Edmonton Oilers sign Vladimir Tkachev to entry-level deal (Update: or not)

Jonathan Willis
September 30 2014 09:20AM

Tkachev, Vladimir

Vladimir Tkachev has done nothing but impress since he slipped on an Edmonton Oilers jersey. Now it seems that fans can look forward to him doing it again, because he’s signed an entry-level contract with the team.

A Balanced Response

Craig MacTavish7

This entry-level deal was well-earned.

Tkachev came to camp a complete unknown, save for the fact that he'd posted pretty decent numbers in 16 games in Russia and then come overseas and put up really nice numbers in the QMJHL (20GP, 10G-20A-30PTS). He was in camp on an invite and by all rights should have done what the vast majority of these guys do and vanished into the woodwork once he started playing games against real NHL prospects.

He didn't do that. Instead, Tkachev's play at both ends of the rink was far better than that of any number of older players. He was a star at the team's rookie tournament, and when the going got tougher in exhibition action he still found ways to stand out. One night ago, in a game where guys like Andrew Miller and Mitch Moroz and Will Acton all struggled mightily to stand out, Tkachev had no such problems, drawing multiple attackers to himself before setting up Mark Fayne nicely for the game's opening goal.

He might only be 5'9" and 140 pounds, but the longer he's played for the Oilers the more difficult it has been to believe he wasn't drafted. 

However. 

It's easy to lose perspective on what the preseason is - a handful of games against widely varied competition. It's useful for evaluation purposes, but it's also no more than a snapshot. Every year somebody stands out in a meaningful way for good or bad, and it ultimately proves to be a mirage. Jesse Joensuu was that guy for the Oilers a season ago, but this is something that happens all the time in cities all across the league.

Tkachev's junior numbers suggest a guy who should have been drafted. His performance since coming over reinforced that. But the Oilers were in a much, much better bargaining position than Tkachev. No matter how well a pint-sized undrafted dynamo plays in an exhibition series like this, it doesn't add three inches and 50 pounds to his frame and it doesn't change the fact that a few months ago all 30 NHL teams passed him over. Entering negotiations, the situation stood like this: A year down the road if Tkachev stayed healthy and if he played well enough, he would again have the opportunity to get drafted. The NHL club that selected him (assuming one did) would then have two more years to wait and see before being forced to make a contract decision. 

That gives the Oilers incredible leverage, and they've used it wisely. They didn't make the mistake of sending a guy who by number and by eye (albeit for a brief time) looks like a player, but they also didn't make the mistake of forgetting the way the system works. This was a chance to get a quality prospect for peanuts, and they took it. In exchange, Tkachev gets the security of an NHL contract at age 18, a luxury generally only afforded to the very best picks in any given draft class. 

It's an arrangement that should work out very nicely for both parties. 

This piece has been edited from its original version to clear up ambiguous wording on Tkachev's draft status - JW. 

Update

The deal has been ruled ineligible by the NHL. 

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#301 gravis82
October 01 2014, 12:48PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Props
2
props

What's a shop steward?

Avatar
#302 Jeff Lebowski
October 01 2014, 12:55PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Props
3
props
Harry wrote:

Picking on a kid Jeff? Thats a tad dramatic dont you think? You must be new so ill fill you in. Thats 90% of the game in pro sports. Judging other teams and forming opinions and yes for those who can handle it without crying, a little trash talk.

Dont be so sensitive. Hockey or not im sure Jankowski will have a fine education after he disappears from the hockey radar.

Clearly that's all you're hoping for. I'm sure your crystal ball on how a kid's pro career (that hasn't started yet) will turn out is in HIGH demand.

I'm quite certain that if people knew the future like you do a lot of angst today could've been cleared up.

Why didn't you use your powers Harold?

Or are you just trying to set up an argument that has zero relevance to reality so you can feel better?

What was your point anyway? That you think Jankowski is a bust? A project when he was drafted still in that process.

Does that fantasy make you feel good inside Harold? Judging other people brightens your day, does it? Whatever floats your boat Harold.

I'm sure Jankowski will get a fine education and be a happy and well adjusted player too.

Tell me Harold, which finger will I extend to you after your 'reply' great Swami?

Avatar
#303 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
October 01 2014, 01:03PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
2
props

For my books if I am Mr. Katz I would sign the kid to a personal contract to test hockey skates for thie same amount of money. Why just because I have a truck load of money in the bank and I want to make a rotten situation into the best one I can. Of coarse Mr. Bettina could call Russia and void a contract allowing the kid his shot no matter how improbable it is.

Avatar
#304 Admiral Ackbar
October 01 2014, 01:29PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
4
props

So..... Can the Oilers still sign the kid to a new, valid contract?

What will be the consequences??

Avatar
#305 Rambelaya
October 01 2014, 01:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
5
props
Admiral Ackbar wrote:

So..... Can the Oilers still sign the kid to a new, valid contract?

What will be the consequences??

No. Otherwise they would.

He is unsignable for the 2014-2015 season by any NHL team. He will be draft eligible next year, as he was this year. Unlikely to be passed over next year though.

Avatar
#306 RigPig69
October 01 2014, 01:50PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Props
3
props
LOIL99 wrote:

Do you have a TapOut sticker on your truck?

No but I have those big steal balls hanging off the back. What's your point?

Avatar
#307 vetinari
October 01 2014, 02:15PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
6
props

So, translation on MacT's comments:

"Contracts are tough, man. The CBA between the NHL and NHLPA is like a phone book and we don't have time to read the whole thing. And neither does the agents. Looks like Vladdy, and us, got our hopes up for nothing. But don't worry. We'll take him next year with our second or third round draft pick because we are sure that 29 other teams will pass on him again for a second draft. Wait. Is Burkie still in Calgary? Shoot. That guy will probably snag Vlad in the first round with his top 2 pick just to spite us."

Avatar
#308 Harry
October 01 2014, 02:29PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
2
props
Jeff Lebowski wrote:

Clearly that's all you're hoping for. I'm sure your crystal ball on how a kid's pro career (that hasn't started yet) will turn out is in HIGH demand.

I'm quite certain that if people knew the future like you do a lot of angst today could've been cleared up.

Why didn't you use your powers Harold?

Or are you just trying to set up an argument that has zero relevance to reality so you can feel better?

What was your point anyway? That you think Jankowski is a bust? A project when he was drafted still in that process.

Does that fantasy make you feel good inside Harold? Judging other people brightens your day, does it? Whatever floats your boat Harold.

I'm sure Jankowski will get a fine education and be a happy and well adjusted player too.

Tell me Harold, which finger will I extend to you after your 'reply' great Swami?

Holy crap man! You need some help. Or at least some fresh air. Im sorry I hurt your feelings Mrs. Jankowski but your son will be just fine.

Avatar
#309 Jeff Lebowski
October 01 2014, 02:43PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Props
1
props
Harry wrote:

Holy crap man! You need some help. Or at least some fresh air. Im sorry I hurt your feelings Mrs. Jankowski but your son will be just fine.

No bother Harold. I accept your apology. Please, carry on ...

-btw it's the index finger. 'Cause you're number 1 Champ!!!

Have a nice day :)

Avatar
#310 Zarny
October 01 2014, 02:43PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
2
props
pkam wrote:

Because nobody questions them why a player who is ineligible to sign an AHL or NHL contract is eligible to sign ATO or PTO contract.

I suspect the clause that redefined "prior season" to mean "a full season prior to the last Entry Draft", and the misalignment between the rules regarding signing a player to an ATO and an ELC will be discussed during the next CBA negotiations.

This sort of thing happens all the time. It's the reason it takes an additional week or so to finalize a CBA even after both sides have shaken hands and agreed on the deal.

I suspect the lawyers involved try their best to cover off every oddball scenario they can think of but there are always exceptions. Industry codes are no different. Amendments are made that sometimes conflict with other parts of the code. Everyone involved is human and oversights happen.

Avatar
#311 Zarny
October 01 2014, 02:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
7
props
TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Well, I set out some of the reasoning for someone else earlier, but aside from that, anything that happens in the NHL reflects on the NHL, refusing to acknowledge that is ignoring the viewpoint of everyone looking at the league from a more distant perspective.

Yes, I didn't see your response until I was finished replying. I can appreciate the POV that anything that happens in the NHL reflects on the NHL. I don't necessarily agree but everyone will have their own POV.

I think it's a slippery slope to start expecting the NHL to be policing and monitoring the day to day activities of every team and to comment on everything they do.

The rules allowed for the Oilers to sign Tkachev to an ATO. In fact, that ATO had to be registered and approved by the NHL. The conflict with the rules regarding eligibility may not have been apparent to the NHL either when the ATO was signed. The clause invoked is a new one and I suspect Tkachev is the first case where it applies.

Given how image conscious every sports league is I doubt Bill Daly or anyone at the NHL head office was sitting back waiting for the Oilers to try to sign Tkachev so they could spring this on them.

Avatar
#312 Zarny
October 01 2014, 03:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
5
props
Spiel wrote:

Tkachev had signed a contract in Russia and played 2 KHL games in Omsk, and 16 games in the Russian junior league before coming over to Moncton in January. Search on eliteprospects.com and you can easily see the record of the Russian junior games.

So, it would be a pretty big stretch to say he played a full season of Major Junior seeing as at the beginning of the major junior season he had signed a pro-contract in Russia and continued to play junior in Russia until showing up in Major Junior in January.

Its possible other teams didn't draft him because they knew that he was not eligible to be signed as a free agent, and they would get a chance to see him play another year before using a draft choice and contract.

I already stated I thought it was a stretch to argue Tkachev played a full season in NA given what you stated.

The point was simply that the term "full season" is open to interpretation and that it's silly to think every GM has a full understanding of every clause that could be open to interpretation in the CBA. None of them do which is why they all use legal council.

I highly doubt teams passed on Tkachev in the draft because they knew he was not eligible to be signed as a free agent, and they would get a chance to see him play another year of junior for the simple fact that none of those teams knew that the team behind them wouldn't draft Tkachev next.

You're giving way too much credit to the prognosticating skills of NHL GMs. None of them knew Tkachev would be completely bypassed in the draft. They all simply made the same determination he wasn't worth a draft pick this year.

If he puts up 1.5 ppg over a full season this year in Moncton I suspect that won't be the case next year.

Avatar
#313 Zarny
October 01 2014, 03:07PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
11
props
RigPig69 wrote:

No but I have those big steal balls hanging off the back. What's your point?

It takes a big man to admit he has a small p*nis.

Avatar
#314 Burnward
October 01 2014, 03:24PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
4
props

@Zarny

Penis.

Just checking.

Avatar
#315 jl
October 01 2014, 03:35PM
Trash it!
13
trashes
Props
12
props

This is way too funny.

You guys are laughing stock, good luck with your draft party and year 10 of the rebuild.

Oiler douche tell me one more time how good your gonna be.. hahahaha losers

Avatar
#316 Brad
October 01 2014, 03:42PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
4
props
D'oh-ilers wrote:

*bangs head on desk repeatedly*

AMEN...

Wow, how do I keep cheering for this circus, and believe me circus is the nice word for whT should really be said, the stupidity is mind numbing!!!

Avatar
#317 TigerUnderGlass
October 01 2014, 04:05PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
3
props

@Zarny

I think it's a slippery slope to start expecting the NHL to be policing and monitoring the day to day activities of every team and to comment on everything they do.

No one suggested they should monitor anything. There is no slippery slope here since we've already agreed there was no obligation.

Context matters, and in this case anyone remotely related to hockey knew this contract was coming before it happened. If you're running the NHL and you know the deal will be disallowed do you really not think it's better to make a call where you ask the team to save everyone some embarrassment?

Aside from that - the NHL has a duty to act in the best interests of the 30 teams. IF telling the Oilers has no negative ramifications to other teams then they should say something.

The conflict with the rules regarding eligibility may not have been apparent to the NHL either when the ATO was signed.

This is quite plausible, and my comments really only apply to an NHL office that knew beforehand, but if it's true the rending of garments and cries of "ONLY THE OILERS COULD MAKE SUCH A GRIEVOUS ERROR" need to stop.

Avatar
#318 wetcoast oil fan
October 01 2014, 05:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
8
props

Oilers screwed up too bad for the kid they should have drafted him

Avatar
#319 Jordan McNugent-Hallkins
October 01 2014, 05:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
6
props

@RigPig69

Dude, from one jacked-up-truck-driving-piece-of-patch-trash to another, those hitch balls are an embarrassment to mankind.

Avatar
#320 Kypreos
October 01 2014, 07:02PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
6
props

Here hoping for another first overall pick and the oilers can take him in the draft.

Hahaha!

Avatar
#321 RigPig69
October 01 2014, 08:23PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
2
props
Jordan McNugent-Hallkins wrote:

Dude, from one jacked-up-truck-driving-piece-of-patch-trash to another, those hitch balls are an embarrassment to mankind.

Haha I agree but I had those on for so many years that I don't think I can take them off now.

Avatar
#322 Old time oil fan
October 01 2014, 08:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
6
props
TigerUnderGlass wrote:

There are a number of reasons why they should have.

1. there was no reason not to say something. Nothing the NHL would have said could change the outcome of the situation. Tkachev was going back into the draft regardless and saying something to the Oilers would have had zero impact on other NHL franchises.

2. This mistake is on the Oilers, but it also reflects on the league. You'll notice in my previous comment I mentioned "self interest", that is due to the fact that this situation reflects poorly on the league whether or not it's "on" the Oilers.

3. The player. This player had the best day of his life turn into one of the worst days of his life. The NHL had the ability to stop that.

The O'Reilly situation is not analogous for a number of reasons. Tkachev's imminent signing was widely publicized, offer sheets are not really public until signed. Beyond that, and more importantly, the ROR situation had potential ramifications for more than one team. Tkachev did not.

MacLooselips did this to himself. If he would have waited until the contract was approved by the NHL before running his mouth to the media this would not have happened. I don't understand the urgency to bring the deal public before it was made official. But I guess no different then telling everyone that Hemsky will no longer be an Oiler because we don't want him a year before he was finally able to trade him away. Awkward.

Avatar
#323 RigPig69
October 01 2014, 08:36PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
2
props
Zarny wrote:

It takes a big man to admit he has a small p*nis.

Its funny when people like you say that stuff to your friends but then have a very nervous look on your face when you realize that you may have said it a bit too loud. Whose testicles are in question then?

Avatar
#324 Oilers
October 01 2014, 08:39PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
4
props
Zarny wrote:

It's not a matter of simply knowing every word and clause it contains. It's a matter of knowing the legal interpretation.

There is not a CEO, COO, CFO, manager, GM or anyone with any authority whatsoever that would pretend to fully understand every legal interpretation of every clause of every document that pertains to their business. Which is why everyone retains legal council and frequently defer to said council for legal interpretation in pretty much every industry on the planet.

Since you are familiar with the text of CBA's I'm curious to know how you interpret the following:

From page 22 of the NHL CBA - Article 8 Section 8.9 subparagraph (b) - Eligibility for Play in the League

No player shall be eligible for play in the League unless he:

(ii) had played hockey in North America the prior season and was under age 20 at the time of the last Entry Draft, and signed an SPC which was signed and registered with the League between the conclusion of the Entry Draft and commencement of the Major Juniors season (except that if such Player had signed an NHL try-out form, which was signed and registered with the League during the aforesaid time period, then the deadline for signing and registering with the League an SPC with such try-out Club shall be the commencement of the NHL Season)."

(iv) The words "eligible for claim in the last Entry Draft" in subparagraph (b) above mean "eligible for claim in all rounds of the last Entry Draft." The words "the prior season" in subparagraph (i), (ii) and (iii) above mean "a full season prior to the last Entry Draft."

The clause that was added in the last CBA that tripped up the Oilers was subparagraph (iv) expanding on the term "prior season" to mean "a full season prior to the last Entry Draft".

What is your definition of "full season"? Because the CBA doesn't actually define it. It simply uses the term.

As a P.Eng in oil and gas I do not have experience with CBA's but do have extensive experience with various industry codes and have seen too many times to count how terms like "full season" will be interpreted differently.

Given that Tkachev played 2 games in the KHL and then had to wait for months before playing in Moncton last year I think it's a real stretch to argue he played a "full season" in NA last year. But it's pretty easy to get into semantics regarding what legally constitutes a "full season".

If player misses games due to injury is that a "full season"? Is there a difference between missing 1 game and or 40? Practically of course there is; legally though?

What if Tkachev had started the year in Moncton but played in Europe for the World Jr's and Soviet Summit Series etc? Is that a "full season" in NA even though 5% or so of his games would not have been played in NA?

The CBA has nothing to say about it. It simply says "full season". To insinuate that every GM should have the answer for every legal interpretations is just silly.

Wrong.

It is the leaders job to make sure he/her and his/her staff know exactly what the decision and consequences are.

They clearly did not ask the right questions, and also maybe should have waited until the NHL confirmed the contract prior to the press release.

This is what good leadership does. But, we have been without that for 10 years, so what the hell, let's just continue being the joke of the league.

Fire the whole management. Watch the Canucks finish ahead of the Oilers and have a better "rebuild".

Avatar
#325 wiseguy
October 01 2014, 10:02PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
1
props

Sucks to lose the $150000 signing bonus but with his increased exposure and profile, can't he sign a decent contract to play in the KHL this year and sign as a ufa next year, thereby foregoing the draft? That way, he will be paid handsomely and gets to choose which team he wants to go to as a ufa instead of being drafted.

Avatar
#326 O.C.
October 02 2014, 06:27AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props
TigerUnderGlass wrote:

There are a number of reasons why they should have.

1. there was no reason not to say something. Nothing the NHL would have said could change the outcome of the situation. Tkachev was going back into the draft regardless and saying something to the Oilers would have had zero impact on other NHL franchises.

2. This mistake is on the Oilers, but it also reflects on the league. You'll notice in my previous comment I mentioned "self interest", that is due to the fact that this situation reflects poorly on the league whether or not it's "on" the Oilers.

3. The player. This player had the best day of his life turn into one of the worst days of his life. The NHL had the ability to stop that.

The O'Reilly situation is not analogous for a number of reasons. Tkachev's imminent signing was widely publicized, offer sheets are not really public until signed. Beyond that, and more importantly, the ROR situation had potential ramifications for more than one team. Tkachev did not.

^ This.

Embarrassing a team and cutting the legs out of a player's dreams, reflects poorly on the Badge. It would have been communicated by the League to the Oil if they had foreseen this crap storm on the horizon.

All evidence points to the NHL missing out as well; the Oil took the bullet (as they should), without dragging others into this. I admire that actually.

Avatar
#327 TheresAlwaysNextYear
October 02 2014, 07:37AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

there goes out yakimov-tkachev duo

Avatar
#328 oilerjed
October 02 2014, 10:04AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
oilerjed wrote:

The teams MUST submit their training camp rosters to the NHL correct? So the NHL knew what was going on and said nothing or they didnt have a clue either. Likely scenario is that another GM decided that the kid was maybe draft worthy after all and didnt want the Oil to have him for free and raised an objection to the NHL who promplty shook thier head and said "By Gods your right!"

Im willing to give MacT the credit to assume that he was trying to sneak on by.

Either way Im putting this at the feet of Brian Burke, seems like the kind of thing he would do to a team(president) he cant stand, sort of like when he lobbied the NHL for the Luongo Rule in the CBA to screw the Cansucks.

If nothing else it's another good reason to shoot pucks at him.

Damn,If I'd known how many Burke supporters there were on here I would have watched what I said about him.

Can we still shot pucks at him?

Avatar
#329 rapidr
October 12 2014, 01:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@RigPig69

Steal balls?? Maybe buy them next time...

Comments are closed for this article.