15 GM with C Ham; Miller; Pak; Winquist 4EVg 1PPg 9 EVA +13

    So in 17 gm with C Hamilton; Miller; Pakirinen; Winquist 5 EVG 1PPG 10 EVA +12. .88 EVP/gm

  • Fresh Mess: So you are calling a 6’5″ 232lb 20 year old forward who scored at a .21+ G/GM pace @19 in Russia like Semin; Ovechkin; Malkin; Tarasenko; Yakipov; Slepyshev.

    A player who is @ 20yr .88 EVP/60 with C hamilton; Pkirinen; Miller; Ford in the AHL.

    a Teen Idol.

    Watch video of his release and location of shots.

  • Slepyshev must come over next season! I have seen him play live at the Spengler Cup and he was definitly one of the best players in the tournament! Because of his success there, it seems he is getting more ice time with better linemates now (Hartikainen and Pihlström) and the results are there, 4 goals in 4 games last week. He already played with Yakimov in the past, so there may be some chemistry!