Bogdan Yakimov is selected as the player to kick off our Top 25 Under 25. Our staff was pretty close with our rankings on him.
Standing 6’5 and 232 pounds, Yakimov is a giant centerman, with a scoring touch. He was selected 83rd overall in the 2013 NHL entry draft. He is exceptional in regards to positional play and anticipation. His skating however, is a major detriment.
What have you done for me lately?:
Unfortunately, not a whole lot of anything. After suiting up for one NHL game in the 2014-2015 season he spent the rest of the year in Oklahoma putting up a very respectable 15 points in 36 games. In 2016 he was loaned to the same team he played for prior to coming to North America, KHL’s HC Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik. While there he scored 3 goals and 11 points in 50 games.
So what about the future?:
Honestly, I wouldn’t get too excited. He’s a good player but to be a solid NHLer you have to be a lot better than good. His skills are also not suited for a checking role so he would have to beat out a top 6 forward to be useful. There are at least 24 reasons not to expect that.
His size will always be an asset, and maybe there is a coach who will look passed his tortoise skating, but it doesn’t look good at the moment. I expect him to give an honest effort in training camp this year and again be loaned to the KHL. He doesn’t seem to have an interest in playing for the Condors when Russia is a viable option. This is his last year under contract for the Oilers and I would bet that unless he wows us all in camp, this will be the last we see of him. Although he would be great for Bakersfield, I’ll never hold it against a player for going where he’s most comfortable. Especially if his $70k salary goes a bit further in Russia than it would in California. Beyond this year it remains doubtful that he’ll be offered a contract.