The Edmonton Oilers were thrilled when they took giant centre Bogdan Yakimov 83rd overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. HOwever, he has not developed into a necessary asset for the team so far.
Yakimov suited up for one NHL game with Edmonton in 2014-15 but then went down to the AHL to play with the Oklahoma City Barons. In 57 games, he finished with 12 goals and 28 points and was a plus-7. While his numbers weren’t that of a top prospect, they were solid and showed promise as he continued to work toward his goals of the NHL.
The following season, Yakimov started the year Bakersfield Condors in 2015-16, recording five goals and 15 points through 36 games. After that, he left for the KHL on a loan to Neftekhimik Nizhnekasmk, where he finished the year with just three goals and four points in 11 games.
He remained overseas this season too, but was lacklustre with his KHL club, only producing three goals and 11 points through 50 games. He also played one game with the VHL (somewhat like the KHL’s minor league) with the Ariada Volzhsk.
Yakimov’s Future in Edmonton
With Yakimov playing KHL hockey and putting up low totals, it is hard to predict his future with the Oilers, though he still does show promise.
The 6-foot-5, 231-pound centre is a big, physical two-way player who also has great hands and playmaking ability. He also takes great care of the puck and has a strong vision for the game, and he is also a hard player to match up against.
However, he is not the best skater and also doesn’t put up consistent numbers, even at the lower levels. His lack of production, as well as his need to further develop and build on his offensive edge, makes it unlikely that he will reach the NHL soon.
Still, Yakimov is only 22, and he still has plenty of game left in him. If he returns to North America and has a good training camp, I expect him to see time in Bakersfield, but if he doesn’t put up a strong, solid performance through the preseason, he will likely return to Russia.