This past season was the year of players with the same last name for the Oklahoma City Barons. We saw Hamiltons, Millers, and plenty of Jones, but next season is shaping up to be the season of similarly named players within the Edmonton Oilers organization. News broke yesterday that the Oilers have signed 2013 third round draft pick, Bogdan Yakimov, adding to the center depth for next season.
Yakimov joins the Oilers after splitting last season between Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk of the KHL and Reaktor Nizhnekamsk of the second-tier MHL in Russia. Drafted 83rd overall in last year’s draft, Yakimov adds a very big body to the lineup with his 6’4″ and 220 pound frame.
In 35 games with Neftekhimik this season, Yakimov scored 13 points, seven goals and six assists. His faceoff numbers last season compared to the NHL, his 57.1 win percentage would put him in the Top 15 as he won 28 of his 49 faceoffs taken. This all comes as Yakimov averaged about 13-14 shifts per game, and averaging nearly 10 minutes of ice time per game. In seven games with Reaktor (five regular season, two postseason), he had a point per game, scoring four goals and three assists.
As an assistant captain for the Russian WJC team last season, Yakimov scored a goal and an assist in seven games for the squad.
The center depth chart is certainly shaping up to be pretty interesting next season as the Oilers have Mark Arcobello, Jujhar Khaira, Will Acton, and Travis Ewanyk all signed, plus the possibility of re-signing one Anton Lander. Should Lander come back, I have to imagine he and Arcobello battle for an NHL spot, but that remains to be seen.
One thing to watch for as well, the Oilers seem to like signing Russians in pairs. I have to wonder if there isn’t another signing waiting in the wings to join the organization next year as well.