North Bay Centennials Grad Misses KHL Playoffs

The KHL regular season has come to a close in Russia for 2010-11 and Traktor Chelyabinsk finds themselves in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, 11 points out of a playoff spot. Chelyabinsk is the current club of Ontario Hockey League grad, Vitaly Yachmenev.

vitaly yachmenev traktor chelyabinsk russia khl hockeyYachmenev played two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, 1993-94 and 1994-95 and took the league by storm. In his first season, he led the league with 61 goals and was named not only the OHL’s rookie of the year but the CHL’s rookie of the year as well. He helped the North Bay Centennials to a Hamilton Spectator Trophy as regular season champs and a Robertson Cup as the OHL’s playoff champions. Vitaly added 32 points in 18 playoff games for the Centennials. The team’s luck ran out at the Memorial Cup, going 0-3.

The following season, Yachmenev scored 53 for the Centennials while adding 52 assists for 105 points in 59 games. The 105 points was good enough for ninth in the OHL. He helped Russia to a Silver Medal at the IIHF Under-20 World Hockey Championships. Vitaly was also awarded the William Hanley Trophy as the Ontario Hockey League’s Most Sportsmanlike Player. The award is representative of the way Yachmenev has played the game throughout his career. His highest penalty minute total came in 2005-06 with just 30 in Russia’s Super League.

After his first season with North Bay, Yachmenev was drafted surprisingly low, going in the third round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, 59th overall to the Los Angeles Kings. Vitaly put in  almost 500 games in the NHL with Los Angeles and the Nashville Predators before skipping to Russia for the start of the 2003-04 season. Unfortunately, the goal scoring ability that he showed with the Centennials never really resurfaced and he topped out with a season of 19 goals with the Kings.

In his eighth season in Russia, Yachmenev scored just four goals and added 12 assists in 43 games for Chelyabinsk. His current contract expired at the end of this season.

Vitaly spent the year playing with another Ontario Hockey League grad, Alexander Buturlin, on Traktor Chelyabinsk.

Check out Vitaly Yachmenev’s profile page at the KHL official website.

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