Significant trade interest in Edmonton Oilers winger Nail Yakupov?


Nail Yakupov’s name has been a fixture in the rumour mill for a long time now, possibly for longer than his NHL career, even; in the months before the Oilers selected him consensus wisdom held that Edmonton would love to have traded the first overall pick in a move down to add a defenceman. The latest entry in this long-running story comes from TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, a reporter based out of Montreal who is a pretty decent source for this sort of thing.


Anatomy of Trade Speculation


The timing of this particular report shouldn’t be surprising.

The Oilers have gotten off to a bad start. Most NHL teams come out of the offseason with their rosters more or less set, and so there typically isn’t much of a fall trade market. The exceptions are when a) injuries hit or b) the team on the ice fails to match the expectations the general manager had when he looked at the team on paper. Whatever the causes of the struggles, teams with a bad record attract trade rumours like carrion attracts vultures.

Edmonton has depth on the wings and problems elsewhere. Between Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, David Perron, Benoit Pouliot, Nail Yakupov and Teddy Purcell on the wings (along with the shockingly effective defensive zone line) they have an NHL-calibre lineup throughout; I’d even go so far as to say they have a Western Conference playoff lineup at this one position. It’s only natural that the depth would lend itself to speculation.

There’s also undoubtedly a perception out there that the Oilers are desperate to turn things around. They’ve bought themselves some time locally with the win over Tampa Bay – and a good homestand would go a lot further – but a loss or two and the knives will be out again. In that case, the kind of talent that generally isn’t available in-season might shake loose. It isn’t just Yakupov, either; the internet is rife with suggestions of Eberle or Perron plying their trade elsewhere. Anyone who isn’t newly acquired (Pouliot, Purcell) or seen as untouchable (Hall) is fair game for the rumour mill.

How much does it matter?

Shrugging Veronica

Probably not very much.

An NHL team that isn’t sniffing around for opportunity (and I’d suggest any team at the Winnipeg level or below in the league standings qualifies as that, at least potentially) isn’t doing its job.

If I’m a rival G.M. looking at Edmonton, I’m looking at the pieces that might come loose – wingers, thanks to the team’s depth, and good players who are either undervalued (Martin Marincin’s demotion to the minors suggest he’s one of them) or heading toward free agency (hello, Jeff Petry). Yakupov tends to get undersold because he’s coming off a bad year, but he was a consensus No. 1 pick for a reason and if it all comes together he’s going to be a scary good player. If he’s available for a useful piece with a lower ceiling, that’s a very interesting deal to me.

Nothing in Lavoie’s report suggests the Oilers are itching to dump Yakupov; he flat out asks if Edmonton is willing to make such a move. All he says is something that we could have inferred without a report – that there are always predatory general managers out there ready to pounce on the sick and the weak and the inexperienced.


  • I can’t see the Oilers trading Yakupov.

    Perron, Petry or Marincin, but the Oilers can’t score 5×5 at the best of time, getting rid of pure goal scorer when he’s so close to turning the corner is such Oiler thing to do.

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    Having said that, Perron and Purcell are on the final two years of there contracts. If you trade Yakupov and both those players leave in two years you’ve just lost three wingers not just one.

  • Spydyr

    Yaks is solid, thick and hits, trading him makes no sense on this team that gets hit and does not return the favour. Better value in trading the smaller Ebs and right handed Petry.

  • I think he will stay. He was put on a system, he bought into the system, he is energetic and knows he has a few little wrinkles to work out of his game so the coach will get him more time. We know he is passionate and wants to play. Our coaches style of play fits yak perfectly and will be beneficial in the coming months.

    Patience everyone, we need to get our team meshed as 1 then start worrying about our superstars getting certain ice time. I was really impressed last game how our D slowed down the play, took control, didn’t panic and showed a lot of confidence in our own end, especially breaking out.

    Leon will score tonight and yak will get 1 goal and 2 assists.

  • Deep Oil

    Can someone please school me on the need to TRADE for a defenceman, when home town boy Johnny Boychuk was available for 2 – 2nd round draft picks ? Oilers are in deep Cap Trouble as time moves on, fans can dream about a trade, but has MacT made that BOLD move yet ?

    Was MacT asleep at the wheel when faceoff expert Manny Maholtra signed for $850K ? Anyone that tells me that they should trade a 4 th round for Brodziak is on crack, if you really want Brodziak, have MN waive him down and bring him back up at 50% off.

    Oilers are better off failing this year and grabbing a top 3 draft, missing the playoffs by 6 points does not help this team.

    Sorry Groundhog day, I mean year……

    • Deep Oil

      Right? I’m just waiting for someone to “legitimately” suggest that we should totally be able to get Toews for Yak.

      No more absurd than some of these other suggestions

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    Sens have a surplus of centres, they currently have 5 in the NHL with another NHL ready one in the AHL. They also have a surplus of average 3rd pairing d-men. I’d love to see Edmonton trade Petry to the Sens for Smith or Pageau and Erik Gryba. You’d shore up your centre position a bit and get replacement for Petry while the Sens would move an extra body and make roster room for Lazar or Hoffman at the NHL level.

  • The Future Never Comes

    If I had the choice to trade Eberle or Yakapov, I would trade Eberle. This is for two very distinct reasons; one, Eberle would bring us in a more mutual deal, like a legit 2C center. Yak is not yet proven and would likely bring in a questionable return. The second reason, you can see the fire burning in Yaks eyes. I think once he comes around he and Hall will be very much on the same page about winning, that integral need to win at whatever cost necessary. I don’t see those animal instincts in Eberle.

  • bradleypi

    I still don’t get why Eakins won’t put perron with yak… with the way Arco is playing this year I think that would be a pretty solid 2nd scoring line… pouliot just can’t keep up to yak… imo

  • bradleypi

    Yakupov, Musil and Simpson for Schenn.

    Draisaitl, Ference, Schultz, 2nd rounder for Suter.

    Resign Petry. Sign the flying fridge.

    Hall Nuge Purcell (speed)
    Poulliot Schenn Eberle (secondary scoring)
    Penner Arcobello Perron (flying fridge and the scrappy midgets)
    Hendricks Gordon Joensuu (defensive specialist/personal heroes)

    Suter Petry (top pairing)
    Marincin Fayne (shutdown)
    Nikitin Osterle/Davidson/Musil (mixed bag)


  • Bob Cobb

    There are many layers to this onion! The deficiencies on this team many. There is no quick fix. No centre depth (even when we are healthy), questionable goal tending, & weak (yet possibly improved defence), not to mention the coaching. We are a playoff team and many of us knew this before the season started. Now the rest of the league and most fans know this as well. We are in a position of weakness when it comes to trades. If there was no Connor McDavid (or a deep draft in 2015) what would the fans think? What if this teams sucks and we don’t win the lottery? What if the #1 pick doesn’t change anything? We have had three and we are still a long way from being a playoff team let alone a contender. There is a serious problem with the Oiler franchise!

  • Livinginthepast

    We are all frustrated with the 8 years of losing and rightfully put that on management. But one thing that I will give the current group credit for is not panicking and making bad trades in the face of public pressure. On bad trade of one of our blue chip prospects could set this rebuild back years.

    So, I would be very surprised if they moved Yakupov for anything less than a very good return. Even a 2C to me is not a fair return for a 1st overall pick. 1st overall picks are top line players and there is no reason to think that Yak cant be just that in time.

    But who know right? Because Oilers…

    • Bob Cobb

      ^^ This. As frustrating as this is, I will give credit for mgmt not fire selling in panic.

      GMs are apparently complaining that MacT ‘overvalues’ his players. (via Kipper).

      I say good. I hope MacT has that reputation.

      Realistically we have no hope of playoffs this year in the murderers row that is the Pacific. So as strange as it sounds, we are in no rush.

      The Islanders made a series of trades in the early 2000s that took them over a decade to recover from. Yashin for Chara and a 1st (Spezza). WOW… They are still paying out Yashin to not play.

      Chara & Spezza on the Islanders since the mid 2000s would have completely changed the eastern conference the last decade.

      In the midst of all the deficiencies, crony-ism and dumb signings, the stubborn attachment to 1st overall draft picks is something to be applauded.

  • Bob Cobb

    Suter?????Malkin?????? What the hell are you guys smoking up there?? This isn’t the 90’s or 2000’s and you aren’t Toronto taking Calgary to the cleaners.

  • Love the screen cap from Better off Ted. Best comedy that no one ever watched! it sounds like the Oilers aren’t impressed with the offers that they’ve had for Eberle, so maybe Yak’s time has come. Perron might be an interesting trade chip though, based on his performance last season and his contract. Whatever it takes. Get these boys another center already!

  • Derzie

    Try something.Call someone who doesn’t live in Edmonton. Random number. Tell them you are toying with the idea of an Ovie or a Malkin for one of your prospects. Make sure you use caller ID block because if not, the listener will be dialing 911 on the other line to report a lunatic. Stop talking so crazy, unless you are being ironic and doing some sort of crafty blogging satire. Aim lower.

  • Kevwan

    By the time our center depth gets to the point where it is very good our developing wingers should be awesome, all around players. Honestly, with Yak and Eberle’s upside I wouldn’t trade either one (in a package deal of course) for even a Joe Thorton. Who I also really have always liked, but he is on the downside of his career. The Oilers are maybe 3 or 4 years away from being an elite team (that is, if MacT continues to make really good decisions, going forward).
    I know how people feel and I am tired and with a loss doubts start to preoccupy my mind. I mainly worry about the pyschy (especially the young core) of our team. Particularly, if we are not regularly, game in game out, competitive this year. An injury or two could significantly hinder the progress that is being made, just like the LA game would seem to prove. With what we have today we fight for a playoff position. This is the first year where we are not dominated in terms of zone time and shots by our opposition. This is the best hockey team we have seen, in Edmonton, in what feels like a long long time.

  • Bucknuck

    Some of these trade speculations are ludicrous. Yakupov would get you a second line centre at best.

    I don’t support doing that trade unless it looks like Yak will want stupid money this off-season or the second line centre is a beast.

    Eberle has been in the top ten in scoring for right wingers for three years in a row. TOP TEN consistently… and that’s the guy they want to trade!? It’s ridiculous.

    Yakupov is not better, does not project to be better, and does not deserve a slot on the top line. He will be a good second line centre in this league. Eberle is a far superior player.

  • Derzie

    Yak has some toughness and grit. Eberle unfortunately is the one that should be traded.Unlee he is hiding a injury has play has dropped off dramatically.Eberle Petry and a pick should garner some interest.Any Ference taking GMs out there?

  • Zarny

    Of course teams are interested in Yakupov. He is incredibly skilled and will be a very good to excellent player when he hits his prime.

    You can teach defense; you can’t teach skill.

  • Kevwan

    Yukopov was playing well and scoring a bunch with Kreuger as the coach.

    Nail will score 50-60 goals one day, he’s exciting player. When he has chemistry with his line mates, a good passer, Nail will score goals.

    The guy is passion about hockey.

    Eakins is screwing up his game, most people in NHL agree that Eakins is not NHL coach yet.

    I m an Oilers fan in Toronto, the people in hockey here are saying Oilers need a real NHL coach to get this team into playoffs.

    Keep the team as it is, many teams would love to have the Oilers players on their team now.

    The fans there are driving players away by constantly blaming the players. Get a good coach then this team will win.