Nail Yakupov arrives in Edmonton today to sunshine, blue skies and Jim Matheson talking about the Oilers taking RyanMurray #1 overall! The story writes itself!

I’ve written about Ryan Murray enough here at the Nation so won’t bore you again with my arguments in favor of drafting him. I will however point you to the Matheson article and suggest that he has more connections than anyone in the msm. Smoke=fire? Or is Mr. Matheson writing a follow up to last year’s Adam Larsson articles?

Here’s my guess: Nail Yakupov had some questions around his knee injury and answered them at the combine. The only thing left is "draft for need" and we know that has no place when taking the #1 overall pick. Is Nail Yakupov a "generational" talent? Does he have a better future than Taylor Hall? Is he a one dimensional talent who will amaze, confuse and disappoint?

Don’t know, won’t know until after the draft. The things available to the Edmonton Oilers–aptitude tests, conversations with people "in the know" and the face to face breaking of bread that will take place this weekend–are not available to us. Based on the math, the video, the Bob McKenzie, the Craig Button, Nail Yakupov is the obvious choice for #1.

In order for the Oilers to suggest otherwise, they must either present their evidence or admit a "draft for need" in selecting Ryan Murray. The combine testing was the last available outward tell that Yakupov was less than perfect. He passed with flying colors.


Today’s command performance is either a show for the masses or a sincere effort to get to know the young man Nail Yakupov. The decision on the #1 overall pick is a monster–more difficult I believe than Taylor versus Tyler or Nuge versus Larsson. This is Nail Yakupov from Nizhnekamsk, Russia versus Ryan Murray from White City. From where we sit, the contest isn’t close at all.

The question is this: what does the body of evidence unavailable to us show? I can’t imagine there being enough evidence for Yakupov to lose the day. Should they choose Ryan Murray #1 overall, the Oilers will have to stand up and say “we drafted for need” and have that echo down the canyon for decades.

We wait.

  • Spartacus


    Dude, your punctuation is all over the place today; in its proper place on the left, in the middle and to the right. It’s hard to take seriously what your conscious mind is typing when your subconscious is so clearly undecided.


    I love the photos of old Edmonton. I enlarged the picture to see what was playing at the Paramount. It looks like there might be two films playing, but I could make out the title of Can Can, which Wikipedia says came out in 1960.

    The Hudson’s Bay store, the Paramount and the CIBC building on the corner of 101st and Jasper are all recognizable. I wonder if the restaurant sign visible beside the Paramount is the Silk Hat? Remember that place?

    I’m guessing People’s Credit Jewellers became simply People’s Jewellers.

    And it’s weird to see the Shell Station right in the heart of downtown.

    And for fook’s sake, just take Yakupov and don’t try to be clever, Steve, it doesn’t suit you.

  • Wax Man Riley

    I agree that Murray may not be the best defenceman available in this years draft for starters . Trouba , Dumba and several others are pretty much close or equal to him – maybe even better in a couple of them . Work on a deal to add one of them , but not pass on Yakupov .

  • Wax Man Riley

    I would be shocked if the oilers use the 1st overall on Ryan Murray, or any Dman for that matter, and if they do, Mr.Prez should be fired along with
    Dithers. If they want a dman just like others have already said then trade the 1st overall and whatever else within reason is needed for a bonfide #1 dman.If they keep the pick then chose the best fwd.

    I wouldn’t bet Murray will be the best dman from this class, there is 3-4 dman that have a chance to be better in 5 yrs than him.

  • Our managerial team seems more like a group of politicians . Say little – meatless banter , and do just as much while blaming those others around them for the lack of results . We require more than what present management is giving us . Their meatless banter wears thin on the Oiler fans in paticular .

    • Bucknuck

      I think its best for them to be tight lipped. After the issues that went down with the Heatley debacle, it best that management keep things quiet. I was happy to find out that be traded for N. Schultz, which seem to come out of left field. No media had a clue until it was done. I think it benefits them, there is no ” can you best this offer” occurring. That takes balls, and it’s respectable.

  • PerryK

    Any reason to believe Tams could hit a homerun by trading away our pick for anything else ? None , obviously – just not his fortay ! However , can we afford, not only to draft Yakupov but also to pay our top four with a solid base around them should they all pan out now and down the road ? At that ,might we still be better off drafting Yakupov ,as he is more likely to fetch us more in a trade down the line ?

    Tams and company seem uncertain as to which way they intend to go this year ? Are they going full barrel toward respectability and playoff attempt ? They may say so , as they always seem to do , but i don’t see anything as yet to make me believe it will be anything more than a feeble attempt to do so . So many options out there and they have not made even one . Thats unlikely to change knowing our managerial team .

    Do we go with our top three and add Murray or Trouba , or do we draft Yakupov ?

  • Relax everyone……..for those who are blue-skying the various trade possibilities about trading down, acquiring additional picks, drafting what we need instead of BPA, and the likes, let me rain on your parade.

    We will draft Yakapov, we will not acquire additional picks or anything of the like. Tamby and Lowe will do the safe thing and take the BPA! I say this because since the Pronger trade, there has been no creative trade to bring what is required. Instead players cite a management culture that is known around the league to be inferior to other teams and as soon as elite players arrive here, they want to leave. Lowe and Tamby have created this culture and until we purge the system we will not be able attract UFA’s that we so desire.

    Time for a cool change, starting at the top.

  • Majority of people suggest strongly it should be the best player. This probably means that Oilers will go against the grain and pick Murray!.
    Why? Because Tambelini cannot pull strings and be creative and innovative enough to get elite players , other than Lotto drafting. Just look what he’s come up with beyond the drafts… not very much,.. He even scares himself.

  • The main source in the article promoting the “Draft for Need” point of view is Prendergast. You’d think after losing his job because he held that view the guy would learn, but I guess a Leopard cant change his spots.

    KP wants the Oilers to draft for need. I guess seeing Parise Captain his team to a Cup Final isnt enough to make a guy change his mind on passing over superior players.

    Greatest need in the Oilers Organization? Competence.

    • Bucknuck

      Holy crap Arch. Did you ever “Nail it”!

      When I saw Prendergast being quoted I looked to the top of the page to make sure it wasn’t an April Fool’s article.

  • Tony Montana

    Even if you were going to draft for need, the Oilers do not need a teenage D-man who is 4 to 6 years away from being a dominant force in the NHL (which is far from a guarantee anyway). There is no logical argument for not drafting Nail Yakapov in favor of a defenseman. None! The Edmonton Oilers are a better hockey team in 2012/13 with Nail Yakapov and a couple of improvements on the bottom defensive pairings (3 to 6) then they are with Ryan Murray.

    I refuse to believe that these defensive upgrades are not out there and available to the Edmonton Oilers. Wideman, Garrison, Carle, Justin Schultz (if he lives up to the hype) are all available. Even ifyou are forced to overpay to attract them, I would rather over pay a #3 D-man to the tune of a half million than have to overpay a top pairing guy with a contract that cripples you moving forward. Go that route and let someone else take the gamble that Murray will live up to his perceived potential. For the next few years I would advocate a defense by committee approach while we wait on the hopeful emergence of Klefbom, Gernat, Marincin et al as our stars of the future. This strikes a balance between being patient with the prospects we have in the pipeline and improving the team in the short to medium term. It doesn’t risk damaging the rebuild with knee jerk reactions and poor decisions, and it doesn’t empty the cupboard or salary cap just to make a splash in the free agent or trade market

  • @Jimmer,

    RNH runs the PP from the right side(so does Hemsky) and Yakupov shoots LEFT which eliminates the one-timer option…

    Drafting Yakupov creates a lot of work for management trying to make things fit.

    Hall to Centre?

    Gagner trade for Defenseman?

    Hope Paajarvi’s a legit 2nd line LW next year?

    Drafting Ryan Murray is the easy thing to do.

    • If you’re OK with waiting two or three years before your shiny first pick is a competent NHL D-man. However, our need for a decent NHL D-man is TODAY. Worse case scenario, you draft Yakupov and trade him for what you want. Only a moron doesn’t pick the overwhelming BPA. If it were close then yeah, but not this time.

    • How does drafting Yakupov suddenly create all this work for Management? He plays RW, trade Hemsky. He plays LW, trade MPS.

      Drafting Murray shouldn’t even be up for debate. He’s not even projected to be an elite #1 dman. If you don’t take Nail you try to trade down and take Galchenyuk.

      If you’re so concerned about getting help on defense immediately, you’d be better off to trade the #1 pick for a proven D man than draft Murray.

      • PerryK

        “……If you’re so concerned about getting help on defense immediately, you’d be better off to trade the #1 pick for a proven D man than draft Murray.”

        Amen, Brother! At least if you do that you know what you are getting.

        Don’t misunderstand, I am still advocating Yakupov. But seriously, after WJC and the World Championships it is clear that Murray is not currently an elite defenceman.

        He may grow in to one based on his mental aptitude in time. But really his talent levels (at skating, hitting, scoring, rushing the puck, controlling the tempo) are lower than his current peers.

    • Hey, you just made all our points, you have a lot more options, asset wise with Yakupov in your lineup vs. Murray. You have to wait for Murray to develop into a dominating d-man. With Yakupov you can have the superior asset which allows you to move others for the defensive option you need now. It’s goings to take work, there is nothing easy about running NHL hockey.


    You have to draft BPA with the 1st overall pick. Yakupov is head and shoulders (not a plug) above the 2nd spot pick. Hands down. Like Macgregor stated, the Oilers do have upcoming dmen in the pipeline and be here 2-3 yrs time. Drafting Yakupov is a no-brainer and to do otherwise is lacking brain. The Oilers can always work with getting a dman with trades and UFA etc…At least they have the means to do it with all that skill. Can’t have too much skill. WHat if (hockey Gods for bid) Hall goes down again for sometime due to injuriy, Yakupov could fill in nicely…