Are you as equally perplexed as I am when it comes to Nail Yakupov? I mean at this rate he’s going to be known as the Russian Alexandre Daigle. Don’t believe me? Go check out Daigle’s stats. Yak is literally a couple of injury ravaged seasons, a trade or two, and a celebrity girlfriend away from it. And the thing is you can’t even accuse him of being the enigmatic Russian because he works his ass off every shift but can’t seem to get the bounces.
Speaking of bounces, last night versus the Ducks… Poor guy, he couldn’t get the puck to settle down on his stick. On that first shift with McDavid and Eberle he had a chance to clear the puck out and the puck rolled up on him and he couldn’t get it out which resulted in a goal against. Now everyone will say that he didn’t back check on that play but watch it again. He WAS moving his legs a mile-a-minute trying to catch Silfverberg but was just a stride behind him before the shot went off. And another moment when he picked the puck up at center ice and broke into the Ducks’ zone, as he attempted to make a move to fool the defender the puck bounced up again and a fumbled it into the corner.
Now something I didn’t hear a lot about was the hit Yak smoked Kevin Bieksa with or his hustle in the corners on the evening. Oilers Nerd Alert had his DFF% at 4th best on the team. A shame it is, a crying shame.
Todd Mclellan made it clear that he wasn’t happy that Yak couldn’t take advantage of Benoit Pouliot’s benching in the post gamer here.
He (Yak) gets to take the ice-time I took away from Pou and not a lot of success there either. – Todd McLellan
Seems like some of the Edmonton media have thrown their hands in the air now as they’ve got now clue either.
So, Nail Yakupov finally gets another shot to play with Connor McDavid tonight and blows it. Is there anybody else left to blame?
— Robin Brownlee (@Robin_Brownlee) February 17, 2016
Yakupov at his nadir. It's fair to wonder if he'll ever really play. Methinks he'll need a new start elsewhere. https://t.co/dgihErJmLK
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) February 17, 2016
Yak was No. 1 player picked in 2012 draft. No. 1 picks are supposed to make other players better. He needs change of scenery.
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) February 17, 2016
So we’re at a fork in the road with young Nail. Have we seen what this former no.1 overall pick can do? I have to think there’s still a player in there that can excel at the NHL level. He’s shifty and unpredictable and he’s got a world-class shot to boot. Another thing is, is Jordan Eberle any better a player defensively or along the boards? What about Yak’s contract? Is this of value more to Edmonton in-house or as a trade asset?
Would it be foolish to trade him before the draft? I mean it’s nearly a foregone conclusion that Teddy Purcell will be dealt and that will open up a spot on the right side for Yak, right? Or will he be passed over like many times before by the likes of Matt Hendricks, Rob Klinkhammer, and Iiro Pakarinen?
If the team was looking at dealing him, what kind of return would he garner? And before you say he’s worth nothing on the trade market, Justin Schultz has value… So if a bumbling defenseman with his own verb in the hockey lexicon can have value, there’s very little doubt that Yak has too.
A team looking for secondary scoring that is willing to part with picks and/or prospects seemingly would be a good fit, no?
So what about the Carolina Hurricanes? They’ve got a young right-handed puck moving defensemen in Ryan Murphy who can’t seem to break into the lineup and is popping up in trade rumors. They’re in the thick of the wildcard race and are -11 in goal differential. They wouldn’t be losing anything apart from a prospect off of their AHL roster and the Oilers could use a right-hander in their system.
With Ryan Murphy (12th overall in 2011) you’re looking at a smaller offensive blueliner (5’11” 185lb) with a bit of an injury history already. He’s racked up 60 points in 76 AHL games and 29 points in 108 NHL games. With the likes of Haydn Fleury and Roland McKeown ready to turn pro, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be much room for Murphy in the Carolina system soon.
Perhaps the deal could be expanded due to the amount of contracts the Oilers sit at 49 and the Hurricanes at 45.
So what if the Oilers sent Yakupov and Mark Fayne to the Hurricanes for Ryan Murphy, the ‘Canes 2nd and 3rd round picks?
This way the Oilers shed a bit of salary and get back some desperately needed draft picks, that 2nd rounder being vital as they’re going to lose one to Boston in one of the next two years due to the hiring of Chiarelli. Carolina has a ton of room to fit a veteran dman and a skilled winger under their cap as well.
Now I’m not in any way, shape or form wanting to deal Yakupov out of town. I would love to see him get a good run of games beside two linemates who could allow him to play his game the way he knows how and who knows? We could very well see him reunited with Pou and McDavid if Eberle is traded but at this point that is looking unlikely unless the Oilers get a deal they can’t afford to turn down or Eberle gets injured.
We truly are coming to the breaking point with YakCity and as sad as that is, we may have to be happy for him as he plays for another team.
What do you think? Should the Oilers trade him or show him more patience? Let me know in the comments below!