Bogdan Yakimov has flown the Bakersfield Condors’ coop.
Posted (and Tweeted) early Monday by sites including Elite Prospects and Sport-Express’ Igor Eronko, Yakimov has been “loaned” by the Edmonton Oilers to the KHL’s Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk which sits eighth in the KHL’s East Division, four points above Barys in the place race.
“Loan” was specifically highlighted in the Elite Prospects posting but it remains to be seen if it truly is a loan, like Eetu Laurikainen’s return to Finland from Bakersfield earlier this season. In Laurikainen’s case, that being the third wheel behind Laurent Brossoit and Ben Scrivens facilitated the wise move to get the prospect playing time.
The “loan” angle became suspicious by the revelation in Eronko’s follow-up post with comment from Neftekhimik’s head coach Vladimir Krikunov
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) December 21, 2015
The “loan” sounds more like the end of things for Yakimov and the Oilers organization. It’s a surprising twist of fate for a legit prospect in the role the Oilers’ covet – a big centre (6-foot-5, 230 lbs.) with skills.
That said, Yakimov hasn’t put up the numbers expected of him. He’s missed six games due to injury but 3-4-7 in 20 GP is not the kind of production the Oilers and Condors were hoping for.
Watching Yakimov over the past three months, it’s clear to see there’s a definite skillset. He often looked quite strong on the cycle and he seemed well aware of defensive responsibilities. Yakimov certainly displayed some chemistry when playing alongside Anton Slepyshev as their creativity was evident on various, albeit limited, occasions.
Yakimov, the Oilers’ third-round pick (83rd overall) in 2013, started the season as the pivot between Ryan Hamilton and Tyler Pitlick, and then was between Jujhar Khaira and Braden Christoffer. When Slepyshev returned to Bakersfield, the Russians were paired with Christoffer and then Hamilton. For Saturday’s outdoor game, Yakimov was separated from Slephyshev and lined up with Pitlick and Marco Roy.
Injuries and promotions resulted in the fluctuating line partners but they had an effect throughout the lineup. Yakimov wasn’t the lone man seeing rookies and/or ECHL callups on his line. At some point, personal accountability needs to be part of the equation.
There were no obvious signs Yakimov was having difficulty with the adjustment to life in North America, but when you’re point total is the same as Josh Winquist who has only played eight games and you’re behind the likes of Kyle Platzer, Jordan Oesterle, and Kale Kessy, there’s clearly some sort of issue.