What are the LA Kings getting in forward Vladimir Tkachyov? We checked in with a Russian scout for Elite Prospects.
The LA Kings continue to look for talent outside of North America, signing Russian winger Vladimir Tkachyov to a one-year contract. The 25-year-old spent last season with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, leading his team with 38 points in just 45 games.
Tkachyov’s contract includes a European Assignment Clause if he doesn’t win a roster spot out of training camp. Although in a recent Q&A, it appears the winger would openly accept an assignment to Ontario if it meant having a chance at NHL time in the future.
“Of course, I would like to break into the NHL and spend the entire season at the base,” Tkachyov said, loosely translated. “But if they send me to the farm club, then, of course, I will go and try to get back. Back not to Russia, but to Los Angeles.”
It’s difficult to determine what the Kings are getting exactly in Tkachyov because so many before him have attempted to make the transition to the NHL. Still, their game didn’t translate, or other factors came into play.
Now and again, players like Alexander Ovechkin, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Evgeni Malkin, and Artemi Panarin, to name a few, have made their mark on the NHL. Most recently, Kirill Kaprizov had a successful first year in the NHL, and he’ll likely take home the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie.
I’m not saying that Tkachyov is Kaprizov, but I did reach out to Elite Prospects’ Scout, Dylan Griffing, about what kind of player the LA Kings are getting.
“I’ve seen a decent chunk of his games this year, and I was mostly impressed with his problem-solving,” Griffing said. “He’s a fantastic puck protector who is nearly impossible to knock off possession at times. Scans well along the boards to find the right passing option. Competent on defense, keeping his body in front of his man and forcing play wide or stepping up with his stick to try to poke it free. I think he’ll be a fine bottom-six plug with good playmaking upside.”
Tkachyov stands at just 5’10”, 157 lbs. He was a scoring machine for SKA last year and continued in the playoffs, accumulating a goal and seven assists in 11 games. He also racked up 26 PIM, which often lends to the physicality of a player.
I asked Griffing if that was the case with Tkachyov.
“It’s mostly stick infractions by the look of it,” Griffing concluded. “He lacks discipline when he gets beat, so he’ll sometimes just hook the guy to take him out. He doesn’t ever get too physical because of his size, but he does *try* to throw his body around at times.”
Hopefully, it’s something that the LA Kings coaching staff can help him with as he becomes acclimated in his second stint on North American ice. He spent two seasons in the QMJHL, racking up 26 goals and 53 assists between Moncton and Quebec.