Kicking off the top 10 for the second time in a row is Bogdan Yakimov. This spot also kicks off the "Players with Real NHL Potential" section of the count down (especially if you are a big centre).
It really looks like we're getting close to a consensus on Yakimov in the #10 spot on this list. Eight of the voting members had him at 10 and no one had him below 13 (one of which is ruskie hater).
Over the past couple weeks we have had a nice look at Yakimov playing with fellow Russian and star of the next hobbit movie Vladimir Tkachev. The two have looked very good together and it makes my imagination run wild thinking of an all Russian line for the Oilers in the future. The Oilers have also taken steps to make sure that English is the only language spoken within the team.
We see each other every day, we practice together. If he has any problem, I’m always helping him. By the way, the team took the right decision limiting the time he can spend with me: this way he won’t speak Russian all the time and will be forced to speak English, and this will help him a lot at this point of his career. Not long ago we went to a Katy Perry concert.
That is Nail Yakupov in an interview with the Business Gazeta talking about Yakimov (Translation of the Interview)
Anyway, back to reality. Yakimov played last season for Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik of the KHL (the same team that Nail Yakupov played for during the lockout) and posted decent numbers for the 33 games he appeared in. In his draft+1 season, Yakimov went 7-5-12 playing in league of men.
As much as he impressed last season in the KHL and has done similarly this pre-season, don't expect to see Yakimov start the season in the NHL. Yakimov will probably start the 2014-15 season with the OKC Barons adjusting to the North American style of hockey but as the season wears on and injuries set I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a call up.
Yakimov has the tools to be a productive NHL player and his size of 6'5" & 200 lbs definitely helps his cause. Hopefully his pre-season and KHL numbers translate to the NHL but only time will tell.