Nail Yakupov’s place in both the NHL and as a member of the Edmonton Oilers is one that’s been given a lot of scrutiny since even before he was drafted. Some talking heads like to rip the Oilers for selecting Yakupov rather than a defenceman at the 2012 Draft, and generally add that trading him for help elsewhere is a thoroughly logical move. Others don’t understand why taking the consensus No. 1 pick was so controversial and are leery of moving out a forward with his incredible offensive potential.
In this week’s edition of What Would You Do Wednesday we look ahead and ask what should be done with Yakupov’s future.
It’s well known that Edmonton has strength on the wings and weaknesses at centre and on defence on the NHL roster currently (though interesting, the prospect system is heavy on defencemen and features some strong centre possibilities, but virtually no wingers).
The first question to be answered is whether or not Yakupov should be traded. If the answer is yes, the second question is where he should be dealt and what for.
If, on the other hand, the answer is that Edmonton should keep Yakupov, that raises other points. Are there other players the team should be dealing instead? Where should Yakupov slot in the lineup so as to best unlock his potential and at the same time help the team? His entry-level contract ends this summer; how much is he going to produce this season and what kind of deal should the Oilers offer him?
In some ways, trading him is the easy answer, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right one. The harder route is keeping him on the team and finding a way to develop him into the player that his junior numbers say he can be.
We look forward to the Nation’s solutions.
RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS
- Significant trade interest in Nail Yakupov?
- It’s time to end the Leon Draisaitl experiment, at least for this year
- Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse and the return to junior
- What now for the Edmonton Oilers?
- Where does Luke Gazdic fit on this team?
- The Oilers need at least one good left-side defenceman
- Follow Jonathan Willis on Twitter