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?
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.
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.
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.
5X5 POINTS PER 60, NAIL YAKUPOV
- 2012-13: 2.14
- 2013-14: 1.45
- 2014-15: 1.27
WHAT TO DO?
Let’s go back to the top and see if we can answer these questions.
- Do they sign him or trade him? I think the answer is sign him.
- 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.
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.
- Will the KHL come calling? Surely.
- Is Nail Yakupov part of the solution? Yes. I believe he is.