WWYDW: Nail Yakupov


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.

The Problem

riddler 10.22.2014

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.

  • Bucknuck

    I hear NYI is full of centerman. Maybe try and get something going with them.

    I am sure they would freaking jump at Ebs. I would not even want to see it. Ebs would go on to score 100 points playing alongside Tavares.

    But again, I would offer them Perron, and maybe a 2nd rounder for Ryan Strome.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    With Draisaitl soon leaving Nail will just fade off into the distance under Dallas Eakins. His third season here and the coaches haven’t found a place on this team yet. Only in Edmonton is the newbie coach more valuable than a first overall selection.

    Get ready to see how impressed Nail is with this organization now that his ELC is expiring.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    You’ve got to get a bit more spine JDub.

    Tell us what you really think.

    Trading Yak now is the stupidest stupid thing anyone could do, which is why the Oilers will do it.

    Then re-sign Jultz, because he’s so lazy.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The Oilers do not need to make a trade involving Nail or anyone else.

    They and every NHL team have a roster of capable players who under the right circumstnces in the right environment with the right life-support can compete in the Stanley Cup Final.

    The Oilers are in an excellent position it is becoming increasingly clear that the simple evolution and maturity of Hall-Nuge-Ebbs-Nail-J Schultz ,the process itself, is going to by proxy create enough momentum to put the Oilers into Playoff contention now not later.

    We can see that the core is now strong and mature and seasoned enough to overcome mistakes.

    Nail is a critical part of this core and can not be traded,no one can be.

    Sign him long term, spread his minutes out with Ebbs on the 1st line,make it happen,Nuge and Hall CAN work with Yak to shore up the backchecking and defensive side of the game when they play together.

    This group COULD be the type which can enter the Playoffs and go DEEP right of the bat.

    No major core moves can be made until this group has shown the ability to make the playoffs consistantly,then the Big Kahuna trade to go over the top always has to be made,but until then the Core Players ALL need the right environment to grow and compete in internally which is SECURE and allows them to make a case for themselves to NOT be the man moved once they are a Playoff team looking to make the big move.

    I want to see Nail and Ebbs compete and anchor the top 2 lines in the NHL,I want them to be used interchangably 100% on a line 1 and a line 1-A.I would never move one of these guys,getting this much RW depth with the future years and potential ceilings of these guys rarely happens.

    We need a LW to push Hall and become interchangeable as well now.

    In the NHL a Championship team does not create situtions where individual players carry so much internal value that removing them collapsses everything,Winning teams are not one dimensional,so Nail and Jordan Eberle are critical to the Oilers future.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Do what you must but do NOT trade away 2nd round pick (or any pick for that matter) from this draft. This draft is SO strong, it is the kind of draft where you get Shae Weber in the middle of the 2nd round. I know it sounds hilarious to say that, but this draft is supposed to be the equal of the vaunted 2003 draft.

    (I’m not saying we’re going to find him there, but if that is what we need and superstars fall off trees in a draft year such as this one, then do the opposite and stockpile them!)

    To my great surprise, even though the Oilers have traditionally given equal value to all draft years’ picks…and have gotten burned by teams that understand that – they have actually done the wise thing so far this year…

    They actually have extra picks, if my memory is correct – and have yet to move them, as they did last year when our second round pick was burning a hole in management’s pocket and they HAD TO spend it no matter the value they seemed to get in return. Still, I don’t want to harp on last year… I want to commend the Oilers on recognizing that this year’s draft is VERY IMPORTANT to the whole NHL. The teams that do the best will be set, if they hang on to them or acquire them when they become available. (See: Philly/L.A.)

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    I think we will be keeping Draisaitl up. I do not totally agree with it, but based on his minutes and usage, I think Eakins and MacT will keep him, and make no moves at this point. That of course could change in 5 games.

    If they do take Draisaitl up past 9 games, I could see them still pulling the trigger on a Center, and moving Draisaitl to the wing. He was basically playing wing against Washington anyway.

  • Rdubb

    If i were the gm of the oilers, i think that i’d most definately keep him right now, & my reason for this is largely due to his increased willingness to play the system that has been put in front of him by the coaching staff. Nail’s play thus far this season has been a remarkable improvement over last year. Yak is hussleing his rear end off this year to back check & or take his man coming into the defensive zone, something which he didn’t do @ all last season as he’d have swearved off looking for a breakout pass before the oilers even had the puck.
    One player i would deal right now is Petry, and that is ONLY because of his current deal which, as we all know, expires @ years end. BUT, if i was able to sign him to a 2 or 3 year extension for in and around $3.5-$4.0M per, than i’d keep him, unless there was a deal which a signifigant player was coming back in return, like a truly legitimate 2nd line C on a top tier team, not just a 2nd line C for the oilers…

  • Zarny

    I think fundamentally the first question is should the Oilers react to the slow start. Your answer probably depends on your expectations.

    The problems are not new. To date, Paajarvi + 2nd round pick is the only instance the Oilers have surrendered an asset of value to address the problems. Otherwise the organization has been content to peddle pocket change to patch holes and wait for prospects.

    2-4-1 to start year 5 of the rebuild is where that has got them. The underlying numbers suggest the Oilers are better than last year. That could be 20th place this year but could also be 27th. Some will be content to wait some more. Others will rather peddle more 4th round picks for a low-end, short term fix.

    My feelings haven’t changed from last year or the summer. When you see how beneficial adding a player like Perron has been I think it’s a no-brainer to trade an asset of value to address the problems.

    That process would include determining the market value for Yakupov, Eberle, Petry, Perron, the 2015 and 2016 1st round picks as well as the Marincin and Klefbom.

    The final answer depends on what you get in return. You don’t trade Yakupov or Eberle for Cal Clutterbuck. If a package with either though convinces Arz to move OEL you do it in a heartbeat.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    I cannot believe there are people that have watched the last 3 years of Oilers hockey, and are saying Yakupov is more valuable than Eberle.

    This is just rediculous. Ebs is playing like royal dog sh*t so far this year, but is playing banged-up. Yakupov is playing better, but is still not a guy who is overwhelming opposing teams. Far from it.

    Yeah, Eberle does get more TOI. Because he has earned that by scoring points consistantly over the past few seasons. Yakupov has been given opportunities aplenty over that same timespan, and flat out disappointed. There was a reason he was healthy scratched last year. Not because his coach was being a bully. It was because he was horrible wherever he was put in the line-up. A decent start to this season and people think he is the next Ovechkin??

    He is actually much closer to becoming Pavol Brendl, and being a prolific junior scorer, that could not make the transition to the NHL. His game has improved, but it would be hard for it to have been any worse than it was last year.

    I take Eberle on my wing over Yakcity any day of the week.