6'2 185 lbs
The story goes something like this: When the Otters turn came up with the 29th pick in the Import Draft, Otters GM Sherry Bassin had 5 players on his list, and all 5 were available. But he had some friends and contacts, who happened to be NHL scouts, and they told him to pick Tankeev. And so he did.
Bassin heard about a highly skilled player with solid skating and puck-handling skills. Tankeev, 17, had 26 goals and 72 points in 45 games for the St. Louis Jr. Blues in the Central States Hockey League.
Tankeev led the Jr. Blues to the 2010 USA Hockey Tier III Junior A national championship in Boston against teams with 19-year-old and 20-year-old players in his first season in the United States.
He was selected in the third round of the Kontinental Hockey League Junior Draft earlier this summer but instead of signing, chose the OHL route. Like fellow Russians Alex Khokhlachev and Vladislav Namestnikov , he has no contractual obligations back in the motherland.
In recent years, the "Russian Factor" has led NHL teams to not use top picks to select Russians who have obligations back home. Could this next generation of Russian stars be sidestepping that notion by commiting to North American hockey and not signing in Russia? Certainly with these 3 Russians we have 3 stars who are going in with an "all or nothing" attitude to making the NHL.