When Bogdan Yakimov came to Edmonton from Russia, all he could think about was training camp and competing for a spot with the Oilers. That day has finally come as the team reports to camp tomorrow and takes the ice Friday.
“I can’t wait. I’ve waited three months, I’ve practiced three months and all summer. It was such a hard time for me. Just a couple more days and camp starts. I’m so excited,” he said.
The Oilers third round pick (83rd overall) in 2013, had three goals in all three games he played this week with the Oilers Rookies. He scored against the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames prospects at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C. He added a goal tonight against the Golden Bears.
“Three goals is good? Three goals is good yes, but I need to keep going up and I hope I can keep scoring every game,” Yakimov said.
Oilers Rookies Head Coach Todd Nelson was impressed with Yakimov’s skill level. Match that with his size (6-foot-5, 232 pounds) and he makes for an intriguing centre prospect to watch.
“I think he’s going to have a good training camp,” Nelson said. “I think it’s really interesting for everybody to see how he does against against NHL players. What he showed me over these games that he played was that he’s more skilled than I expected. I knew he had skill but I never saw it at Orientation Camp this past summer in Jasper and also the year before. But I saw it these last two games and it is nice to see a big guy who has some skill to him.”
Yakimov is also ready to see how he matches up with NHL players. He seemed to match up well against the competition he’s already faced.
“I want to see (what it’s like to play against) NHL players,” he said. “The speed, the strength, the smarts. These are the best players in the world. I want to feel the NHL game.”