OK, before you burn me at the stake. The Yakupov to the Habs rumours have been swirling around for some time now. Today, Eklund had it up on his site but there are multiple publications that have been reporting on this rumor since the new year. Here are a few for example:
The returns for Yakupov from those respected sites range from Greg Pateryn, Lars Eller, Alexei Emelin, Mike McCarron, Nikita Scherbak, etc…
I’m not so interested in those players and I don’t reckon the Habs have much, apart from the obvious players, that would interest the Oilers. Their first round pick would be of interest though and it sits at 9th overall at the moment.
Is there a scenario where Yakupov is moved for that 9th overall pick? If what Eklund says is true (and we all take what he says with many grains of salt) and the Habs are way out in front on this one, would that pick be the game breaker? I mean it’s really hard to say what Yak’s value is after reading the comments coming out of Russia. You’d think that logic would dictate Yak’s value to be sitting at a 2nd rounder at best but it only takes one man to set the price.
For arguments sake, let’s say it is. Let’s say the Oilers make a deal that included Yakupov plus for the 9th overall pick. They’d have two picks inside the top ten. Now we know that the Columbus Blue Jackets are in dire DIRE need of some skill at centre. After Auston Matthews there is another American who some are comparing to Johnny Gaudreau, Clayton Keller. What about P.L. Dubois or even Logan Brown?
Do you think that the Blue Jackets would forgo the insatiable temptation to draft Jesse Puljujarvi so that they could possibly add two high-end prospects? Any of the following would surely do the organization good:
- Jakob Chychrun – Best skater in the draft. Already possesses NHL frame.
- Matthew Tkachuk – Reminds me of the velociraptors in Jurassic Park… Clever girl…
- Pierre-Luc Dubois – A tank who can change the game with a flick of the wrist.
- Olli Juolevi – Uber-intellect who could do wonders for the BJ’s PP.
- Mikhail Sergachev – Big, calm, and cool defender with a cannon of a clapper.
- Clayton Keller – A wizard with the puck.
- Logan Brown – Fast riser with major size and NHL bloodlines.
- Mike McLeod – Might be the fastest skater in the draft. Big time work ethic.
- Alex Nylander – Right-handed skiller who can play all three forward positions.
Columbus is f*cked right now. They’re in cap hell and they have to re-sign Seth Jones and possibly their first rounder with no cap room to do it AND with the expansion draft coming… YIKES!! Their GM won’t be there long unless he can find a way to mop up this mess he’s put the team in. I don’t subscribe to the idea that he’ll draft Puljujarvi because he’s Finnish. The BJ’s are stocked on the wing. Long term, they’d be better off taking the two top ten picks in my opinion and also it fits the narrative of my post.
I mean the same could be said for the Oilers as well. Perhaps it would be better for them to add two high-end prospects in this scenario but what I was actually thinking is Jesse Puljujarvi, who has to be the guy that is available at no.3, would be the man the Oilers would benefit from the most. He’d be able to start the year with the team, if need be or he showed he was capable, and be an impact player from the get go. He’d replace Yakupov with ease and we wouldn’t have to worry about his two-way game. He’s a right-handed shooter who’s place on the PP is off the left-wing wall and he can actually one-time the puck as illustrated in the following Youtube clip.
A rumour is a rumour is a rumour though. Whether it comes from Elliotte Friedman (who denied the Habs had interest in Yak back in March…), Bob McKenzie, or Betty at the water cooler whose cousin works at the ticket office of your favorite team. Rarely do they come to fruition but we love to chat about them.
What do you think? Would you trade Yak, or a package including yak, to the Habs for that for their 1st rounder and then flip that pick with the 4th overall to the Blue Jackets for a chance at Patrik Laine or Jesse Puljujarvi? Let me know in the comments below!