Stu MacGregor added a right winger to round out the only potential 1st-overall line combo in the NHL, when he recommended the Oilers take Nail Yakupov with the first pick. After all the buildup, the Oilers made the correct choice and now have four extremely skilled young forwards.

MacGregor talked about the decision to take Yakupov and what he’ll be looking to acquire on day two of the 2012 draft.

"You waver all year long as you go through this long process, but you finally get down to an end result where you make a decision…It is hard to pass up offensive talent," said MacGregor.

What do you like most about Yakupov?

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SM: He’s extremely fast, creative, he can score goals and one of the things that really impressed was whenever I saw him get in all alone on a goaltender, he didn’t miss, he put it in. He has the potential to score 30 goals, maybe more, and you can`t win games without scoring goals.

Hall and Nugent-Hopkins made an immediate impact, should we expect the same from Yakupov?

SM: I’m not going to put that type of pressure on him. I think Nail wants to make the transition to the NHL, and I think every player that is first overall that is their goal. I would anticipate that Nail is going to challenge next year.

How do you see him meshing with Nugent-Hopkins, Hall and Eberle?

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SM: He’ll mesh well, he’s an offensive guy. Offensive players like to play with other offensive players and this is another offensive player that we can add to – hopefully I can call it an arsenal. We feel we now have four real offensive players that are also very young.

What did you see in his personality off the ice that you liked?

"He’s a dynamic guy. He’s fun to be around, he’s always smiling, he’s excited and he has passion in hockey and in life.

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The Oilers own the 32nd, 63rd, 91st, 93rd, 123rd and 153rd picks heading into day two. I asked MacGregor if he has certain traits or types of players he’ll be looking at on Saturday.

"I think we have positioned our list to hopefully address some things/issues we have within our hockey team. We’ll have a meeting as soon as we get back to our hotel, to prepare for day two. It’s like we have another first round pick, so we are pretty excited about it and we have to make it count.


I asked Steve Tambellini his thoughts on what holes the organization will be trying to fill tomorrow.

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"On the defensive side we have a lot of young D coming into the system over the next couple of years who we know are going to play. I think where we do need to get better is to have that heaviness, and not just from a physicality standpoint, but the heaviness of being able to play with our top-six or top-nine. We need some of that in our organization. Most of the time, the players that are that strong and that skilled, you have to draft them to get them and we are looking for something like that."

Did you try to acquire another first round pick?

"We did try to move up into the 2nd half of the first round, but there was at least three other teams trying to do the same thing with the same player.

He also talked about Yakupov.

"When you look at the package that Nail Yakupov brings to our organization, we talked about bringing elite talent to our organization, and he’s hungry to perform and he’s hungry to score. He’s an emotional player, an explosive player, and so for us trying to figure out what that will look like with Hopkins, Hall, Eblerle, Paajarvi, Hemsky… Wow, it’s exciting."

He was also asked about comparing Yakupov to his previous first overall picks.

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"They’re all different. One thing I do know is that he is a very confident kid, a very proud individual. He had no hesitation telling me that he was a number one pick, and he stood by it. I love the confidence and with that comes the courage to back it up. I don’t think he lacks any courage in his ability that’s for sure."


Even though the Oilers have lots of young D in the system, they might take another one at 32 considering that Matt Finn and Dalton Thrower are still available.

A guy like Scott Kosmachuk is a possibility. He plays a scrappy game. He tallied 30 goals, 59 points and 110 PIMs in 67 games in Guelph.

Colton Sissons was the captain in Kelowna and also the captain for Team Orr at the Top Prospects game. His skating needs works, but he’s got loads of character. He isn’t an agitator like Kosmachuk though.

Another intriguing player is Lukas Sutter. Son of Rich Sutter, he is a hard-nosed, physical player with some skill. He tallied 28 goals, 59 points and 165 PIMs in 70 games with the Saskatoon Blades. He has good size at 6’0, 215 pounds.

I do think the Oilers would love to draft Mitch Moroz, but I’m not sure they take him at 32. That might be a tad early, and he could be available at 63. The risk is that there aren’t many players with his attributes in the draft, so another team might grab him early just to ensure they get him in their organization.

  • Starving Student

    What about taking Oscar Dansk with 32? Ross Maclean and ISS has him ranked as the best goalie in the draft and the “best prospect out of Sweden since Lundqvist”. If not, I’d like to see the Oilers take gamble on Martin Frk or Jarrod Maidens, both saw their draft stock fall due to injuries, MacGregor’s already shown he’s willing to gamble on injured players (Curtis Hamilton)

    • Love Monkey

      I agree. The Oilers have two solid prospects in Bunz and Roy but not a homerun like Markstrom or Bernier. Dansk is the 2nd ranked european goaltender behind Andrei Vasilevski.

  • I’m just relived we got Nail!

    I’m sure I’m not alone when I say, this draft had me extremely nervous. The passion we have as fans for this organization to be great again can be overwhelming at times like this.

    Speaking of the draft, I’m very surprised that New Jersey didn’t forfeit their pick. The 29th pick in whats considered a weak draft and they keep it? I highly doubt NJ will return to the finals next year (especially with Parise likely testing free agency) so I don’t get the logic in Lou Lamoriello’s decision.

    As for the second round, I was hoping we could land Dalton Thrower, but since Matt Finn is still available, I’d assume that would be a smarter choice(if Columbus doesn’t draft him first).

    All in all, good things are happening and what Oil fan isn’t overjoyed to see Jabba the Feaster piss away the Flames first overall on a handful of magic beans!

  • Reg Dunlop

    Tambo quoted as saying,”We know that if we can we’re going to add another depth defenceman to the big club”. So, I guess we are going with the same D as last year, except we can get a back-up for Barker in case of injury. Why does every other soul on earth see an enormous hole in the oil blue, a hole 3 AHL players wide(Barker,Potter,peg-leg Whitney)?

    Anyway, any defenceman left over will be of no help so hopefully we can add character up front. We already have too many potential 1st liners and only 1 puck and not enough ice time. Sissons!

  • Muji

    In Stu we trust. He has done a great job since taking over and I have complete confidence in him and his team of crack amateur scouts.
    I would like to get Hall, Nuge, Yak, Ebs and Petry on the plane Monday to visit Justin Schultz and invite him to join something very special.
    Then a Top 4 D man and a junkyard dog bottom 6 forward as free agent and we are on our way.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Tambo’s to-do list:

    1) Pick up a jug of milk

    2) Get some NHL players

    3) Read instructions for new cell phone

    4) Help Khabbi take in his emptys

    5) Help Khabbi pick out a new Winnebago

    6) Ask doctor if lobotomy can be reversed

    7) Straighten Katz’ kid’s hair

    8) Get a coach

    9) Practice adressing media without smirking

    10) Check with Employment Insurance to see if I qualify

  • Reg Dunlop

    JG, do you think that by drafting Morgan Reilly, Toronto has decreased their chance of landing Justin Schultz? Edmonton’s still got the offensive D hole and Schultz is looking for an opportunity to play…!

    • Jason Gregor

      I think they took Rielly cause he’s a special player. I’m sure they are still going to take a run at Schultz…They could leave Rielly in WHL for one more year if they like, no need to rush him.

  • Stu MacGregor did well today; elite offense will always win, he didn’t out think himself and went with the #1 consensus pick, I also like what Tambellini said during his interview, that they are going to pursue defensemen through UFA or trade.

    According to TSN a few defensemen may end up being on the block soon. I heard Yandel may be on the block?

    All in all it was a good day, would like to see the Oilers get aggressive in the trade route or UFA route, the Oilers need NHL ready defensemen.

    Attention turns to Schultz in two days.

  • Love Monkey

    Schultz is coming here without a doubt. There is no better opportunity for a young guy like him to come into where he’ll get 25 minutes a night. Sooner or later all of the offensive studs are going to be attractive enough to get the highly touted UFAs.

  • Love Monkey

    Schultz is coming here without a doubt. There is no better opportunity for a young guy like him to come into where he’ll get 25 minutes a night. Sooner or later all of the offensive studs are going to be attractive enough to get the highly touted UFAs.

  • striker777

    Current roster is too soft. Oilers need more abrasive players like Clutterbuck, Ott, Clencross, etc.
    Ideally, I’d like to see at least one such player in our top-6.

    Happy Stu MacGregor Day folks !

    P.S. Was disappointed to see Visnovski traded for only a 2nd rounder. Where was Tambelini on this?

  • Love Monkey

    Schultz is coming here without a doubt. There is no better opportunity for a young guy like him to come into where he’ll get 25 minutes a night. Sooner or later all of the offensive studs are going to be attractive enough to get the highly touted UFAs.

  • Rocknrolla

    Did anyone else notice when tambo was talking about the pick he said hall, ebs, nuge hemmer , PRV, …………but tambo did not say gagne. Huge tell .. Poker pleyers back me up!

  • Metal&Oil

    Dalton Thrower from the Blades @ 32

    I just love Throwers game. Multi Dimensional Dman who loves to get involved in the play at both ends of the ice, can put up points and has a mean streak.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    I think you have to take Moroz at 32. He won’t last into the 3rd round. Look at HS. Pheonix took him with no hesitation. They have the same book on the Oil Kings as the Oilers do. And so do many other teams. Take him 32 and have no regrets. Also Stephan Legault in the 5th round would be a sleeper pick. I Legaault could be a solid 4th line ,pk player in a few years. Good athletic ability and solid character. Dalton Thrower. ?? Can get these kind of dmen anytime on a waiver wire. He’ll be a 6-7 guy most of his career. Moroz? The kind of player who teams can’t get because don’t give them up. Skill,size and toughness. Need vs want.

  • book¡e

    So we draft another small winger….great.

    Where’s he going to play? 3rd line behind Eberle and Hemsky? We don’t need more small forwards, the right pick was either Murray or Galchenyuk.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    great now we have a ferrarri body but a citation engine!I love that we have nuge,hall,ebs and now yakupov,with hemsky,pajjarrvi,petrell and harttikkinan but at some point in time we need defence,whitney,barker and co will not get it done.hopefully we can get schultz but we are going to have to my question is who goes?

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Any chance the organization knows something we don’t? I mean, that’s actually a given but what if they’ve been evaluating Whitney’s injury and it’s turning a corner. An 80% Whitney is a good defender. Plus maybe they think Shultz is coming here. Drafting Murray would have only created a log jam. As for needing size over skill. Um, am I the only one that doesn’t think Gal is a big guy? He’s barely taller than Yak and side by side Yak looks a little thicker. Same with Murray, he’s not that big of a guy, in fact that was a knock on him.

    I think we’re all getting a bit frustrated as year after year we’ve been drafting skill forwards, but that’s what’s been available. So far, I wouldn’t have traded any of the picks for what we took. I cannot wait to see the Nail Hall line.