On March 27th, Elite Prospects and @vorkywh24 - a well-trusted, former KHL journalist - reported that Yakov Trenin will be loaned to the Kontinental Hockey League after this season. He was tied to his hometown club Traktor Chelyabinsk.
The 21-year-old forward was taken by the Nashville Predators 55th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and was playing in his first professional season in Milwaukee this year. Trenin was drafted after scoring 18 goals and 67 points in 58 games for the Gatineau Olympiques in his rookie season in the QMJHL. After three seasons in the QMJHL, Trenin finished with 74 goals and 195 points in 169 games - good for 1.15 points-per-game.
This season Trenin only appeared in 44 games for the Milwaukee Admirals. He was sidelined for a fraction of the season after taking a scary hit against the Cleveland Monsters.
Cameron Gaunce has officially been suspended for 3 games following his boarding major and game misconduct that injured Yakov Trenin on Saturday night: https://t.co/NrE6Wglhug pic.twitter.com/7g3Vxu3ddD— Admirals Roundtable (@adsroundtable) November 20, 2017
Still, Trenin managed only 5 goals and 16 points while playing mostly on the third line and sitting in the press box as a healthy scratch a few times down the stretch.
Over the past 24 hours, @Sport_BO - one of the leading sports online papers in Russia - has confirmed that Trenin will return to the KHL next season. The article - read here - indicates that Chelyabinsk is the likely destination but other teams are interested. Other players that are reportedly returning to Russia include Nikolai Kulemin, Anton Slepyshev, Victor Antipin, and Nikita Soshnikov.
Trenin signed his entry-level contract with Nashville in the summer of 2015 but due to two years of sliding, it did not start until this season. Upon its termination in 2020, he will be a restricted free agent.
To my knowledge, there isn’t much precedent for an AHL-only player leaving for the KHL and returning as an NHL player. There have, however, been several instances of bubble players leaving and later returning to North America including Alex Burmistrov, Chris Bourque, Tomas Vincour, and Leo Komarov.
I’m uncertain of Trenin’s future in the organization. It was clear the brass saw him further from NHL ice-time than he did and such a frustrating season in Milwaukee doesn’t help. Trenin most likely saw no clear path to a full-time roster spot in the near future and that’s completely fair.
What was an intriguing draft pick at the time that carried some promise may be flaming out rendering the Predators’ 2015 draft class much bleaker - Anthony Richard and Alexandre Carrier remain the only two with any intrigue left.