The odds of it happening are about as likely as me ending up on the cover of GQ Magazine, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s a way that the Edmonton Oilers could come away from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft with Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk of the Sarnia Sting.

Not one or the other, but both. The daily double. The one-two punch. The package deal. A longshot? Obviously. Doable? Anything is doable, and one need only look back at Brian Burke’s maneuvering to pluck Daniel and Henrik Sedin for the Vancouver Canucks at the 1999 Entry Draft. The question is: what would it take?

Going into the 2010 Entry Draft, I pondered the same scenario — pie-in-the-sky stuff, as readers pointed out – when the Oilers were stepping to the podium with their first overall pick in franchise history with Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin sitting atop the prospect rankings. Back then, I asked: "Why not both?" I ask it again.

Why not both? Because it takes the kind of brass Burke showed in 1999 to waltz away with two top picks in your pocket. Because teams with the first half of the equation in hand still need to find a dance partner to pull off the back end, and that’s something the Oilers and GM Steve Tambellini weren’t able to do with Peter Chiarelli and the Boston Bruins in 2010.


Yakupov is already on his way to Edmonton for a visit after the NHL Combine and he’s the odds-on favourite to be back in September for training camp after the Oilers take him with the No. 1 pick in Pittsburgh. Landing the dynamic Sarnia winger is the easy part. Tambellini has already said a team would have to knock his socks off to prompt him to part with the pick.

What about Galchenyuk, the talented centre who missed all but two games last season with a knee injury? Galchenyuk, of Russian heritage but born in Wisconsin, finished second among OHL rookies with 83 points in 2010-11. Yakupov, with 101, was the only freshman who was more prolific. We don’t know how high Galchenyuk would be ranked going into Pittsburgh had he not been injured, but most people think he’ll still go in the top five.

I can’t say for sure if Tambellini and the Oilers have discussed what it would take to land both of them, but I see it as a scenario with merit and one worth pursuing. Yakupov and Galchenyuk aren’t only linemates and teammates with Sarnia, they are friends. The benefits of having each other around to ease the transition to the NHL seem obvious.

With Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ales Hemsky locks for top-six jobs up front, that mix could be something approaching formidable a year or two from now if Tambellini could find a way to add Yakupov and Galchenyuk in Pittsburgh. A longshot, I know. While I’m on a what-if tangent, how far does the rebuild move along if Tambellini pulls this off and IF Justin Schultz end up in the fold on the back end?

If Galchenyuk is destined to go in the top-five, that means Tambellini will have to do business with Columbus, Montreal, the New York Islanders or Toronto, where 1999 wheeler-dealer Burke is running the show. The question is: does Tambellini have the brass to pursue the possibility?

Why not both?


If you’re not familiar with Yakupov and Galchenyuk outside what you’ve seen statistically or on the evening sportscasts, there’s a bunch of clips worth looking at on both from the combine. You see Yakupov here and here. Take a look at Galchenyuk here and here.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Bucknuck

    I just watched Eberle, RNH and Hall highlights for half an hour… and then I watched Hemsky highlights… and it really made me think. We really do have four offensive stars on this team… not three. Whoever the Oilers draft should make five… and that should have everyone plenty excited.

    if they manage to get a sixth somehow, secondary scoring should not be a problem for a decade…

  • Douche Nietzsche

    When asked in an interview last week about the Russian factor affecting team’s decisions vis a vis the KHL factor Yakupov quickly pointed out he was not Russian but Muslim and his desire all along was to play in the NHL. He made the point to separate himself from the decisions of certain other Russian players who bolted to the KHL. That is somewhat reassuring but no guarantee of his future choices.

    Hoping Tamby can engineer such a deal is almost titillating to contemplate. However, based on past performance I would say it is like hoping to win the Edmonton Indy with a motorized wheelbarrow. Exciting prospect alright but it is the longshot of all-time. Tamby hasn’t the guts to even try much less pull it off.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Maybe it’s time for a leap forward. We need to flesh out our top 6 with a centre and we need minimum 2 defencemen and a backup to DD. We have lots of D coming along and Bunz or Roy look promising. Trading a bunch of players/prospects/picks for Galcheniuk has potential but seems, I don’t know, generic. Lets go big. The Isles as trade partner: lets go Gagner, 1st this year and 1st next year for Tavares.

  • Pinoy-ler

    Fun to think about but almost impossible to do. Fantasizing concretely about possible trades is a waste of time. The only chance is to sit tight with some kind of offer in mind that you would be willing to make and if he remains available though the first five picks, start fishing.
    I think they should go in with the mindset of taking Yak no matter what, with a plan for trying to move up and take a defender by trading the first pick in Round 2 and some folks off their roster. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe there is no defender who will remain available through the early picking that Stu thinks highly enough of to justify an offer.
    If I recall correctly Eberle was part of the package offered to Boston for the Sequin pick. I love Seguin but I’m so glad they said no.

  • John Chambers

    I like Galchenyuk, but i dont think we can wait the 4 years for him to mature into a true #1. After the draft the Oilers should focus on trying to obtain Jordan Staal. We need a top line Centre to take the heavy minutes now.

    Perhaps in July when Pittsburgh and Shero are having a tough time getting a deal done we offer up Gagner, Klefbom, and next year’s first.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    I think a move like this by Tambo is akin to solar eclipse. It happens like once a decade and all the people in the know will see it coming well in advance.

  • John Chambers

    @Maverick In real dollars how much would it cost to buy out Gomez if you had too?Or flip him to Columbus so they can reach the floor. They are going to lose 13-14 million dollars after the Nash deal is done. You add Carter and Mason and thats a bit of cap space.Could be a florida situation in Columbus where Howson goes looking for a contract someone wants to dump.

    How good would that look on Montreal’s GM if he could get assets and get rid of Gomez’s contract. The only fly in the ointment would be the amnesty clause. Then they really wouldn’t care if they traded him or not. They would buy him out themselves.

    Yakupov is in Edmonton this week? Should be a fun week for all of ON.

  • Pinoy-ler

    If you get Galchenyuk without having to give up Gagner there is an overload at center in a couple of years. Belanger would be on my list of gotta go’s. RNH-Galchenyuk-Gagner-Horcoff. The thing that makes me think that the Oilers won’t trade Gagner is that Lander and galchenyuk will both need time in the minors. How scary would that OKC team look?

  • Clyde Frog


    Galchenyuk would have to play back in the CHL, he is too young for AHL the year after his draft.

    Fun Fact! That was the argument they used in throwing Gagner into the NHL instead of giving him another year of development.

  • Tony Montana

    I think a top 5 pick could be had for a roster player (hemsky or gagner), our first rounder next year and a prospect, Musil, Gernat or Marincin.

    My list of untouchables are Eberle, RNH, Hall, Petry, Dubnyk, This years First rounder and Klefbom.

    Here is my trade proposal

    To The New York Islanders Ales Hemsky, David Musil, 2013 first round pick, 2012 2nd round pick, 2012 3rd round pick and a conditional 2014 second round pick (conditional upon Hemsky missing fewer than an aerage of 12 to 15 games due to injury)

    To the Edmonton Oilers 2012 First round, pick 2012 2nd round pick and Kirill Kabanov

    Why this trade works for the New York Islanders

    It gives them a potential upgrade on the second line at right wing immediately and help on the power play. It gives them a better defensive prospect than they currently have in the system outside of the NHL. They also move up to what amounts to the first pick in the second round (assuming NJ forfeits their 2012 first rounder) They get 2 picks (quite likely both in, or close to the top 10) in what is purported to be a very good first round in 2013.

    Why this trake Works for the Oilers

    The get the fourth overall pick which they can use to draft one of (Galchenyuk, Forsberg, Grigerenko, or the best available D-man)

    They get a young russian prospect who is likely bound for the AHL or KHL next year no matter whose prospect he is, but with plenty of upside and energy if he realizes his potential.

    You open up a Roster spot on the Right wing for Yak by moving Hemmer, and you also get either a potential future second line center in Grig or Glachenyuk or a potential second line left winger in Forsberg.

    Either way your top 6 is in great shape for years to come and your top 9 has most of the pieces within the organization.

  • Tony Montana

    Why not both? Because you’ve got to give to get. And what do we have to give that would fetch a top 5 pick? Hall, Nuge, Ebs. So we’d be going in circles.