But not for long. He’s ready to make an impact in a big way.
To put it mildly, Yakimov plays the game hard. He missed the 2012 NHL Draft age cut-off by only three weeks and is already more physically mature than most of his other draft eligible counterparts. At a massive six-foot-four and 201-pounds, Yakimov already possesses the skills to use his frame to contribute at both ends of the ice.
He scored 15 goals for 25 points in 43 games last season with Reaktor Nizhnekamsk of the MHL, Russia’s equivalent to the CHL. That’s not the only place he uses his size, according to Future Considerations’ scout Roman Solovoev.
“Yakimov is a big, tough center who thrives in the face-off circle where he uses his size and strength to over power opponents.” Solovoev said. “He’s solid at both ends of the ice and gets most of his goals and points by getting his nose dirty around the net.”
He got his nose dirty at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial, where Yakimov had three goals and seven points while representing Russia. He’s is currently skating with the KHL’s Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk farm team affiliate in the VHL, where he’s producing at a near point-per-game pace.
Yakimov is currently viewed as KHL ready and could be playing with the big club, however is held back by Neftekhimik’s large collection of young players including Nail Yakupov, the first overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. Yakupov signed there to play out the duration of the lockout.
Despite this, Yakimov is expected to see plenty of ice and a big role come Christmas while playing for Russia at the World Junior Championship. A strong performance on the big stage could set the momentum of a first round push for Nizhnekamsk product.
So while he may not be a household name just yet, it won’t be long until Yakimov steps into the spotlight.