There is, offered the 19-year-old prodigious prospect, still some room for more muscle mass. But at six-foot-four, 220-plus pounds, Bogdan Yakimov is already capable of blocking out the sun’s path as he stands outside the Jasper Activity Centre for a post-workout conversation. His English is broken but vastly improved since he was selected in the third round of the 2013 draft by the Edmonton Oilers, so there’s no mistaking the centre’s mission. Yakimov spent last season with Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik in the KHL, but rather than return for another campaign, he elected to sign his entry level contract with the Oilers. He is committed to finding his place in the organization this upcoming season — so much so that he will go from Jasper, where 30 of the club’s prospects have gathered for an orientation camp, straight to Edmonton. He is going to spend the rest of the summer training with Chad Drummond, the Oilers strength and conditioning coach, rather than return to Russia. “This is a hard time for me because I don’t speak English, but this is my dream,” said Yakimov, who shares the same hometown as Oilers forward Nail Yakupov. “I really want to play in the NHL and I’m ready. I’m ready to go.” Yakimov shouldn’t be ruled out as an outside option for a centre spot on the Oilers roster. He’ll be pencilled in behind Anton Lander and Mark Arcobello, but he will get a long look. He’d also benefit from some time in Oklahoma City, where he can adjust to the North American game, something he readily acknowledged.
Bogdan Yakimov could make case for Edmonton Oilers centre spot
Edmonton Journal | Jul 5