BLH Sunday Night Pint #6: Yakupov, Golden Bears vs. Oilers Rookies, and Oilers Under Pressure

Cheers for checking out the Beer League Heroes Sunday Night Pint #6! If you’re new to the SNP allow me to introduce you to it. What we do is we basically go over the week that was in the world hockey, more specifically the Edmonton Oilers. Simple and smooth and it goes down well with a fine glass of Glenfiddich.

Today we’re joined by Rob Cooke (@cooke_rob), Zach Laing (@loweded), Brennen York (@draftgeekhockey), and Oil on Whyte’s Sammi Silber (@sammisilber)!

The topics are as follows:

Edmonton Oilers Talk w/ Beer League HeroesSo let’s get to it shall we!

Which Member of the Edmonton Oilers is Under the Most Pressure Going Into 2015/16?

SS – Man, this a tough question. There’s arguments for a lot of players, just due to who needs to pick up the slack or bounce back after a lousy previous season. But I’m gonna go with the kid everyone’s talking about.  Connor McDavid has to have the most pressure on him not only because of his status as “The Next One” but because of some fans’ expectations.

He is really supposed to be a second coming for this Oilers squad, and he has huge skates to fill. When you’re expected to become the next Gretzky, it’s a ton of pressure, especially when you’re already a household name and you have high projections from next year.

At only 18, and being thrown directly into the NHL, he has a lot of pressure on him to reach his full potential, exceed expectations and help this team win games. But, as the Great One himself said, I believe McDavid will do more than fine in the NHL.

ZL – Todd McLellan. I think he is facing more pressure than any of the players right now as it is his ship to steer. He is the one who is faced with the daunting task of turning a bunch of “losers” into a championship team. I expect the team to be significantly improved under McLellan this year.

RC – This is a tough one as there are roughly a half dozen guys that will be under the microscope all season. If I have to choose one it has to be Connor McDavid. Sure there are players like Talbot, Yakupov, Schultz and Reinhart that will have a lot of attention on how they perform this season but realistically that will, for the most part, be only Oilers fans and local media that follow along closely. McDavid is a different animal all together. Hockey fans the world over are waiting with baited breath to see what this kid will be able to do in the NHL and that alone makes his situation much more pressure filled.

BY – Justin “How do I defend” Schultz. This is the last year I will have faith that he will pull it all together. By pull it all together I mean emerge as a solid number 3 offensive defenceman. If he can’t, then his career as an Oiler is over, but if he does, he can expect a big spike in salary. Personally I’m hoping he can hit the 40 point mark and build off that moving forward, but realistically if he hits 35 points I’ll be satisfied. 

BLH – I tell you what. The Oiler under the most pressure is Cam Talbot. He has been a backup his whole NHL career and surely he has to be aware of last season’s debacle in net. But if he can pull it off he’s going to be paid a very handsome wage next summer!

Who Will Feature on the Oilers’ Top PP Unit This Season?

SS – The first power play line will be tricky. At the start of the season, it’ll be Hall on the left, RNH down the middle and Eberle in the right. Sekera will make the first unit, and the other defender is tough. Let’s go with Mark Fayne. It’s hard picking two defenders because the blueline’s a dark area for the team. Keep in mind that this is subject to massive change. The Oilers could finally make a move and bring in a quality defender who is necessary on the first PP unit. McDavid could make a splash and replace one of the wingers on the PP.
Who knows?

PP1 Line:

ZL – Hall – Nuge – McDavid – Schultz – Eberle

RC – The Oilers power-play this year should hopefully return to form after a couple of less than stellar campaigns under former coach Dallas Eakins. To be fair Todd Nelson did have them trending in the right direction but too little too late I’m afraid. If I am the coach my first unit would likely be Pouliot-McDavid-Yakupov up front and have Hall and Schultz on the back end. Having two good shooters in Yak and Hallsy being fed by McJesus would be magical. Let Benny slide into Smytty’s office and have Jultz patrol the blue line.

BY – Hall – McDavid – Yakupov -Eberle – Sekera

Shooters everywhere. Gives Yak a chance to boost his offensive totals wit a premier set up guy in McDavid. The blue line is where there can be a debate. Wouldn’t mind throwing Schultz in Eberle’s spot and playing with Nuge and Pouliot on the second pairing.

BLH – In my lifetime the most potent powerplay I ever witnessed was that of the early-mid 90s Pittsburgh Penguins. They scored on nearly every man advantage they had with Jagr, Lemieux, Francis leading the forwards and Paul Coffey anchoring the back end. The Penguins would move the puck around patiently until 66 was open then they’d just give it to him and he’d make the twine twinkle. I think we could see a return to such domination.

So if I were a betting man, I think we could see Taylor Hall setting up on the left-side hashmarks. Connor McDavid on the right-side half-wall, Nail Yakupov will be the trigger man in the way Brett Hull used to set up shop in the slot, Jordan Eberle on one point and Justin Schultz on the other. I reckon that there’ll be a lot of movement between the point men and the guys set up on the half-boards in an effort to open things up for Yak. I could be totally off but that’s how I feel.

What is Nail Yakupov Worth on the Trade Market Today?

SS – Don’t be surprised by these words: Yakupov has a lot of value on the trade market.

He really does. He is very talented and an aggressive player, and he can shoot the puck. It’s simple that Edmonton is just not Yakupov’s place to shine. It happens. With the Oilers, he is not exceeding expectations or reaching his full potential. He is poised for a breakout this season. He is ready to let go and score more. But the worst thing about his stats is that ugly +/-. If Yakupov’s scoring doesn’t improve, and if he continues to decline or not reach his potential, he will be on his way out.

Trust me, he’s great trade bait. Teams want a young winger who can listen to a coach and score. And since he’s prepping for a breakout year, his trade value just went up. We shouldn’t be too quick to trade him, as he could display amazing ability and be an asset for the team, but if he’s playing and the team remains the same old last-place Oilers we’ve come to know, he will be on his way out. Scary right? Yeah, but if he goes, a high quality player just like him is coming to the Oil

ZL – Nothing. Yakupov is worth more to the Edmonton Oilers than he ever would be on the trade market. Let’s not forget that he did score at a 1.6 PPG pace in the OHL. He is a natural talent who has unfortunately been tainted due to some less than stellar coaching.

RC – If Edmonton traded Nail Yakupov today the return isn’t something that fans or the franchise are likely going to be happy with. His value now is definitely higher than it was midway through last when it was at a career for the young man. Even with the rebound in the second half of last season his value still isn’t where it should be for his draft position. I think at best right now the Oilers could probably get a mid to late first round pick, a second rounder, and a middling prospect. The kid needs a big season in a really big way!

BY – If Reinhart can fetch a 1st plus, I’d think Yak could return a pick in the 7 – 13 range depending on how this season goes. If it’s a player swap you’re likely getting a guy in a similar position, where either injuries or inconsistency is an issue. Andrew Shaw plus a prospect and 3rd rounder? Something like that. In my opinion he’s a guy you throw in to sweeten a package for a Seth Jones or a player of that caliber.

BLH – Mr.Yakupov… Are you the black sheep of our 1st overalls or are you the ugly duckling just waiting to blossom into a lovely swan? Either way good things are sure to come. It’s so hard to judge Yakupov based on his career to date. Eakins really put some sand in his vaseline during his time at the helm.

Right now I don’t think his value is that high. I don’t think he’d bring back an upgrade at any point on the roster. Draft picks and prospects is the return I’d say. Perhaps Chiarelli could package him up with some of the excess dmen he has and pick up someone special (*Cough* David Backes or Andrew Ladd *Cough*) or maybe he’ll light it up and the Oilers will get an enormous return for him. His contract is very tasty for other GMs as it’s only for 2 years @$2.5m per. So that works in the Oilers favor.

BONUS: Predict the Score of the University of Alberta Golden Bears vs. Oilers Rookies Game!

SS – Let’s see. In Development Camp, McDavid scored five goals and him and Nurse dominated the whole game. The score is going to be 8-2 in favor of the Oilers rookies. It’s a radical prediction, but with McDavid, Nurse and a full arsenal of rookies with amazing abilities, there will be a lot of goals for the Oil’s young guns.  Sorry, Golden Bears..

ZL – I think McDavid will score 1834870365 points and the Oilers will beat the Bears 5-2. 

RC – The final score on the 16th between the UofA and the Oilers rookies is going to be 5 to 3 in favour of the rookies. The score will look a lot closer than it actually will be though. Connor will net a hatty in the opening 20 and after that will take it easy on the Golden Bears. McDavid has far too muh class and maturity to blow-out a university level team in nothing more than a friendly game.

BY – 6-2 in favour of the Oilers. Why? Connor McDavid nets a hat trick at Rexall.

BLH – I was at this game last year sitting behind Dustin Nielsen, who by the way has an ginormous cranium, and it was an amazing experience. The Golden Bears are no intramural hockey team. They’re 2-time national champions. So the Oilers will be in for a challenge… Maybe.

McDavid will embarrass those frat boys and Nurse will destroy them just like he did in last year’s game. I wonder if the Oilers will keep the sandpaper in the lineup this year. Greg Chase and Kale Kessy were very fun to watch. Question: Does Draisaitl get to take part?

Final Score: 6-1 Oilers

Thank you Sammi Silber for joining us tonight and thank you for reading everyone! Please let us know below in the comments section how you feel about today’s Sunday Night Pint topics!

Before we go our separate ways I’d like to let you know about our new T-shirt! It’s called “The Lottery Line” and it features Hallsy, McJesus, and Yakcity in the best way possible… 16-bit! Click here and get it for 30% off until September 1st!

As always please follow us on Twitter and Facebook! If you’re into Pinterest, we’re starting up a page there too!

Take care!

-BLH (@beerleagueheroe)

Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!