The Los Angeles Kings have signed forward Vladimir Tkachyov to a one-year entry-level contract on Saturday. The contract carries a cap hit of $832,500. However, how does he fit with his new club in coming over from Russia?
NEWS: LA Kings agree to terms with free agent forward Vladimir Tkachyov on a one-year entry level contract.
Player Moves flown by @FlyONT.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) May 29, 2021
Vladimir Tkachyov Joins Los Angeles Kings
Tkatchyov is a right-shooting left-winger coming over from SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL. The winger is 25 years old, standing at 5’10” 163 pounds. The forward was draft-eligible in 2015 and went undrafted. Last season, Tkatchyov scored 11 goals and 27 assists for a total of 38 points in 45 games played with SKA St. Petersburg. This was good enough for him to lead the team in points. It was also good for the highest points-per-game average of his KHL career, coming in at 0.84 points-per-game.
Ever since Rob Blake came in as the general manager of the Kings, he and the front office have put an emphasis on adding players with speed and skill. This is exactly what the Kings will be adding with Tkachyov. The Russian will provide a refreshing dose of high speed and pace. He also has the skill set to make creative and exciting plays.
As the Kings move away from their old defensive-minded style that they played under Darryl Sutter and his system, they have been transitioning into playing a faster pace, more offensively-oriented game. To do this, they need players that fit that mold. They have put an emphasis on drafting and signing players that will fit and help implement this new team identity. Tkachyov is a player to add to that list.
How He Fits in Los Angeles
Fitting Tkachyov into the Kings lineup will be a complicated task. The team currently has a plethora of players who deserve a roster spot, but very few actual roster spots. Don’t be surprised to see Tkachyov start the first few games of the season down in the AHL with the Ontario Reign. It’s similar to what the Kings did a few seasons ago with Nikolai Prokhorkin. Once he gets his feet wet in North American professional hockey, Tkachyov will likely get called up to the Kings.
Once on the NHL roster, he should fit somewhere into the team’s top-nine. Additionally, he could also get some powerplay time if he performed well.
How He Fits Long Term
Although Tkatchyov will likely see some time with the Kings next season, whether he will the following year is still yet to be seen. The Kings are in an awkward transition phase of their rebuild at the moment. They are not in a place where they are going to be a bottom-feeder of the league with high chances at a top-five pick. However, they are also not in a place where they serious playoff contenders. they sit somewhere in the middle, as they have a more than sufficient supply of high-end prospects, but these prospects aren’t quite ready yet to make a serious NHL impact.
Due to this, the team is in a transitional phase. They will need some players to fill in the roster spots while they wait for their prospects to be ready. This is where Tkatchyov fits in. He is more of a transitional player. He should get a spot in the Kings lineup, but as prospects, specifically those who could play his position like Arthur Kaliyev or Samuel Fagemo, become more NHL ready, Tkatchyov could get edged out. Of course, there is always a chance that Tkatchyov could flourish in the NHL and make himself a reliable player that the Kings would want to keep around long-term, but that would be a different story.
Blake Not Done
Since the Kings season ended, Blake has made it clear that he plans to add to and improve this team. He is just getting started with the signing of Tkachyov, as the team will hope to bring in at least one more top-six forward along with a young, left-handed defenceman to play with Drew Doughty.
Signing Tkachyov could have also been a precursor to another, bigger move as well. If Blake ends up packaging a roster forward for a defenceman, Tkachyov could provide him with some confidence knowing he has someone to fill in for whatever player he deals. This is all just speculation, however. Overall, signing Vladimir Tkaccyov was the first of what will likely be many moves for the Los Angeles Kings this offseason.