WWYDW: What do you expect for Nail Yakupov?


It seems possible that Nail Yakupov is in his final days as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. It’s far from a certainty that the first overall pick in the 2012 Draft is shipped off down the line, but if he were to be moved at this year’s trade deadline it also wouldn’t be a big surprise.

“I know the Edmonton Oilers have had discussions about the availability of Nail Yakupov with other teams,” TSN Darren Dreger reported recently. “I would describe it as somewhat unlikely between now and Monday’s trade deadline, perhaps more likely in the offseason.”

In this week’s edition of What Would You Do Wednesday, we ask our readers what they would do with the 22-year-old winger. 

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Although there may be a few diehards who think that under no circumstances should Yakupov ever leave and a handful on the other end of the spectrum who would ship him away for anything, immediately, I imagine most readers fall into the “it depends” category.

So what kind of deal would it take for it to make sense for Peter Chiarelli to make such a move? 

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The Filatov. This is the “we’ve given up on this player” portion of the list. In 2011, three years after drafting him, the Columbus Blue Jackets dealt Nikita Filatov to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a third-round pick. Presumably Chiarelli wouldn’t have much trouble moving Yakupov for a mid-round pick.


The Paajarvi. The timeframe would be the same for Yakupov and Magnus Paajarvi if Yakupov was moved this summer, with four years separating draft date and trade date. Paajarvi was dealt by Edmonton along with second- (No. 33) and fourth-round picks to the St. Louis Blues for David Perron and a third-rounder. If we’re trying to find an equivalent move, it would be a high draft pick plus Yakupov for a veteran second-line forward.

The Niederreiter. People who feel very definite about the quality of young players should keep Nino Niederreiter in mind. The No. 5 pick in the 2010 Draft was dealt by the New York Islanders after first managing just one point in 55 games and then being banished to the AHL for an entire season. He brought back Cal Clutterbuck and a third-round pick. The Yakupov equivalent would be a bottom-six roster player (probably at comparable money) and a sweetener.

The van Riemsdyk. In the summer of 2012, five years after drafting him No. 2 overall, the Philadelphia Flyers traded a disappointing 23-year-old James van Riemsdyk to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a similarly disappointing 22-year-old Luke Schenn. This is a change-of-scenery deal; one prospect took off and the other never did. An equivalent deal would be Yakupov for a player of about the same age.

Reinhart, Griffin2

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The Reinhart. A fellow alumnus of the 2012 Draft, where he went fourth overall, Reinhart was dealt to Edmonton this summer by the Islanders in exchange for first- (No. 16) and second-round (No. 33) draft picks. The equivalent here is pretty obvious: a middling first-round pick and a high second-round pick.

Obviously, the preference of Oilers fans is for the best possible deal. That’s not what we’re asking here; we’re asking how good the deal has to get before you the reader would be willing to move Yakupov. How sweet would the offer from a rival general manager be before you would accept it, and what kind of structure would you be looking for?


  • mithaman

    Yak’s trade value is about a bag of pucks right now so there’s really no point trading him because he’s not going to bring in a good asset in return. His cap hit is also very reasonable. If he doesn’t improve, he’s getting paid what he’s worth and $2.5M is good value for a 3rd liner who can be moved up the line-up when there are injuries.

    When Purcell is out, he’s going to get Top 6 minutes with on the McDavid/Ebs line or the Drai/Hall line. It will be interesting to see what he makes of the opportunity. I don’t expect much, but hey, maybe he’ll surprise us.

    If the Oilers move anyone it’s going to be RNH or Eberle. They both make $6M/year, can yield high end returns, and we are going to need cap room in a couple of years with Nurse/McDavid/Draisaitl on the way.

    I suspect RNH will be moved. Eberle is our best pure finisher and this team has had trouble scoring goals. RNH has shown limited offensive upside, and while he does have other strong qualities, I’d stick with the finisher.

    I’m just glad we have a competent GM who will make this deal. Very curious to see what PC does here.

  • Danoilerfanincalgary

    Yak is 22. Does anyone remember 22? Yak is by everything said about him a really good kid everyone likes him and he is working on improving his game. His contract is very cap friendly and if he only becomes a 3rd line winger with some scoring ability I am ok with that we need those players too. I would hate to see him traded for draft picks and at worst he is traded for an actual player and not magic beans. That is just my opinion right or wrong.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    The Van Riemsdyk treatment is preferable for something that makes sense (right hand d). Honestly probably keep him and see if he can at least deliver Purcell-like offence for less money.

  • S cottV

    You can’t keep screwing around with any bs showcasing that is less than, what’s best for the performance of the hockey club.

    The Shultz thing has been a joke.

    Even keeping Yak on the 3rd line is bs showcasing because he shouldn’t even be there, let alone the first two lines.

    Everyone is losing credibility. Even McD is gonna get concerned about his credibility, being associated with the Oilers.

    They have to fess up to the mistakes, accept the present value for what it really is and move on.

    Make the deals and get Schultz and Yak outta McClellan’s life, before he loses his mind.

  • DiscoBiscuits

    No right-minded GM would look solely at Yak’s current performance to assess his value, and I doubt many would fall for a pump-and-dump even if it had been tried (Bryan Murray excepted, judging by the Phaneuf trade).

    Our trouble with Yak is not that he’s a bad player, but that he’s a first overall who hasn’t performed like a first overall. It’s those expectations that are killing us—that he should be a superstar even on the third or fourth line—and the reason why we’ve turned on him.

    But he’s also a first overall that hasn’t been given the same opportunities as other first overalls, and he knows it. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some lingering resentment over being benched, scratched, or buried on the third and fourth lines (still!), but I think it’s to his credit that he hasn’t given up and gone back to the KHL already, or publicly demanded a trade.

    Kid’s got character, and I don’t doubt that he’s better than we’ve seen. Undervaluing him is a mistake, and GMs around the league are probably well aware that he could be an epic steal.

    Player like Drouin in a 1-for-1 trade, two guys that desperately need a change of scene, is the only scenario that makes sense in my mind.

  • hockey1099

    I love all the Yak fans calling him a natural goal scorer who only needs to play with better players to show his skill. #1 natural goal scorers do it naturally they don’t need others. Ovie would score no matter who he played. He might not score 50 playing with 3rd liners but he would probably still get 30. #2 Semenko wasn’t a goal scorer even though #99 bounced in a few off his shin pads. When yak played with #97 he got 2 goals people (this is akin to a few being bounced in off his shin pads). If he was such a natural goal scorer you think he might have got a few more playing with our best player. How many does Ebs have playing with #97? Maybe ebs is the natural.

    Watching Yak live is painful he is terrible. He is like a chicken with its head cut off. Tv doesn’t show half of whats wrong with him.

    Anything we get is a bonus.

    • Bloodsweatandoil

      That’s what I love about Yak lovers….

      Last year Yak Lovers erected statues in Roy’s honor as if it was his job to make Yak score, the years prior it was Halls, Eberle’s and Nugent Hopkins responsibility, and apparently they were not good enough for Yak, now its McDavid’s job….where does it end?

      Yak is a Shremp, Stephan and Daigle….get rid of him already, he is moth flying aimlessly into the rays of LED’s and getting nowhere…

  • hagar

    Yak from my point of view is not strong in mind, but strong with potential.

    I say hold on to him until the rest of this sh!t storm gets sorted out.

    He has played since day one with a team that could be described as unstable to say the least, and with players that just don’t know how to create a positive vibe and a good playing environment.

    He isn’t costing a lot of money right now. There HAS to be something there somewhere, and even if there isn’t, it is worth the couple mill a year for the chance there is.

    Let’s not underestimate just how messed up this team truly is, and the possible affect it might be having on a player like Yak, he might just need the right environment.

    I have personally been described as “dog like” in nature because I don’t handle anger and bad moods around me. I am not weak nor timid, but I just don’t feel comfortable in that environment, and don’t want to be around it. Some people just need to be in a good place to be at their best, or they are off their figurative, or literal game.

    Yak worries me more than Schultz to trade.. I don’t think Schultz will ever be a good player. With the attitude that Yak has for life in general, I can see him thriving in a positive atmosphere.

    • Explicit

      Well said

      We know there’s a player in yak. Maybe not a first overall franchise type player, but everytime he plays with a quality Center he puts up decent numbers. Same goes with guys like Purcell. They’re complimentary players that need to play with skill or they get tossed out like Purcell did in Tampa

      I see no point in trading yak now. You’re just begging to lose that trade.

  • Anton CP

    Filatov was rushed into NHL, he was not ready but Jackets were pushing him. Also he was more of a gamble pick from Jackets since he was an unknown to most of the scouts at the time.

    Paajarvi should come to North America an year earlier and should start from AHL, his failure was part of inept managements and some to his own fault.

    van Riemsdyk was an interesting case, he started well enough to play for the Flyers but somehow he just completely lost it and then he was able to play well again for the Leafs. Yakupov may have the most similarity to van Riemsdyk.

  • Explicit

    Yak has the skill set that made him a consensus first overall pick in the NHL draft. He also puts up decent numbers when he plays with quality centerman

    Oiler fans suffered thru one of many garbage years of hockey to get that high of a draft pick.

    The way I see it, the organization owes it to us fans, and to yak, to build up his value by playing him with quality players before they throw him out.

    I’d get what I can for Purcell, out Eberle on with Draisaitl and hall and yak back with McDavid. all that could do is add value

    • hagar

      Let’s re visit the scenarios for lines this time next week.

      After the TM presser, who freakin knows. Could have been a bunch of fluff, but if that guy was that pissed off on camera, who knows what’s going on behind the scenes.

      That wax figure MacT, and his slack jawed interview face gave as much hope of change, as I have of growing a fourth arm.

      I want to see the talk walk.

  • toprightcorner

    Yak won’t get traded at the deadline, playoff contenders are not looking to add a defensive lost but offensive possibilities at the deadline. He is not a “depth” player.

    Purcell will be traded, opening up a spot on RW. I would put Yak with Hall and Draisaitl until Nuge comes back. If he plays well and is putting up points without crapping the bed defensively then leave him there for the season

    If the Oilers want to try the Hall – Nuge – Draisaitl lineup when Nuge returns, fine but then put Yak with McDavid (preferable the right side) and shuffle Eberle down and see how much better he does playing with Letestu and Kassian than Yak was. I would start Yak on the Hall line because it seems Conner can make everyone better and it may not show a true or longterm improvement.

    This does 2 things 1)if Yak can put up points with them,it greatly boosts his trade value at the draft 2) you find out if he is a possible replacement for Purcell on second line.

    If he scores 7-9-15 pts in the last 22 games This is what I would do.

    1) If he can’t be packaged to get a top 3 dman then wait until the UFA’s are signed and any blockbuster trades are made and see where that leaves the RW strength.

    2)if Eberle is traded, then you cant trade Yak unless they sign or trade for top 6 RW with size like Okposo and Draisaitl moves to RW when Nuge comes back.

    3)If there are definitely 2 better RW ahead of Yak, like Draisaitl and Okposo, there is no sense playing him on the third line unless you bring in a good 3C like Hanzal.

    If Yak puts up points playing McDavid or Draisaitl line, you have boosted his trade value to get you a big RW like Hartnell + 2nd with CBJ eating salary.

    If Yak doesn’t put up point with top line then you trade him for either an under performing draft pick over last 5-6 years or a player recently drafted and has greatly increased his stock with his play since his draft.

    Botton Line, if you can’t find a way to get Yak a much better 3C or play top 6, then there is no sense keeping him.


    I wouldn’t trade yak. I like his attitude and effort more than some players on the roster. I know that attitude and effort doesn’t create points automatically. It’s not yak’s fault that he was picked overall but it’s his fault that he is not creating offense more consistently. plus I don’t think his trade value is something exciting. I would include him in my plans for next year and we will go from there. I really like yak, I don’t know why but there is a little something extra feeling of joy when he scores.

    • hagar

      That feeling you get when he scores comes from the look on his face when he scores..

      The kid has that OV quality that a true goal scorer needs. How many goals does Alexander have at this point? Like 500 and some? His face still lights up like a Christmas tree every single freakin time..

      There is something there with Nail… I have no evidence, I don’t have stats.. I just see it.

      Get that guys confidence rolling and his shots will release quicker, and find their way more often. One of the lazy golden boys Eberle talked about his goal less steak, and how he just needed to start taking the shots without thinking too much, and they started going in.

      It’s a giant mind Frick sports.. always a slight “click” away from lame to epic for people with talent.

  • toprightcorner

    I would trade Yakapov for Valeri Nichushkin. Both in the same boat but Nichushkin is huge and a lot of upside like Yak. Nikushkin was ranked a top 5 pick if he wasn’t playing in KHL. A switch that could benefit both players.

  • Anton CP

    Next year’s top 3 forwards are all RW (Matthews was RW before he shifts to C in Swiss League). So the Oilers may want to open up more spot on RW for one of those top 3 picks?

  • Anton CP

    Watching TSN talking about Schultz, the truth is that Schultz chooses his own path. His failure can only partially blamed on the Oilers because majority of the blames on no one but himself.

    Schultz wants to get paid right away so he gave up on learning the game and rely on his own talent to get himself into the league. Seriously Ducks fans, why still booed him? He is not even worth of your boos anymore, Schultz will keep on failing no matter which team that he will be playing for in the future.

    • camdog

      The Edmonton Oilers are the Justin Shultz of the National Hockey League. You could replace Schultz with Edmonton Oilers in your sentences and they could be used intangibly.

      The Edmonton Oilers built their entire defence the last 2 seasons based on Justin Schultz being a Norris Calibre defence man,who does that? How are those guys still employed in the organisation?

  • DannyGallivan

    I like Yak. That said, over the past 3 3/4 years his +/- is -85 with 14+ minutes a game. Hall, Ebs, RNH and Pou (2 yrs only) are -18, -27 -31 and -7 with 18+ minutes per game. Yak has a great shot but far too many fly-bys on D. If he had Hendrick’s heart, he would be one of our best players. The sooner he goes the better. Maximize the return but time for him to go.

    Schultz is similar in that he is a great skater but has no heart/no desire to win at any cost.

    Oilers Cup Loss to 3 time champ Islanders in 81/82:

    “Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier both admitted they were impacted by walking past the Islanders dressing room after Game 4 to see the four-time defending champs sitting with ice bags, rather than engaging in a wild championship celebration. In their minds, they were made aware that more sacrifice would be needed to climb the final rungs to a title.”

    Win at any cost; don’t drag down others with casual/flyby play!

  • EZ76

    Just send him to Habs. Re-unite dude with his only friend in NHL, with Alex Galchenyuk. This is the best what actual Oilers can do to him. At least he will be happy with friend

  • Sdgoalie31

    Anyone who would tradeYak over Eberle really has not been watching the Oilers play over the last couple of years. It’s all a matter of heart.

    Yak wants to be in Edmonton. He cares about wins and losses. When you see him play with McDavid,their entire game is north south. When you see McDavid play with Eberle, you see the same old thing — drop pass after drop pass.

    Eberle is who he is today and will not improve. What you saw at the WJC and the first HNIC is the best it’s ever going to be. The limit on what Yak could be, we’re just scratching the surface.

    Want proof? Split the remaining games this season between them and McDavid. The results will b e dramatic and we’ll keep the better player at millions less.

    • DannyGallivan

      Did you see the graphic in the last game about Ebs being on track for a 60 goal season if he had a full season with McDavid and scored the way he has. I like Yak but he has not proven to produce like Ebs. Yak is weak defensively @-85 plus/minus over 4 years. In the past 3 3/4 years Ebs has 201 pts (0.78 pts/game) and Yak is 103 pts(0.44 pts/game). If Ebs gets traded it is because they will get a lot of value vs. Yak. Now that he is producing with CM, he will probably stay.

      Yak has had 4 years, several centers and coaches. That is not scratching the surface. He is on the third line because he has not proven to be a top 2 line player. I wish it wasn’t true but it is…..

    • btrain

      Is this guy for Real?

      You want to be a Yak fan, that is great. However, to criticize Eberle, and those that rightfully recognize him as an elite talent, is just ridiculous! Particularly considering the production Eberle has had since he and McDavid teamed up! Eberle is 8-6-14 in the past 11 games! Had he maintained this production over a 82 game season, those numbers are 60-44-104 over 82 games. Obviously that production is unlikely to be maintained over the course of a season but even knocking off 20 to 30 goals from this projection and he still has 30 or more!

      The Eberle, McDavid, Poo line has been the only line clicking, and you want to move Yak into Ebs spot? when he has been producing over a point a game over the last 11? Yak will have his opportunity to play in the top 6 when Purcell is traded. We will see how he does. In my mind, Yak does have potential. However, until his heart ignites for all aspects of his game and not just when the puck is on his stick, he will never be trusted enough to hold onto a top 6 job.


    We have to see what happens at the deadline. The Oilers are giving top minutes to their biggest trade candidates to pad their stats(Good strategy). After the deadline, whoever didn’t get moved will probably be in the top six to continue “padding their stats”, in hopes of a summer trade. Yak, is in the mix, but have to wait until deadline first.

    Chiarelli confirmed yet again, we will get bigger,stronger and harder to play against, sooner than later. I think he meant it 100%. Just look how he built the Bruins.

  • Oiler Al

    Yak is not a trade deadline type player. Would not be much help in the playoffs at this point.

    More of a summer deal. If Purcell gets moved, Yak as a chance at some games up the ladder.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Trading Yak could be tricky, because if PC trades Eberle and Purcell as well as Yak, that’s a hell of a hole on the right side. Yak had some chemistry with Connor before he got hurt, so in that regard I’d trade Yak in the summer after seeing if 10 and 97 can gel together or if PC can sign an Okposo or Lucic. Then again, Yak is on a decent contract for another year and even if Lucic or Okposo do come here, at least there would be depth on the right wing in case of injuries.

    I’d keep Yak for depth purposes, and hope he can play with Drai/Nuge or McDavid in the top 6.

  • GK1980

    What’s the rush in trading Yak. Trade Eberle first for a legit D and move Yak in his spot. McDavid and Yak had chemistry and I’m sure those two will be fine together not to mention upgrading the D at the same time.

    Just my two cents.


    What about a trade of Yakupov for Ryan Murray in Columbus? Since Seth Jones is clearly the number one there and Murray is not having a great few years, perhaps a trade of such is do-able.

  • Valar Morghulis

    I wouldn’t be in a huge rush to trade Yak. He’s got another year at a low cap hit to see if anything is there. If he were to be traded, I would want an NHL body back at minimum, not picks and magic beans. Part of sucking for ten years has been shipping out NHL bodies for picks.

    With RNH a week from returning, I would reunite Hall-Nuge-Ebs down the stretch, have a second line of Drai-McD-Yak, and let other teams decide who to put their top pairing out against.

    Poulit can be used to push Korpikoski to the fourth line and practice the rest of the year not taking offensive zone penalties.

  • TKB2677

    Anyone who thinks that the Oilers should keep Yak,use excuses like he’s young, it’s the coaches, etc and that he’s going to turn it asks delusional. He’s got 5 goals and 15 pts in 39 games. He’s got 47 goals and 103 pts in 23- games. Those are mediocre 3rd liner numbers. He’s the worst player from his draft year and it’s not even close. People immediately go to the supposed chemistry with McDavid. #1 that doesn’t men’s much because most would have chemistry with a generational talent. #2 with all of Yaks “chemistry” with McDavid he had 2 freaking goal. Yak he shooter with he supposed greet shot had 2 goals!

    Oilers fans need to wake the hell up and come to the reality that Yak was one of the guys that Chiarelly was talking about when he mentioned underachievers and players that need a new venue. Plus the Oilers need to get bigger and heavier. Yak is nothing of that.

  • Spydyr

    I would be open to moving Yak but he is much too young to just give away. The return would have to be of significant value. A top four defenceman or a top six forward that plays with some balls.

  • Kuma

    I came across this article yesterday that provides some fascinating insight into how the Oilers (and specifically Eakins) “developed” Yakupov.

    It’s from a year ago, but it’s worth a read whether you like the player or not.


    I should add the author’s point was supported this season as Yak’s point production picked up massively again when he was paired with a strong centre but fell again when he was returned to the lower lines (obviously).

    Edit: Corrected hyperlink

    • Spydyr

      Skill needs skill to succeed. Just look at Eberle’s total with and with out McDavid.In my perfect world Eberle goes this summer for defensive help and Yak moves into his spot with McDavid but this is the Oilers braintrust we are talking about here and Eberle is a shiny thing.