Interesting development out of Europe this morning as KHL team Admiral Vladivostok has bought out a number of key players due to rumored financial issues. Among those released were Oskars Bartulis, Chicago prospect Ivan Nalimov and Vladimir Tkachev. You may remember that last name quite fondly if you are an Edmonton Oilers fan.
Tkachev was invited to Edmonton’s 2014 rookie camp, where he dominated in the Penticton Young Stars tournament. After that, Tkachev went to main camp and impressed even more. While he likely was going to fall short of making the NHL team, the Oilers were impressed enough that then-GM Craig MacTavish signed him to a three year entry-level contract.
Or so we all thought.
It turns out that Tkachev was ineligible to sign a deal with the Oilers because under the CBA CHL players needed to have played a full season in North America in order to be eligible if undrafted. Tkachev failed to meet that requirement and therefore couldn’t be signed until the following off-season.
Tkachev would play the following season in the QMJHL for Moncton before returning to Europe, where he has been ever since.
The 22-year old split the 2015-16 season between the MHL and KHL, going pointless in two contests for St. Petersburg. Last season, Tkachev found a home with Admiral Vladivostok, scoring 14-25-39 in 49 contests at Europe’s highest level. This season, Tkachev has already matched his goal total from a year ago and was well on his way to surpassing his point total. He’d registered 14-15-29 in 36 games before the reported buyout.
Why Would The Oilers Revisit?:
Craig MacTavish is still very much involved on the Hockey Ops side for the Oilers and you have to think he is still very much interested in his former signing. I’d imagine that after seeing him good in camp and seeing his KHL numbers the last two seasons, MacTavish would push hard to bring the skilled forward back into the fold.
On top of that, Edmonton simply doesn’t have enough skill on its AHL roster. Young skill? That’s pretty much non-existent at the forward position down on the farm. A quick look at the Bakersfield roster shows us veterans like Ryan Hamilton, Ty Rattie, Brad Malone and Iiro Pakarinen taking up top-six spots.
In fact, Joey LaLeggia, who was still a defender at this time last year, is the only true ‘prospect’ in the team’s top-six. The bottom-six isn’t much better, as Kyle Platzer, Braden Christoffer and Patrick Russell are the only ‘prospects’ in the group. I put prospects in quotes but I’m not sure anyone has any of those four players pegged as future NHL’ers. Pickings are slim.
Yes, Tyler Benson will help the Condors next season and Kailer Yamamoto should be an NHL’er as early as next season, but the Oilers are still devoid of prospects in the system. There are forwards bubbling under at the junior level, but only Benson is on the horizon of the AHL.
Tkachev is only 22 years-old and could fit right into Bakersfield’s roster in a key role. Edmonton needs skill down on the farm, and this young prospect could provide it.
Bottom line is Tkachev is a skilled young player and costs the Oilers nothing but money and a contract spot. Essentially, he’s an asset free for the taking for a club that badly needs young skill in the system. It would be foolish for the Oilers to not at least take a look at this option.
Besides, after shedding two contracts this week, the Oilers have some wiggle room now and could easily fit Tkachev in the mix.