SIXES AND SEVENS AND NINES

Lowetide
November 10 2012 10:09AM

After the watershed 1979-81 drafts, the Oilers were still producing useful talent. Now that the current Oilers have gathered their Jacks and Kings, how are they doing with those useful 6's and 7's and 9's?

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NATION PROFILE: PAUL COFFEY

Lowetide
November 09 2012 07:43AM

 

His skating was a marvel, his ability to jump into the offense legendary, and his accomplishments rewrote the record book. Still, Paul Coffey was never able to shake the initial criticisms in regard to the quality of his defensive play. In the end, Paul Coffey was a magnificent and flawed player rolled into one--and a wonder to observe. 

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A TOUCH OF BLUE

Lowetide
November 07 2012 07:19PM

The Oklahoma City Barons were badly in need of some help on defense, and it looks like they took some action with the addition of Jordan Henry.

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THE OTHER RUSSIAN

Lowetide
November 06 2012 12:27PM

Russian Daniil Zharkov made an impression on Oiler fans shortly after Stu MacGregor's scouting staff gave him the seal of approval. "It's my goal to be better than Yak" he said on draft day. Zharkov was taken 90 spots behind Yakupov and started this season slowly; howver things are looking up.

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SOMETHING ELSE

Lowetide
November 04 2012 07:25AM

Yakupov-Nail-1-Oilers

The NHL lockout and the KHL's availability online have allowed Oiler fans to follow Nail Yakupov closely this season. For his part, Yakupov has done everything in his power, has been unrelenting, has been fighting tooth and nail, to prove to everyone he is as advertised. The early results are very strong.

PREACH THE GOOD NEWS!

Last month, we discussed the last lockout, and the Russian Super League's 18-year olds who played in 2004-05. The list is short but impressive, and young Nail Yakupov looks like he belongs:

  1. Nail Yakupov (18) 13, 10-4-14 1.08
  2. Alexander Ovechkin (18) 37, 13-14-27 .730
  3. Evgeni Malkin (18) 52, 12-20-32 .615
  4. Viktor Alexandrov (18) 50, 8-10-18 .360
  5. Enver Lisin (18) 53, 8-4-12 .226

Before we talk about what this means, lets talk about what it doesn't mean. I am in no way suggesting our man Nail is superior to Ovechkin and Malkin; this is a comparison across many seasons and we don't have the TOI for the 04-05 kids (Yak is playing 15:27 a night--he's not getting a time-on-ice push here).

It does tell us that this young man is special. You can't score 10 goals in your first baker's dozen against a strong league unless you're touched by God. He has 3 PP goals, 7 at evens--so he's not padding his stats. Yakupov has 57 shots in those 13 games, suggesting that he might have 200 SOG in a full KHL season. That's a very good number.

I SENSE A "BUT"

Yakupov is a teenager, and his -3 tells us there are things to work on (there are 6 forwards on his team with worse plus minus numbers, 12 with a better total). That's not unusual and we shouldn't be overly concerned at this point--Yakupov should be facing the soft parade when he arrives in the NHL.

WHEN CAN WE SEE HIM?

Yakupov-Nail-1-Oilers

This week, as a matter of fact. Yakupov will be taking part in the Canada-Russia Subway Series starting Monday against a team of QMJHL All-Stars. The series ends in the west, with games in Vancouver November 14 and Victoria November 15. All games are on Sportsnet and are available Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of the next two weeks. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Nail Yakupov, like Taylor Hall and  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins before him, is a special talent. Everything we've seen since the draft suggests this to be true. I don't know when these kids will get together as Oilers, but when they do it is going to be something else.

 

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