Okay, so I’ve had some time to digest the Nail Yakupov trade. If you follow me on Twitter (@beerleagueheroe), you probably already know my stance on it but if you don’t I’ll give it one more time and I’ll toss in my take on the Russell signing.
REHABILITATING THE DRESSING ROOM
Take a look at the big names Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has traded in the last 3 months.
- Taylor Hall
- Nail Yakupov
Would you say that these two players could’ve been arguably the team’s biggest distractions? I would. Might you infer that one out of the two had trouble fitting into the Oilers system of play? I would infer that. Is it remotely possible that either or both of them perhaps wanted to move on due to conflicts with coaching or management? I reckon there’s a possibility of that.
Listen, Chiarelli has not only revamped this team in a MAJOR way since he took over but he’s rid the dressing room of, and I’ll be frank here, its divas.
When you ask for a trade and/or have a public conflict with the coach on national TV, those are signs of complete selfishness. When you constantly tell the press that you’re just going to do things the way you have been and aren’t interested in changing your game… Again, selfishness creeps its way in.
Well kids, the players that may or may not have exhibited those characteristics are now gone and replaced with “team-first” guys. Milan Lucic, Kris Versteeg (maybe), Adam Larsson, Drake Caggiula, and Kris Russell are team first type of players.
What’s that? You don’t think their fancies look great? Tough sh*t. They’ve got some history of injuries. Tough titty little kitty but the milk is all gone. Chia is putting his stamp on this team and its locker room and if there’s an Oiler that thinks he’s bigger than the collective, SEE YA!
I feel bad for Yak because his personality was so infective. He looked like a good guy and by all accounts he was a great guy who worked hard but I watched him in that game versus Winnipeg last week and I had no idea what he was doing for a good portion of the time he was on the ice.
The Oilers DID NOT want to go into the season with the Yak distraction ongoing. Simple as that. And the other thing is, his value was a 5th rounder!!! What did Chiarelli get for Yak? A 3rd rounder, possibly a 2nd, and a dodgy prospect that won’t be re-signed. The Oilers got exactly what they were asking for him at the draft AND they didn’t need to retain salary. BOOM!
Another tell was when Ken Hitchcock was talking about acquiring him and saying that he was in no rush to make him a 200ft player. Well of course not! Hitch will “nail” his ass to the bench or pressbox and then let Mike Yeo take over when he retires… Hitchcock said they were going to play to Yak’s strengths, right? I’m sure getting him on a line with the sensational playmaker Patrik Berglund on the Blues’ 3rd line is going to bring out the Stamkos-like scoring…
I’m happy that Yak will get an opportunity (maybe) in another city but he is literally the modern-day Alexandre Daigle. Check the stats kids… Nearly identical.
Did the Oilers improve by trading Nail Yakupov? IF Versteeg is signed and stays healthy, then yes. I reckon the Oilers have their eyes on Puljujarvi spending some time in Yak’s old slot and that isn’t a sound idea in my opinion. Slepyshev or Pitlick could be slotted in there. Hell, Lander could line up there too.
I think the addition by subtraction adage holds true here and I suppose that makes me the second person to say that with regards to Yakupov.
RUSSELL THE LOVE MUSCLE
Just a few things on the Russell signing.
I was not a fan beforehand because all I really had to go on was the analysis’ done by numbers guys. I watched him against the Canucks and I wasn’t disappointed. He did come out on the short end of the Corsi game but to my eye I thought he played well given he hadn’t gone through camp and that was his first game action with the team.
Russell can skate and move the puck and he’s a beauty in the dressing room. He’s basically an older version of Oesterle and there’s a good chance that he could be moved at the deadline (if the Oilers are out of it) for a tasty draft pick.
Russell pushes younger players down the depth chart a bit and at this point, that’s a good thing. Reinhart obviously needs some more time, as does Nurse.
Okay, Griffin Reinhart… If you’re watching Matt Barzal and his push to make the Islanders AND thinking back at how bad this trade looks, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Matt Barzal is looking like he will make it to the last round of cuts for the Islanders but he did that last year and was sent back. I watched a bit of him today and there’s no doubt that there is a player there but he’s not ready yet. I heard that there’s a chance he might play on Tavares’ wing? Not a chance he gets that kind of cherry ice while Ho-Sang and Dal Colle tear it up in the AHL.
Johnny Boychuk played nearly 400 games in the AHL before making it up the NHL for good. A lot of good dmen had to get to at least 100 games in the minors before being brought up for the long haul. Griffin Reinhart has yet to hit 90. Let’s let him find his game in the AHL before declaring him a bust.
Those are my thoughts at the moment. Let me know how you feel in the comments below!