The Chicago Blackhawks may be in the market to sign 23-year-old forward Vladimir Tkachyov from AK Bars of the KHL, according to Russian media outlet Championat. The Winnipeg Jets are also listed as a potential suitor for Tkachyov, which is sometimes spelled Tkachev.
It should be noted that reports from Russian outlets aren’t always 100 percent accurate given translation issues, so this should all be taken with a grain of salt, like most rumors. It’s unclear whether Chicago has expressed any interest. But given the Blackhawks’ trend of pursuing overseas players as undrafted free agents and their constant need for affordable players, it seems reasonable they’d pursue Tkachyov.
There’s one particular reason we needed to share this news with you all, though. Tkachyov is the guy who did THIS in a shootout:
Vladimir Tkachyov wins the award for most creative hockey goal. https://t.co/iQqnw81G55— 120 Sports (@120Sports) August 2, 2016
If you told us the Blackhawks are gonna sign that guy, we’re down. Sure why not.
Tkachyov has 12 goals and nine assists in 34 games with AK Bars this season. He’s been playing in the KHL full-time since getting the promotion from Bars Kazan of the MHL, Russia’s major junior league, in 2013-14. He’s steadily improved his production each KHL season:
2013-14: 9 points in 52 games (0.17 PPG)
2014-15: 9 points in 30 games (0.30 PPG)
2015-16: 20 points in 48 games (0.42 PPG)
2016-17: 21 points in 35 games (0.60 PPG)
So you can see why NHL teams might be interested. He’s never produced like Artemi Panarin did before leaving the KHL, but his steady uptick in scoring could signal a late bloomer worth taking a flier on.
The forward’s contract expires April 30, 2017, which his agent, Yuri Nikolaev, has said his client intends to fulfill. After that, he’s eligible to sign with an NHL team, and maybe the Blackhawks will make a run there.
To be clear, this is the Ukrainan-born Vladimir Tkachyov, not to be confused with the 21-year-old Russian forward Vladimir Tkachev who played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with Moncton and Quebec City. That Tkachev was part of a controversy with the NHL after signing an ELC with the Oilers that was annulled in 2014.
The Hawks have found success signing KHL free agents with Panarin and Michal Kempny, who are slated to be restricted free agents this summer. Panarin burst onto the NHL scene with 30 goals and 77 points to win the 2016 Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, while Kempny has proven to be another solid find. Panarin and Kempny could be used in negotiations as a way for the Hawks to show they know how to quickly acclimate talented players from the KHL.
Anyway, this could be nothing given the nature of the report, but it would make sense based on the Blackhawks’ recent history of moves and their current situation. And this dude once scored a goal by chucking his stick into the net like a spear, so let’s get it done.