Among the handful of rookie players the Predators called up from Milwaukee this season to try and revive a stalling offense, Yakov Trenin has thus far been one of the most effective.
Trenin was called up for his very first NHL game on Oct. 19 against Florida, swapping spots with Daniel Carr on the bottom forward line. Besides taking a single penalty, Trenin's first NHL game was pretty uneventful. After the Florida game, Trenin went back to Milwaukee for another month and a half. On the Dec. 7 game against New Jersey, Trenin resumed his role in the rookie rotation (sorry for the alliteration) as the Preds fought to pick up the pieces left by Viktor Arvidsson's injury a few games prior. It was then- in his second NHL game- that Trenin scored his first goal in professional hockey... with just his skate.
In the 21 NHL games Trenin has under his belt now, he's recorded two goals and four assists. Last year with the Admirals, Trenin notched 33 points in 74 games. His point accrual tied for fifth-best on the squad, but his +21 on-ice rating led the team by a fairly wide margin; the second best rating was Joe Pendenza's +13.
There's not yet a quantifiable way to measure a given player's "hustle", but if there was, Trenin would likely be high on the leaderboards. Rather than putting up breathtaking point totals, Trenin's most noticeable contribution is being seen flying around the ice and creating or disrupting as many small plays as possible. For a guy who's averaging the least per-game ice time on the team (among players who have played in over 20 games this season), imposing that much of a presence when you're on the ice is no small feat.
Trenin is currently maintaining the Preds' fifth-best on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%) at an 11.8 percent conversion rate. That number is slightly inflated due to his low ice time, but it's nonetheless still impressive for a rookie; it shows that Trenin- with as little NHL experience as he has- has been able to create a decent amount of offense for his teammates.
As of the season pause on Mar. 12, Trenin had gone 10 games without recording a point. Additionally, within those 10 games, his on-ice rating dipped to a -3.
Despite being a forward, defense has been a strong suit for Trenin in his rookie season. Trenin has the fourth-lowest offensive-zone start percentage (oZS%) on the team and still has a +1 on-ice rating; this basically means that Trenin, while taking most of his faceoffs in front of his own goalie, is able to successfully clear the zone without taking any collateral damage from the opponent. You can hardly call Trenin a liability either; he has the fewest penalty minutes on the team outside of the goalies.
In Trenin's 21 NHL games, he's rocketed to 12th place on the Preds' hit count- recording a bruising 46 in his nascent career. That's over two hits per game for a forward who, again, is averaging the team's least time on ice. It helps that Trenin possesses a lot of mass to exact on his victims; he's the Preds' third-tallest forward at 6'2 and 201 pounds.
And no hockey fan is apt to forget when Trenin- a rookie playing in just his ninth NHL game- squared up with the notoriously massive,hard-nosed, 42-year old trifecta known as Zdeno Chara on Jan. 7. Chara may have gotten more swings in, but Trenin provided a sharp right hook that nearly felled the mighty Bruin.
GENERAL EFFECTIVENESS AND TEAM INFLUENCE
Along with sharing his Jan. 13 birthday with teammate Austin Watson (as well as some guy named Connor McDavid), Trenin has shared a large chunk of his time in Milwaukee developing his game with Alex Carrier, Jarred Tinordi, Mathieu Olivier, Colin Blackwell, and Daniel Carr. The latter three joined Trenin in this season's aforementioned rookie forward roatation. Trenin played for the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL from 2014 to 2017; his future teammate, Carrier, overlapped with Trenin during the 2016-17 season.
Trenin is Nashville's lone Russian on the active roster. In the 2017 World Junior Championship, Trenin helped the Russians defeat Elias Pettersson and the Swedes in the bronze medal game.
Trenin's entry-level contract expires this summer. It would probably be in David Poile's best interest to keep him around for at least the next couple years.