As if there wasn’t enough to think about, the Edmonton Oilers are going to have to make a decision on Nail Yakupov in 2015. Do they sign him or trade him? Could they receive real value in a deal? If they can’t, and decide to bring him back, how much should the contract pay annually? Will the KHL come calling? And of course the biggest question of all: Is Nail Yakupov part of the solution?

matty yakupov

Sure. However, part of Yakupov’s issue is opportunity. How many minutes, who he’s playing with, that kind of thing. It can have an impact.

henderson yakupov

Matt Henderson’s tweet and article the other day focuses the issue nicely. The Oilers (correctly) drafted Yak City No. 1 overall in 2012, but that meant he was going to play a secondary role to the players who were an established part of the young cluster. In fact, since arriving as GM, Craig MacTavish added David Perron, Benoit Pouliot and Teddy Purcell to the group of wingers that includes Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.

There are a lot of options beyond the young Russian, meaning Yakupov isn’t getting supreme linemates and opportunities.


yakupov even wowy

I think this shows Nail’s season well: He plays most often with Mark Arcobello, and Leon Draisaitl is the second most often used C. That’s the ‘mud’ portion of the depth chart and I’d argue that Nail’s positive attitude in being used this way is a real sign of maturity.

The results need to be there, though. I absolutely believe a Draisaitl—Yakupov combo will be deadly one day soon, but this team is going to fracture before these kids can get there, and that’s surely not their fault. Nail’s 5×5 offense is not progressing.



  • 2012-13: 2.14
  • 2013-14: 1.45
  • 2014-15: 1.27

That’s not going to cut it, but as mentioned this goes both ways. Nail isn’t scoring, but he’s also not playing on a line with Michail Grabovski and David Perron every night.

dreger messier

I imagine a trade involving Philadelphia is for a defender, but the Rangers are the obvious spot for Yakupov.


Let’s go back to the top and see if we can answer these questions. 

  1. Do they sign him or trade him? I think the answer is sign him.
  2. Could they receive real value in a deal? I don’t think so. He just hasn’t shown enough, and it’s a downward trend despite real improvement.
  3. If they can’t, and decide to bring him back, how much should the
    contract pay annually?
    A one-year deal ala Justin Schultz’ current deal. 
  4. Will the KHL come calling? Surely.
  5. Is Nail Yakupov part of the solution? Yes. I believe he is.

We wait. 

  • camdog

    Oiler fans have a history of wanting the coaching staff to give certain skilled players more opportunity and blaming the coaching staff when that player fails. Omark and Schremp spring to mind. What did those players do once traded to other organizations?..

    This is on Yakupov. If he was showing flashes of brilliance further down the line up he’d be bumped up immediately. He isn’t. What worries me about his game isn’t his defensive awareness or his play away from the puck it’s his inability to beat any defenders one on one. It’s a very tough league to beat players one on one no doubt but he can’t beat them with speed to the outside and he can’t take it through them to the inside. He can’t create his own offensive opportunities. That’s troubling for a fist overall pick. Maybe he’ll be a great triggerman one day finding soft spots in the defence and using his quick release. But right now the trade value of a shooter who doesn’t score is low.

    In fairness to the Oilers, Yakupov’s draft class was weak. They felt that Ryan Murray would become a steady reliable NHL defenceman but not the sort of blue liner you burn a #1 pick on. Galchenyk probably would have been the better choice but coming off a season he barely played would have been very risky. Jacob Trouba would have been the right choice in hindsight but if the Oilers called his name on draft day they would have been torched for it.

  • Jordanzza

    The crazy thing about our 14 regulation losses is the number of blowouts we have suffered, which I define as losing by 3 or more goals.

    We’ve had 7 blowouts where the scores on average have been 1.7 goals for to 5.4 against.

    We’ve also lost 5 one goal games by an average of 2.2 – 3.2.

    The other two losses were ironically shutouts of 0-2 at the hands of the Canucks and the Devils.

    I’ve loved our last two games since the 1-7 drubbing by the Hawks. Against two of the best teams in the league in Nashville and St. Louis we’ve played a full 60 on back to back nights no less and gotten a loser point. If they keep that effort up more consistently, I can easily see us clawing our way back to .500 with the team we have now.

    Sure we aren’t a playoff team this year, but if we can finish December a little closer to .500, then we won’t be too far behind Sharks sitting at 11-10-4 at 2 points back of the last wild card right now.

    With 14 games and 28 points in December up for grabs, a run of 4-6-4 would give us 28 points and 10-20-8 to close out 2014.


    Nothing to write home about but improves on last seasons 25 points – well short of the the 39 we had in as many games of the shortened season under Krugz prior.

    With winnable games versus the Avs, Wings, Panthers, Lightning and the Capitals, the opening 10 game segment of 2015 could be huge:


    If we went 6-2-2 and took 14 out of 20 points, that would get us to 42 points and 16-22-10 with two games left in January.

    At that point we would be improving from last years 35, and sniffing the 45 points we had after 48 games in 2012-13 with Krueger.

    If we can at least be playing meaningful games in the new year and finish the season around 80 or 82 points, that will be a huge step in the right direction and maybe be around 10th in the west?

    If MacT can pull the trigger on a deal that vastly improves the team in terms of a bonafide top pairing D or legit journeyman 2nd line Centre then he should deal from a position of strength to do so. That means sitting pat and waiting until the trade deadline to maximize return and get a firmer grasp of who isn’t part of the picture in 2015-16.

    So I don’t think he should drastically alter the makeup of a team that currently 17th in the league in shots per game at 29.9 …


    … and 15th in Corsi at 50.8% …


    … while dead last in PDO : http://www.sportingcharts.com/nhl/stats/team-pdo-numbers-save-plus-shooting-percentage/2014/

    Sure, you’ve got to be good to be lucky but eventually we’re are gonna start consistently stopping more pucks and putting more in at the other end.

    I’d argue this team, as it stands now has the potential to be a bubble sniffer, and will be best served in the long run by letting this coach and these players figure out a way to win more 3-2 games.

    We’re a lot closer than you think, and I worry making trades out of frustration with our record, ignores the strides we have been making lately.

  • Jordanzza

    I m telling all of you Yakupov will score 50 goals in a season one day.

    Eakins is not the coach Yakupov can blossom into that kind of a scorer when he is not playing with creative center and winger to pass the puck to him.

    This team is wasting away top draft picks after draft picks, finishing bottom of NHL so many years.

    He is a scorer let him fly then other teams worry about checking him then that’s take away his defensive responsibility because he’s on the attack and not defending.

  • nuge2drai


    9 straight losses…

    9 years out of the playoffs…

    9 more months before a meaningful game to watch…

    I’m honestly surprised the writers on this site still come up with stuff to write…

    This team sucks, fire everyone, blah blah blah…

  • nuge2drai

    His stock is low, I’d say the best move is to try a sign him to a long term deal at best price possible (4-5 million?).

    Could pay off large once he finds a centre to click with (I think it could still be RNH) and at worst he will be a decent 2nd liner and the price won’t be too far out of line. He will always have value cause he does have strong skill and seems like a good team guy. Signing at a low point can pay off huge…

    Perspective: He’s 21, likely to peak 5-8 years from now.

    Do not trade him when his value is in question, Mac T please be smarter than that.

    Yak RNH Purcell
    Ebs Arco Hall

    • Zamboni Driver

      I’m sorry, this is just the most moronic argument ever.

      “Sure he is on pace for 11 goals, but there is a really good chance that he’ll be awesome, so pay him an @ss-load of money…because once he has it, he’ll really take off.”


      Dustin Penner

  • nuge2drai

    So it seems some are suggesting Yakupov is a bust? hmm. I think he is a 21 year old, who struggled with the language last year, didn’t fit in and become drinking buddies with some of the core and now he hasn’t helped with the secondary scoring and he’s a bust?

    Sorry don’t buy it. He’s a good family kid with a great attitude instilled by his parents and he loves the game. Sure he is struggling but so is half the team. He has talent you can’t teach, he is willing to learn, he has stopped some of the mistakes he make after 2 seasons but yet other core players are still making the same mistakes after 5 years. hmmm.

    Yakupov has 3 goals, Eberle has 4, Eberle is a core player, a “leader” and makes 6 million a season, why aren’t more people commenting on that instead of Yakupov?

    • dougtheslug



      Spank in this order,Hall 50 strokes for being the Spoiled 1st-born he is loved for being ,Ebbs 51 strokes{one more than his Pal cause he knows better},Schultz 5 strokes for fighting to much .Nuge 1 stroke or he will kick your ass for not punishing him enough.Nail 1 stroke for being so well behaved.Draisaitl 1/2 stroke for being the Drama-King Center of Attention and always trying to hog the Limelight.

      If spankings dont work , then trade from most stroked downwards until attitudes adjust.

      The spankings shall continue with free lodging at the Red-arse Motel for those slow to adjust or with thicker skins or craniums.

      Their is special kind of nasty a sweaty,sneaky,slightly cheezy smelling nasty kind of like Dave Lumley used to have as a Player and the Oilers are lacking in this area they call “greasy”.”Compete” rhymes with “defeat”…”Win” rhymes with “sin”.

      Hopefully the spankings bring out a little Nasty.

    • Harry2

      Eberles goal total has nothing to do with if yaks living up to his potential or not. U can’t justify one player by saying well hey this player isn’t doing anything either. I was very high on yaks potential and he may well be a 25-30 goal guy one day but if we’re being honest he’s probably the weakest 1st overall pick of atleast the last decade

    • BubbaZanetti

      I’ve been saying this since last year. Eberle is a good player but not good enough. Trade him for legit center and move Perron onto the first line and yaks on the second with the new nhl calbre center men. This will work.

      Eberle doesn’t bring enough to the table. He needs to go.

  • nuge2drai

    OKC is 11-4-2-2 with 26 points (3rd in conference), let Nelson come up to coach the big club. Bring Eakins down there to coach the Barons.

    Nelson has done a good job year after year and making playoffs. He has no top picks in line up and big club always taking his players away.

    Nelson has adapt and evolve as a coach and his players also, win with what they have.

    MacT are you paying attention?

  • nuge2drai

    I think MacT, KBLowe and Howson are probably in bunker mode and have taken on an “us against the world” mentality, where their failures are not theirs but lower down peons in the organisation – like a goalie coach.

    They probably are desperate to redeem themselves and restore their reputations in Edmonton and the hockey community and will therefore “stay the course” until they win a cup (which will never happen on their watch).

    2006 is all the justification they need to think they have the skills to do it.

    In other words Oiler fans, we are f*cked.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    “The Oilers (correctly) drafted Yak City No. 1 overall in 2012”

    Wrong, if there was a redraft Yak wouldn’t even go top 10. Forsberg would go number one, Trouba, Hertl, Galchenyuk, Murray 2-5, Maatta, Pearson and a few others would round out the top 10.

    No one wants this useless, lazy player. Waste of a first overall imo. Nail Bustupov, Nail Daigle, call him whatever you want, he’s a disappointment.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Sign,Nail,20 minutes later skid Eakins,20 minutes later announce a Hall/Ference trade to Buffalo,20 minutes later announce K-Lowe is moving forward to establish and support and NHL team in Quebec,now that is how you create a WIN in 60 minutes.Time to make the tough decisions.

  • Anton CP

    I like Nail even back to his junior days. Three years ago that I was hoping that Oilers will not win the first overall pick, then after I was hoping Oilers would trade that first overall pick, then I was hoping Oilers will not draft Yak. None of those happened unfortunately, I knew that he will be wasted by playing for Oilers because he has no place on this team. However when Krueger was in charge and the way he used Yak that I have some hope, until last year when Eakins completely mishandled Yak and threw him under the bus. I was hoping that they would trade away Yak last year, and now I’m afraid he will be another young potential player has his career assassinated by Oilers…

    At this point that Yak should seriously think of his own future, he will not go back to Russia to play in KHL unless he is out of options. Can anyone imagine how a teenager was so determine to play in NHL that willing to leave his own country travel to the other side of the world without able to speak the language by playing North American junior team so he can be ready for the major? He wants to stay in North America, he wants to play in NHL. Please just trade him away already, for Yak’s sake.

    Also, this is forecasting on Draisaitl’s future. Two years from now that you will hear Oilers’ fans crying about how it was a bad draft and Bennett, Nylander, Ritchie, and Kapanen should drafted ahead of Draisaitl. Remember this, because it will happen in two year. Anyone who complain about the players that Oilers drafted need to know this, it is not the players who failed this team, it is how this team has failed on them. Draft them with high expectation, play them with tough opposition, developed them with wrong direction, treat them with bad intention, and then dump them with horrible decision. Come next year, repeat, and again, and again, and again…this team is just clueless.

    2007 Edmonton drafted Gagner ahead of Voracek, Couture, McDonagh, Shattenkirk. The better option as for today: Ryan McDonagh. then drafted Plante ahead of well, Riley Nash, then drafted ahead of Pacioretty, Perron, Subban. The better would be Riley first then Pacioretty. the drafted Omark ahead of Faulk and Benn which would be the better option. However, here’s something you should know: only Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner came directly into NHL two who did not spend any time in minor at all. So what happened? Gagner wasted 7 years to try to learn how to play the game and Kane was the Conn Smythe. All other named players learn to fix their games in minor, junior, or college. Gagner never had that chance to be developed properly. Paajavi was a different story, he spent too many years in SEL, once he is here that he should be playing from AHL to start with. At time that Oilers have Penner and Hall, there was no room for him to play. This is quite similar to what is happening to Yak. Oilers choose to play him but he was unable to play up to the unrealistic expectations and eventually he was dumped to Blues for Perron.

  • 99thOilerfan

    From opening sentence of blog: “…the Edmonton Oilers are going to have to make a decision on Nail Yakupov in 2015.”

    No way. All future Edmonton draftees and acquisitions will have to have to make a decision on playing for Oilers first. Not the way around!

    Yakupov: 7 pts so far this year & 62 pts since drafted. -46 ouch.

    Galchenyuk: 14 pts so far this year & 72 pts since drafted. Never played his natural C position.

    We can see that if Yakupov played for the Nabs he would/could theoretically benefit from more playing time as a #1 overall pick, therefore having more opportunities and ICE TIME that could sway his total points towards 11. Not 62.

    This alone proves that coveted UFAs, RFAs as well as higher draft picks should be very very cautious about playing in Edmonton under the present organization regime.

    In english: Player beware about prospects of becoming a Mighty Oiler…

    • 99thOilerfan

      My last comment at #66 has a typo. Should read “therefore having more opportunities and ICE TIME that could sway his total points towards 100 Not 62.”


      BTW Draistl will get himself into a downward spiral from which he will not recover, becoming Yaks 2.0

      Ebs, Hall & the Nuge will never become “game changers” that lead from the front with this amateur management group. Sorry.

    • 99thOilerfan

      My last comment at #66 has a typo. Should read “therefore having more opportunities and ICE TIME that could sway his total points towards 100 Not 62.”


      BTW Draistl will get himself into a downward spiral from which he will not recover, becoming Yaks 2.0

      Ebs, Hall & the Nuge will never become “game changers” that lead from the front with this amateur management group. Sorry.

  • charlie manson

    I think that a KHL clip was needed to showcase a Yak highlight tells a tail. In about 2 years of play in the NHL we are still waiting for a highlight type play. Nail has never really shown high level NHL ability. His shot is often brought up. I would suggest he has a hard shot, but he has trouble getting it off quickly enough and on the net.

    Every so often the consensus BPA turns about to be a dud and this may be one of those. Typical Oiler luck.

  • charlie manson

    When Yak first came to the league he was having fun,doing what he did best…now he looks like he’s skating on egg shells.I’m scared he’ll get traded and be a 30 a year goal scorer.

  • Nomad787

    No one on the Oilers has suffered more from the lack of centre depth than Yak. He will only improve, how good was Nuge in year three? Yak will be an impact player, hopefully by next year but for sure by year 5, when Draisatl is improved giving the Oilers two legit consistent scoring lines. Eberle is the redundancy on this team. Yak plays a different game.

    Eberle passes or stick handles his way out of scoring chances more than anyone, that line with Hall would be better with a simpler north south winger.

  • Serious Gord

    I think Philly is the trade partner that fits best with Edmonton. My thought is Yakupov for Couturier. Couturier Big, young, C with high hopes coming from draft (though slid down draft order), and has stabilized himself into 2-3C role very well. Yakupov- we all know about- and maybe time with Giroux or Voracek will unlock his offensive talent. It seems as if we are trading the best player, but based on need and team structure, Couturier would be a solid option for years to come. 3 C moving forward would be RNH, Couturier and Draisaitl. Looks good to me. Only way this won’t work is if Oilers Management believe they have solid shot at top 2 picks 2015 with McDavid or Eichel and its a 4 sure, which based on new draft lottery system, the Oiler may not be picking 1st even if they end up last.

  • MorningOwl

    BABY NUGE and Hall are both elite play makers. Why not roll Yak attack on the 1st line with them for 10 games. It’s win win. Dr Dri would have a more experienced winger in Eberle and Perron.

    A third line of Purcell Acro and Poulet. (The Pap smear line).Would be a very effective.

    After 10 games Yak should have turned around.

    • camdog

      Clique ity clique is why Yak can’t play with any of those 3.

      It would be interesting to see what Yak would do playing with an NHL centre. Sad but since Horcoff left, we haven’t had that option.

        • camdog

          Clique: In the social sciences, a clique (CanE, UK /ˈkliːk/ or US /ˈklɪk/) is a group of people who interact with each other more regularly and intensely than others in the same setting.

          Click:to cause (something) to make a short, sharp sound

          On an aside it would be good for the “TEAM” to brake those 3 up.

          • camdog

            There is a poisonous culture within this organisation that starts with Lowe/Mact. It’s a belief that certain skilled players are more important to winning than other players. This culture has been rampant throughout the organisation for 9 years now.

            Anybody who remembers Mact’s comments when Glencross left the organisation will understand what I am stating. Something around the lines of “those types of players are a dime a dozen.”

            Before this team can move up in the standings they must learn to play for each other, this can’t happen if management is fostering this poisonous atmosphere.

            If fans feel offended by the Tier 1 and Tier 2 comment, imagine how the Tier 2 players feel playing behind the likes of Shultz, Eberle, Hall and RNH. Now this isn’t a shot at the players as it may appear, this is a shot at management for fostering this hostile environment.

  • MorningOwl

    Youre asking if Yak is part of the solution……….he may not be

    But he real question, “is management part of the problem”

    If you answer yes, then what does Yak have to do with the solution….nice try trying to divert our attention away from the real problem.


  • MorningOwl

    I would like to see the experiment of Hall, Hopkins and Yak on the 1st line. I just feel that they could compliment each other with their speed, creativeness and skill. Plus if their is a dressing room concern, maybe by playing on the same line will help.

    Perron and Eberle; as much as I like them, is grossly under-performing. They need to be sent a message along with a few other Oilers.

    I cannot say enough about Gordon and Hendricks. The heart and effort that they put in on a nightly basis is truly and bright spot for the Oilers.

  • Harry2


    How in the hell can you write in your article that Yak is worth 3+ million per season!?

    That kind of evaluation is beyond stupidity and his numbers prove it. A third line winger with boxcars like Yak’s don’t make near 4 million per season.

    Get a grip

    • Spydyr

      Purcell and Poulet! 4 and 5 million.

      Add the Draft pedigree. If Yak signs for less than 5m larinov is a damn fool.

      Besides Yaks Khl offers will be in the 5m range.

  • S cottV

    Since we are out of the playoffs, why not play Yak on the top line with Hall and Hopkins?

    Give him a go with the best we have and see what it looks like, to determine next steps.

    Hope for a bump in trade value.

    I don’t see much hope beyond better trade value, but give it a chance.

    Arco and certainly Leon – are not strong enough to carry Yak’s weaknesses.

  • Spydyr

    So the Oil send Messier to scout the Flyers for a possible trade. What is wrong with this picture.

    A real organization would have sent a person who makes their living evaluating hockey players not a friend of the family.

  • Spydyr

    The #Oilers have placed Jesse Joensuu on waivers for the purpose of assignment and assigned Martin Marincin to the AHL’s @OKCBarons.

    Well at least Marty will get to play.

      • Spydyr

        When did the Oilers start to develop players?

        The team told Marty to put on weight.He did and showed up to camp fat and out of shape.That does not fly with Mr.Fitness.Now Marty’s sideburns are too long.

        He is better than at least two guys playing every night on the Oilers defence.Why not play the players that give you the best chance of winning.Unless your plan is not to win…wink ,wink McDavid.

  • Spydyr

    Of all the 1st overall this past decade. How many has been at least given 18 minutes per game and placed on the 1st PP? Nail rarely has been over 18 minutes per game and everyone should read this article.


    Tarasenko will be 23 in a few days, Evgeny Kuznetsov will be 23 in june. Nail just turned 21 in October. nail never consistently play with our top centerman. Nail came in and nver really had an older Russian that could mentor him. I have know proof but i don’t see the core players embrasing Nail and helping him coop and succeed I feel we should show patience

    I don’t blame Nail if he does not come back to us after this season. Player accountability and having a good Russian mentor like Horcoff did for Hall and Eberle, would have eased him in properly. We failed him. JMHO

    • Yup.

      But I dont think Nail is going anywhere.

      Be bold and can Eakins,shock the roster and skid Hall and lets get on with trying to build a Playoff team.If Nuge or Ebbs still have the “sickness” then move them one by one,if Halls skidding doesnt wake them up them move em to.

      1st man in is 1st man out….Hall is on deck now.

      We should have a very nice Draft position,and be in a position of power offering Hall to a Playoff team this season,he IS a GAMEBREAKER on any team in the NHL.

      In terms of Playoff teams Taylor is what takes you over the top,no one can mess with chemistry unless a true impact player is inserted,Hall is this man.

      Nail is in high demand,even though he hasnt been treated right his value has not dropped in fact it has risen because of how stand-up he has been dealing with his challenges, and because of the obvious and dramatic changes he has made to his game,he has now shown all NHL managers how tough he is mentally and how mature he is,Nail is already showing flashes of being a better 2-way plyer than Hall is or Ebbs is,Nail is physical and fearless .

  • BubbaZanetti

    Nail broke into the NHL on a team which was internally transitioning in the Leadership and Coaching departments,during Nails Rookie year Sam Gagner was evolving into a leader in the room and was mentoring Nail, Krueger had just began to communicate optimally with his Roster and things were improving exponentially when everything got blown up,Ralph got canned,Eakins was hired,Sams jaw was shattered,his Coach had no idea how his Roster worked and didnt care entering the equation planning to blow it up.Sam was gone the day Dallas was hired as were the rest of the roster,one by one they were picked off.

    Then Dallas picked the Kid who stood strong nd loyal behind his former temmates and for doing so Eakins whipped him mercilessly in the Media and Professionally.NHL teams would gladly save any of our Core from the mess they have been put into.

    I believe the mishandeling of Nail fed the demons in the locker-room and it bonded Hall and Dallas into an unholy alliance,send them both packing.

    Time for a clean slate.

    Nail is definately a part of the solution and will one day be scoring Playoff goals in an Oilers uniform.

    Hall gets you a #1 d-man or a top 20 LW or Centerman + a roster player.

    • BubbaZanetti

      Yak is not the problem IMO. He hasn’t been put in the position to succeed or fail. I guess we’re still “sheltering” him? But who has been put forth to lead this team….the “sacred core” , Hall, Nuge,Eberle and Schultz. I guess Yak can be part of the “second core”, which will include himself, Leon, Nurse and Macdavid. Then we will have two awesome “core’s ” leading us. And then in a couple of years we draft a bunch more first picks and then we could have a “third core” which would definately make the Oilers the greatest team ever assembled.
      Please excuse my ridiculous sarcasm, tired of hearing about core players, no such thing, a team is a team. The first line isn’t getting it done.
      That is where the trade talk needs to start.

      • BubbaZanetti

        A team this bad should have no cores LOL everyone should be avaiable in a trade, and yes even Taylor Hall. The Bruins traded Seguin and Joe Thornton. I think the management here is afraid of moving any of the “sacred core”, as it would deem managemment as failures as well.