yakimov williams

In what has been a strange year for him, Bogdan Yakimov currently plies his trade for Neftekhimik of the KHL. He has played in six games, has an assist and is averaging 13:36 and is dominating the FO circle (63.5%). Question: Will we ever see him again?

yakimov transaction

At the end of December, Bogdan Yakimov left the Oilers NA organization and headed to the KHL. At the time, the story seemed a little vague—although Jim Matheson did supply some details:

  • Matheson: The 21-year-old centre, one of the Oilers’ better
    prospects, had an out-clause in his Oilers organization contract to go
    back to Russia if he chose, and he reportedly did so at the behest of
    his father. The Oilers didn’t want him leaving and neither apparently
    did his agent. They retain his playing rights
    . Source

Oilers fans are familiar with players leaving for Europe when their contracts elapse (Teemu Hartikainen), and of course the organization famously walked Toni Rajala when the young skill winger requested the opportunity to go back to Europe and play for substantial dollars. In this case, it sounds like there was a family influence. Yakimov has been quoted on the subject of his father before:

  • Yakimov: ”My parents are everything for me. I’m constantly talking about
    hockey with my father. He isn’t a hockey player, but he gives me good
    advice. For example he always tells me who to follow if I need to learn
    something new. He also remembers how I played in the past and we compare
    it with how I play now. If I do something good he helps me in turning
    it into a habit. He seen years and years of my practices and games,
    therefore he understands hockey very well. We watch every game and we
    try to analyze what should I work on. When he or my mama are near me, I
    feel much better. Only that I don’t discuss games with mama, of course


I spoke to Tom Lynn from Veritas Hockey this week about this subject in a universal sense. When a player jumps back from North American pro (NHL or AHL) is that the end of the line for the player in the organization? How does the industry view this?

  • Lynn: ”I think Yakimov’s situation was an accomplished Russian player spending a second year in the minors, same thing that happened with Viktor Tikhonov.”

The player agent also said Yakimov could easily return come the fall:

  • Lynn: ”There will be changes made in the Oilers organization I’m sure, after seeing what Peter Chiarelli did when he took over in Boston, so he may look in the situation in July and say, we’ll give it another chance. I’m not saying he is coming back, just saying it is completely up in the air and you can’t read the tea leaves on that one.”


Yakimov is a big forward (6.05, 232) who has been able to put up crooked numbers in the AHL (76GP, 15-20-35, 159 shots). Peter Chiarelli’s Boston (and Providence teams) tended to have large bodies who could play, and Yakimov—although unlikely to play a feature role for the Oilers—could be a future role player on a Chiarelli team in Edmonton. The Nugent-Hopkins injury may well have been the opening needed, but that opportunity was not available to the player because he was in the KHL.

I think the mere fact Edmonton hasn’t walked him—as they did with Rajala—is an indication of their interest in retaining him. I once wrote about walking Rajala as an indication that the Oilers hadn’t learned the lesson of ‘get good players, keep good players’ and the return of Yakimov in the fall might indicate a change in the weather.

My guess is we see him again. Thoughts?

  • .

    I say potential talent or not I don’t like the cry-baby approach. Hendricks left nut ( or is it the right?) has shown more character than Yankitoff so far. ‘Daddy’s calling me’, okay then stay home for freak sakes. The Oil don’t need another soft whiner. Go find another Kassian or two. Those are the types of players the Oil need.

    • CaptainLander

      Out of curiosity, have you ever spent long periods (years) living in another country where you did not know a lot of the local language? If you have or do and never gave into homesickness, good for you. I have an it is very tough at times. But I am sure you are as tough as Hendricks nuts.

      • ChillyPepper

        I spent 4 years living abroad and you are right, it is very very difficult if the native tongue is not your native tongue. Everything you do, every where you go, you are a foreigner. It’s nothing like an all inclusive week long vacation.

        I wouldn’t say someone is a whiner because they have difficulties adapting, I would call them human. But until you can empathize with them, you will still form an opinion… even though opinions are one of the lowest forms of intelligence. Opinions don’t require you to have understanding or accountability. Empathy requires you to put away your ego and live in another’s world. Check your ego at the door and ask yourself if you could truly handle a foreign country.

    • A Little Less Concerned

      Gonna play devils advocate here.

      Have you ever moved from the city you were born in? Or the Province, or how bout the country? Now imagine moving to another continent. A place where almost nobody speaks your native tongue. You have no family. An your friends are friends because you play a game together, not because you have much else in common. Now to put that in context, you can still be doing what you love, in a place you feel comfortable, so why not? Unless the NHL is you own personal final goal, why bother?

      It’s not hard to see why some people would go home. It’s not a whiner attitude in my opinion, it’s rather a thought that the NHL isn’t so important to him that he would rather play where he is comfortable.

      I don’t like a whiner either. But rather than asking if the oilers need a whiner, maybe ask if they could use a 6’5″ 232LB center that can put up points.

      I’m thinking they could.

        • ubermiguel

          Yes the business of grown men playing a game for millions of dollars, to increase the wealth of men with billions of dollars is gravely serious. Anonymous fanatics with conjured cyber names do have time for your trifling inquiries. Especially when our millionaires and billionaires are clearly not as adept at their chosen hobby as another cities millionaires.

  • Strottie

    Speaking of sailing on.
    The oilers tied their future with BIG long term contracts to Hall Eberle and Hopkins. Lets see how that has worked
    Since 2010 when Hall was drafted 1st overall, 2008 Eberle 21st overall, and Hopkins 2011 1st overall. Well the results are in.
    On this date over the last 6 years (excluding the lockout) here are the comparitive number wins

    2010 16 wins
    2011 14 wins
    2012 17 wins
    2014 15 wins
    2015 12 wins
    2016 12 wins
    And this is after 48 games! They aren’t who we thought they were.
    They are what the results show they are, LOSERS.

    • ChillyPepper

      yup, very well deserved reputation. Lets blame kids for the failures of management. I’m embarrassed for you, because i know you’re to dumb to understand how stupid this comment is

    • I think you’re correct. there’s no way any of those players should be in the NHL. The only reason any of them are in the league is because they former management in Edmonton had absolutely no ability to identify talent. I think if we could go back to those drafts, Hall, Eberle, and RNH would have all been available in the 4th or 5th round. For some reason, the Oilers ignored all the information out there that suggested those players would never be anything but borderline fringe NHL’s. None of them are really capable of playing at the NHL level. Right?

    • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

      Let’s see.

      Friedman was (very) recently quoted “History has shown that Edmonton made a very wise move signing those guys (Hall, RNH, Eberle) to those contracts.”

      Makes me curious as to what your credentials are.

      • Concur

        The guess was that these contracts would become value contracts because the three would continue to improve.

        I’d say with Hall being in the top-10 in scoring, that’s become a value contract.

        Eberle hit his statistical peak before his big deal. He has skill, but it’s not a value contract.

        With the Nuge trade rumors, I’ve read more than once one of the stumbling blocks is Nuge’s contract. $6m is a lot for a centre that has never broke 56 points. Nuge fans will come back with his two-way play and leadership. It isn’t a terrible contract but it’s not value.

    • Chet.

      Seems Darnit! Met ulltrathin Trojan I mean zigzags on the playing field of a juniour highschool in N.E. Calgary today.Ultra thin mentioned how much fun he had pissing off Oil fans and suggested Darnit! Try it.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    No one is kicking themself harder than bogdan I would guess. I hope his dad has his actual best interests at heart and emotion is left out of his career path. Look at Lindros and see what a fathers influence can have on a professional career.

  • freelancer

    Had the pleasure recently of sitting next to an Oilers scout at a bar (before Yakimov moved back). Got chatting about a number of players with Bogdan being one of them. He’s a guy that definitely excited the organization with his potential.

  • Strottie

    It bothers me a lot to see comments about these “Ragin’ Russians” and how the Oilers should stick to NA talent when it comes to drafting policy. CaptainLander hit the nail on the head – at the end of the day Bogdan was homesick. Kassian is battling addiction issues, which makes him redeemable, but a kid barely removed from his teens missing home? Inexcusable eh? Cut him some slack.

    Playing away from home, even for junior players, is difficult. I can’t fathom what Yakimov must feel playing so far away from home. The way timezones work, even a phone call may be hard to arrange. You’ve all seen his draft video – he needed a translator. And you expect him within a year to be fluent enough in English to get by playing in the AHL without feeling like an outsider? That’s a tall order.

    The bright side here is that we still have his rights and he may want to come back. This could just be a case of needing to go home and get his head back in it before going all in. All the best to Boogy Yak. Still hope to see him in oilers silks in the future!

  • TheDonkeyJohnson

    If by chance, Yakimov thinks he’s treading water with the Oil, why not use him as trade fodder? There has to be a shake up of epically, monumental proportions for next season.

  • Aendayana777

    I just hope one day our beloved hockey team learns the true value of asset management.
    On the real important note of the day; one day closer to McDavid

  • TheDonkeyJohnson

    I’m guessing that in Yakimovs heart and mind he SAW and FELT how the NAS works. He may have heard this from scrivens speaking of his 52 save shutout. This probability brought him home to mother Russia, where he will hone his skills working out with the Soviet camp. He will return a much better player, and be a very effective role player. Chia Pete likes a heavy team, 232 is a big dog

    • ubermiguel

      Bogdan has not burned his bridges…he has simply mined them.

      IMHO he should follow his comfort zone.

      Bogdan should have been on the NHL Roster, he showed well,he wasnt considered ,after seeing Leon be ping-ponged back and forth who wouldnt learn.Watching Nails experiences likely didnt help.

      I would suggest that as Nail goes so goes Bogdan as far as the Oilers are concerned.

      For the love of all things Bacon dont let Burke feed him power forward dollars and promise to keep his word where the Oilers didnt or we might end up seeing an NHL top5 faceoff winning power forward CENTERMAN breaking bones on McDavid,Nuge,AND Leon…….NAS said to bring Bogdan in on the wing long ago specificlly because of his impacts on the faceoff specificlly on Leons wing…. and to acclimate he and Nail to supporting Dre’s backhand boardwork….LONGGG AGO .

      For cripes sakes…..dont let Burke near this guy?

      The sky is dark and the clouds are heavy with “Copper Rain” ready to fall.

      Every Oilers Fan needs to make a Copper and Blue Cloud-Buster and put it outside ASAP… can find them in the aisle right next to the Tin Foil Hats….just google Cloud-Buster….lol.

      If anyone would like we can post DIY instructions on how to build different kinds of different sizes to help out, BUILT IN OILERS COLORS.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I think there needs to a better transition plan in place going from Russian Junior hockey to the NHL…….not really sure what this is because I do not know a thing about the Russian system.

    In NA we call this the AHL…….if I were doing the drafting the first thing I would do is find out which hockey players truly want to come to the NHL, and then only draft those type of players. The better plan is to draft Russian hockey players like Nail, who come over early and learn how to play NA hockey in juniors.

    If I’m not mistaken we drafted him ( Bogdan and Anton) in the latter rounds of the draft so not a real big loss here. I do not blame him one bit for being homesick and wanting to be closer to his family…….we are all human after all!

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Will we see Yakimov again? My guess is that we will. Peter Chiarilli is such a great breath of fresh air in comparison to previous management. Did anyone never think we would have Zack Kassian on our roster? Look how he is working out. I think Chiarilli is willing to give a guy with lots of potential, and can benefit the team a chance. Peter is in it to win it. Hockey is a business to him and unlike the previous management, decisions are not personal. Lots of players can have issues, but I think that Chiarilli is willing to not judge people as long as they are a team first type of player. Issues can be dealt with and left off the ice.

    • Aendayana777

      My guess is that if we dont see him in Oilers silks he will be wearing fLames red and breaking Oilers bones.

      An IMPACT PLAYER ,a 6’5 …230lb+ CENTER…SKILLED…FAST…we couldnt find room for him on the Wing?

  • camdog

    This article would go hand in hand with the story posted by Robin not too long ago. Why pay to read a story at the Edmonton Journal when you can just copy the good stuff and post it here for free…

  • BlazingSaitls

    Has anyone let Roman Horak know that Dallas Eakins is gone now? Things are different-ish.

    Do Oilers still own his rights?
    Why would he want to play in the gulag hockey league?
    He had a so-so year in the KHL this year. Worse than his numbers were last year.

    2014-15 Chekhov Vityaz KHL 53gp 18g 13a 31pts -3

    2015-16 Chekhov Vityaz KHL 50gp 10g 13a 23pts -9

    The Oilers could use a skilled center right about now. I have no clue if Oilers still own his rights or not.

    Probably just wishful thinking. But that’s all I got nowadays.

  • giddy

    Lander has two points and has a salary that would be no hit to our cap if he was sent down AND Yakimov, still did not get called up. Your actions are speaking loudly.

    $62,000 a year in the AHL or $1M in the KHL …. hmmmm

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    With a F/O % like that I don’t completely understand why Yakimov isn’t here and Lander is.

    If the only difference is that Lander can PK, I have to believe it comes down to a trust issue then.

    Personally I go for the bigger body with offensive upside on my 4th line instead of Lander.

  • Chet.

    Late to the party, but I remember reading somewhere that Bogdan wanted to go back to Russia as he felt it would provide him with a better opportunity to make the World Cup roster for Russia.

    Can’t blame the guy for wanting to do something that is important to him. Just hope he comes back next year.

  • KACaribou

    Here is the running popularity totals of FN compared to ON on the last 5 articles written, in regard to comments, which is why most people come here.

    Everyone here likes Analytics right?!

    FN: 15, 19, 7, 1, 48 = 90

    ON: 42, 94, 70, 24, 1 = 231

    That’s a beatdown folks. BTW the 1 on both were the thrilling Roundups. What is FN doing wrong?

    • ubermiguel

      It just doesn’t have the same following, most flames fans go to CalgaryPuck and Flamesfrom80feet, check out CalgaryPuck on a game day, 3-4 hundred posts….

  • ubermiguel

    The kid chose family over hockey, I can’t fault that; I’ve turned down career advancement to stay close to my parents and grandparents as they get older. For all we know someone close to him is ailing.

  • A Little Less Concerned

    Good choice for Bogdan. I would be happy to see him get his grove on in the KHL. There should be a roster spot for him next fall.

    I remember seeing him blast one and get the rebound out of the air for a goal. (Bears / Rookies)

    Size, skill, speed. Love it.