Edmonton Oilers re-sign Nail Yakupov


Well, that was fast. On Monday the Edmonton Oilers announced that 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov had agreed to a two-year contract extension with the team. 

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The club did not release contract terms when they announced the deal, but TSN’s Ryan Rishaug offered a good guess early and then Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman revealed the final figure:

It’s a departure from Edmonton’s usual treatment of its top young players. The Oilers have typically preferred long-term, big-money deals early, as we saw with Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Yakupov is a different player and has had a more difficult learning curve than that trio, so the Oilers have wisely opted to take a more cautious approach in his case. 

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Yakupov’s combination of physical skills is obvious. He’s a gifted skater, plays an energetic physical game and his shot sets him apart as a special player, even if it’s a talent he hasn’t truly harnessed yet. We started to see him used more effectively on the power play in the latter half of the year, and he got a nice bump early playing with Derek Roy (though the Oilers both can and should look into upgrading Yakupov’s centre). The potential is clear, and it seems he’s beginning to realize it. 

He’s also a combined minus-68 over the last two seasons. There are a lot of reasons for that which aren’t necessarily on Yakupov, but hockey sense and playing within a team structure have not been strengths in his early career, and I can only imagine what his tendency to carry the puck into traffic in the defensive zone is doing to the cardiac health of his coaches and managers. For all his ability, he’s still a flawed player who needs veteran mentors on the ice and a coach willing to work through his unique approach to the game. He seemed to be getting that treatment late in the year; it’s imperative that it continue. 

The good news for Oilers fans today is that the team hasn’t given up. Yakupov is sealed for two more seasons, and Edmonton will retain control of his rights for two more years after that. The price-point in the here-and-now is reasonable under the circumstances, particularly if Yakupov continues to grow as a player. 

All-in-all it’s not a bad day for the team or the player. Because of the uniqueness of the situation, these negotiations had at least the potential to go sideways, but both parties seem interested in making this marriage work.

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  • Serious Gord

    Good news is it’s a reasonable deal under the circumstances.

    The much worse news is that this demonstrates that klowe and mact aren’t going to be fired and that the Audit was/is a sham.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Good signing. Obviously we wouldn’t give him hall,nuge and ebs money because he hasn’t produced like them.

    He’s gonna be a stud. cant believe our fan base wanted to give up on him so early in his career.Eakins tried to make him a 3rd line checking winger and played him less than 10 minutes some nights. He wasnt exactly put in a position to succeed or develop at all.

    Love how close he is with Nelson. He calls him Nelly in his interviews.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    I’m baffled at Yak saying he dosen’t know if he’s part of the core. MacT can’t make a 1st overall pick feel like a part of the team’s future? Imagine Jim Rutherford telling Malkin he isn’t part of the core, or Joe Sakic telling Mckinnon that

  • justDOit

    Yea, MacT got this one right. This is how you challenge a player.

    Saying Yakapov is part of the Core right now is giving Yak the benefit of the doubt.

    It is now up to Yakapov to show where he fits into this team, and into the league. The next contract will be the one that defines him. Does he want his long term $5-6 million a year?

    Now is the time to earn it.

  • nuge2drai

    If the plan was to play Yak 12 minutes a game on the third line with ahlers, make sure he fails than sign him to a cheap bridge contract it worked.

    Good for Yak, he’s a good kid- be nice seeing him develop with the Oilers.


  • nuge2drai

    Sign Roy but only short term and get Yak a better centermen. I agree with swapping Roy around with the new centermen. Anyone think Drai and Yak’s will ever be a good 2nd line combo?

  • nuge2drai

    Yak had 31 points in 48 games as a rookie, lit it up near the end and was minus 4. This year he had 33 points in 82 games, lit it up near the end and was a league worst minus 35. Mac T said he has never seen a player turn the corner like Yak did this year. Interesting statement about a 1-dimensional player who didn’t even match Lance Boumas offensive numbers this year.

    • nuge2drai

      Yak is not 1 dimensional.

      I really feel that is a stupid thing to say.

      Yak has underperformed, but if he gets his game on track he will bring more then 1 thing to the table.

      Drew Doughty is 1 dimensional too, all he does is play defense at a very high level. What else has he got in his bag of tricks? That’s right aside from playing defense, he’s got nothing.

      • nuge2drai

        Plays physical
        Kills penalties
        Provides offense while playing solid defense.
        Strong positionally in all zones.
        Comes up big in important games.

        Is supposedly and offensive player except he doesn’t score. 212th in scoring.

          • A-Mc

            Pretty much. I just don’t think he’s the type of player you move forward with. He can be entertaining and is energetic plus he has a personality a lot of fans like but I’m not impressed with him as a player.

        • Andresito

          Yakupov is more than 1 dimensional. He is easily the most physical out of the “core”. His shot is very elite. Skilled players need confidence (young players even more) and.previous coach sucked out all confidence and life from this player. His skill is.obvious and if developed properly (which he hasnt been) he could be a 30-40 goal scorer. Skies the limit just please support him with good vets not 18 yr.old centres like draisatl. Thanks