Another excerpt from The Gentlemen has been posted on the SKA telegram channel, which means that another newcomer is coming to St. Petersburg. SKA management in the person of Roman Rotenberg promised to bring three legionnaires to St. Petersburg, but the top ones. The best sniper of the KHL season before last Dmitry Yashkin (38 goals in the regular season 2020/2021 is the best result in the history of Dynamo and the second in the KHL after 48 goals of Sergey Mozyakin) is one of those, at least on paper.



Yashkin repeated the record of the great Maltsev!  He lasted for 50 years
Yashkin repeated the record of the great Maltsev! He lasted for 50 years

All last year we did not hear about Dmitry. Although he was an unrestricted free agent in the NHL, he chose Arizona, which gave him $3.2 million for the year. Already after 12 games, Dmitry was out for the rest of the season due to a rude reception from Mark Borovetsky from Nashville. During these matches, Yashkin scored only one point – and a return to the KHL was quite expected.

The forward, who was a Czech only by passport, managed to send rumors to almost all the top clubs in the KHL. It was also called Omsk, native to Yashkin, and Ak Bars, where Vadim Shipachev moved. The rights were assigned to Dynamo according to a very cunning scheme – the club, which itself owed the striker, recorded a debt of one ruble on his part in the KHL database. This led to the emergence of the status of “conflict”, with which the rights to the player can be maintained until any age.

Dmitry Yashkin

Dmitry Yashkin

Photo: Yury Kuzmin, photo.khl.ru

The first news about SKA’s interest appeared back in May, and today it became known about Dmitry’s transfer to the St. Petersburg club – first from his wife’s post, and now officially. C Yashkin signed a one-year contract.

At one time, Dmitry came to the KHL with the status of a strong NHL player. He spent most of his American career in St. Louis, a team that greatly appreciates the defensive abilities of forwards. In the top 6, the Blues always had someone to score, and the Czech Russian spent most of his playing time in the lower links. Most often, his center forward was Patrick Berglund – a player with a bias in defensive actions.

At the same time, Yashkin had a rather narrow specialization – power. He spent the 2017/2018 season in full, making 207 hits for him, and this was enough to enter the top 10 of the league among forwards, although Dmitry played less than most competitors for the match. Not surprisingly, in such a utilitarian role, Yashkin scored only 17 points – he did not spend time in the special teams of either the majority or the minority.

The transition to Dynamo for Yashkin was the first opportunity at an adult level to constantly play with the best partners, get solid playing time and a majority. At the 2018 World Cup, the striker played in a trio with Krejci and Pastrnak, scored enough points, but it was a rather short-term alliance.

Dmitry Yashkin in the Czech national team

Dmitry Yashkin in the Czech national team

Photo: Andre Ringuette/World Cup of Hockey via Getty Images

In the KHL, he got Vadim Shipachev as a partner, who, after an unsuccessful trip to Vegas, only grew up, becoming the best dispatcher in the KHL by a margin. In two years at Dynamo, Yashkin scored 69 goals. It is indicative that most of Yashkin’s goals did not come after chic shots – Dmitry’s shot card is tightly stuck near the opponent’s patch.

“I was required to deliver pucks for Vadik, who knew what to do with them. He also worked a lot on the penny, from which he scored 75% of the goals. Everyone was happy, and everyone was pleased to play, ”Yashkin himself described his game in the top three of Dynamo. Vladimir Krikunov said: “Yashkin can play in the NHL. He must have played a different role. He played on the fourth line. Well, it matters a lot what kind of coach you get there. And here he is lucky that he plays with Shipachyov.”

In the KHL, which is not particularly rich in top power forwards, Yashkin’s NHL skills were enough to take first places in the charts – and Shipachev’s passes were sometimes filigree. Yashkin returned to Arizona in the status of the same role player that he had been in the NHL before. His main center was the usual checker Johan Larsson, who definitely defends better than Shipachyov, but in hockey IQ is not close to him.



The best sniper in the KHL is bent in Arizona.  What is happening with Yashkin?
The best sniper in the KHL is bent in Arizona. What is happening with Yashkin?

Well, in SKA there is no forward of the level of Shipachyov (however, as in the entire KHL). In principle, there are not enough creative centers in St. Petersburg in general – Prokhorkin could be like that, but he will lie on the operating table. What will happen to Vorobyov, who allegedly bought a military ID, is also unclear. The rest of the SKA centers are either defensive players (like Bardakov) or guys who have not yet been used in the center, but on the flank (Khusnutdinov).

There is an option in which another winger will be the main creative in the link – as in the NHL, Panarin or Godro pull their links, and not nominal centers. But in SKA, there are no such things yet – unless, of course, Gusev returns to the team. This could be Zhafyarov, but it is not yet clear how he will fit into the new system after the attacking anarchy in Nizhny Novgorod.

Dmitry Yashkin and Vadim Shipachev

Dmitry Yashkin and Vadim Shipachev

Photo: Vladimir Bezzubov, photo.khl.ru

It is unlikely that Yashkin will fail in SKA – although, of course, the St. Petersburg rotation grinded many. His power qualities allow him to reign on the spot in the KHL, but for now it is still better to reduce expectations and not put pressure on the player with the expectation of repeating Dynamo exploits.

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