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. 

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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? 

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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

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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?


  • You just got LITT up!

    Yak is a bust! Get over it. I don’t agree w/ the sentiment that he’s always played with bums and that’s why he’s a bum. Multiple coaches have played yak where he plays … Because maybe, just maybe, he isn’t that good. Cut the cord oilers. Everyone is so scared of making a trade on the off chance that it comes back to haunt us. Well guess what the alternative is … Same roster = same lottery pick! Argh. If only there was a GM who would trade a first and second round pick for a former high first rounder … Oh wait! Hahahah. Get it?

  • For Pete's Sake!

    I once had a dream. Bogdan Yakimov at centre, Anton Slepyshev at LW, and Nail Yakupov at RW.

    I still think that could have been a third line that would have made an impact. And a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

    Could they possibly have been any worse than Letestu and Korpikoski?? I don’t think so.

    Why didn’t the Oiler braintrust let it happen? There’s just no vision with this team. No wonder they’re always groveling to win the lottery.

  • .

    Fun fact on number one draft picks:

    The Oilers are often castigated by fans and pundits alike for having four number-one draft picks over the six years between 2010-2015, even though two of those picks (2012 and 2015) were based on draft lottery wins, and not a direct result of the Oilers position in the standings.

    Fine, all’s fair in love and hockey, but no one ever mentions how the Canadiens built their dynasty in the 1970’s vis-a-vis their draft picks, specifically:

    The Montreal Canadians had three number one over-all picks in just 4 years between 1968-71–that’s post-expansion and without any lottery.

    Perhaps more astounding, the Canadians had the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd pick in the 1968 draft, the 1st and 2nd pick in the 1969 draft, and the 5th and 6th pick in the 1970 draft (where the Sabres and Canucks had 1st and 2nd picks as new league entrants). In 1971, the Canadians again had the number one draft pick, as well as two more picks in the first round.

    So in those 4 years, the Habs had 10 first round picks, including three number one picks. They had another 5 first round picks in 1974 alone.

    With Bob Gainey in the 1st round in 1973, that’s 16 first round picks over 7 years including three 1st overall picks. If you can’t build a dynasty with that, I don’t know how you could.

    The next time they had a #1 overall (1980) they picked Doug Wickenheiser and the dynasty was effectively over. I’m not blaming Wick, but there’s a clear correlation between hockey dynasties and loading up on 1st rounders either through numbers or great scouting and luck–even if that’s in the form of lottery balls.

      • .

        Not in the least. I’m suggesting three things:

        1. The Oilers recent 1st round picks pale in comparison to the 1968-1974 Canadiens, and nobody ever mentions this when they criticize the Oilers (which is fair) while applauding the Canadiens (which is a little, shall we say, suspect on the basis of their domination of the draft).

        2. Even the storied Canadiens (with 16 first round picks in 7 years) had their share of mis-fires. (How many of the 16 can you name?)

        3. There’s a clear correlation between hockey dynasties and loading up on 1st rounders, whether that’s through sheer numbers, great scouting or lucky lottery balls–that’s true for the Canadiens (sheer numbers), Islanders and 80’s Oilers (scouting and luck), and the Penguins (numbers and luck) and Black Hawks (scouting and luck).

        With McDavid and next year’s draft the Oilers may be on the verge of a dynasty but it’s in no way in evidence at all from the last 4 years.

  • toprightcorner

    Everyone keeps saying that Yak had good chemistry with McDavid but I don’t think that was the case. McDavid would make anyone a lot better. He need to show he can score with a top line without McDavid to prove his offense. If he can put up points on the Hall line, great.

    Lander would put up points playing with McDavid. I am a Yak fan but you can’t rely on McDavid to bring out your offense.

    • .

      Fair enough, but I don’t imagine Hall, Draisaitl, Ebs, or Nuge would particularly shine playing 8 minutes a game Letestu and Kassian. And Yak in particular needs a set-up man.

      I think one of the strengths of Quennville is that when he sees a line’s not working, he’ll swap out one part for as much as a game or three–not just for 5-6 shifts. As a result, the Hawks forwards pretty much all get a chance to play with Kane, or Toews or Hossa, etc. And the coaching staff creates a better opportunity to see what potential combinations might work.

      T-Mac doesn’t seem to do this even when, for example, Drai and Hall aren’t working and you could swap Yak into the line to test a Drai-Yak combo.
      This is one of my biggest frustrations with T-Mac, he doesn’t seem to experiment with the lines in a meaningful way, where new combinations get enough time to find out what they might be capable of accomplishing.

  • Oilers21

    Results have only intermittently been there but he’s one of the few that seemingly gives a crap on any given night. I would give him another year, hopefully playing with someone other than Letestu. But hey, if someone wants to trade like a second-pairing defenseman or something then by all means have at ‘er

  • TKB2677

    Yak has zero offensive hockey sense. He’s supposed to be a shooter and when you are supposed to be a shooter, shooters have the ability to find the holes to get shots off. Yak doesn’t do that, he’s never done that. Here’s a damning stat for Yak lovers that use the excuse of line mates. Yaks been on the PP since he got into the league so he gets his chance to play with the Oilers best players. Where’s the points?

      • TKB2677

        That’s because the Oilers young centres which includes Nuge when he is healthy can’t win a faceoff. So they have to have a plugger that can win the odd draw out there. As soon as you lose the opening PP faceoff, you burn 30 seconds.

        I am praying that Draisaitl and McDavid will be able to win draws next seasons so the likes of Letestu dont get PP time.

          • .

            Three reasons:

            1. The Oilers PP zone entry possession is pathetic. Winning possession off the FO allows that Oilers to “automatically” gain O-zone possession.
            2. In losing the draw, the Oilers burn 20-30 seconds of PP time, stalling the PP with poor zone entries attempts, poor dump and chase efforts, and turnovers.
            3. The McD and Drai lines end up doing two-three circuits going back for the puck in their PP shift and then lack the fuel in the tank to mount any sustained attack.

            No doubt, the answer is NOT to put Letestu on the PP for 45 seconds, but to increase the FOW% for McD and Drai (and RNH if that’s possible, but it’s likely not given that he’s not exactly new at this). At the very least, Letestu should get off the ice earlier than he does–like Gordon would do. Something’s wrong when he stays out there for the entire shift.

          • .

            It’s not a linear extrapolation. you’re missing the curve because they’re not playing in isolation but against the better (or worse) player.


            A 55% going agains a 55% will (likely) lose/win 50% of the face-offs.

            A 45% going agains a 55% will (likely) lose 65-70% of the face-offs.

            A 20% going against an 80% will (likely) lose 85-95% of the face-offs

            Approximately 70-75% of the draws will result in the puck leaving the zone with a McD going up a Kesler on a PP/PK draw.

            I should say, though, with all that, I’m not a fan of having Letestu on the PP.

  • Trudes

    Keep Yak until the summer and see what your RW looks like then. If they have to trade Eberle to get a D-man, and they have already traded Purcell at the deadline, you will have to fill 2-3 RW spots in one summer.

    • camdog

      After the rants by the GM and coach the past couple of games one would logically conclude that the Oilers are trying to get rid of quitters, not acquire even bigger quitters…

  • CanaDave

    I’d like to see how the trade deadline shakes out before making a final decision on Yak’s future, since to my eyes the major problem with Yak is trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Having him in a 3rd or 4th line role isn’t going to make him focus on defence, it’s going to make him try and cheat more for the 1 or 2 offensive chances he might get in a game playing with energy/grinder/2-way types of players.

    I think the biggest problem is how blocked Yakupov is right now all over the roster, relative to how he fits together with the other pieces in Edmonton. If Eberle is set as McDavid’s right wing on line 1, and you realize that Yak with Hall/Drai would be an absolute disaster defensively as well, you are left with a player who’s skillset doesn’t fit into any of the open roster spots for him.

    I would trade Yakupov in a Paajarvi or van Riemsdyk type of deal, knowing that I am still potentially giving away a guy who could score at the NHL level, if it brought back a more veteran F or a Dman who fits with the current puzzle pieces better.

  • camdog

    The top Oiler powerplay the last ten years had Yak on it and Hall on injured reserve. Todd Nelson was the head coach. Of course that was a small sample size. Of course the Krueger powerplay was good as well, but again small sample size

  • I would trade Eberle’s 6 million a year contract and put Yaks much more reasonable one along side McDavid in order to spend the money better elsewhere.

    “Oh but Will, you can’t replace Eberle’s production.” Fine, you may be right, but the team is not and has not won games with his production. Also, Kris Kunitz. With anyone else Kris Kunitz is a crappy hockey player, but with Sydney Crosby he’s in the conversation for best LW in the NHL, and often tops the scoring race for LW.

    Point being, we don’t need a top ten scorer with McDavid, we just need a guy who can produce and McDavid will make him a top ten scorer.

    If nothing else, then more than a month along side McDavid will increase Yak’s value so that you’re not selling low.

    Anyway, that’s what I’d do.

    • Seriously Bored

      So you suggest anyone can play with mcdavid and become a top ten scorer like people do with Crosby. Then you suggest that playing yak with mcdavid will increase yaks value.

      How does no one understand that other teams in the league have probably figured out this as well and would most likely completely ignore the time he spent with mcdavid or perhaps even use it against them in a potential trade?

      Yaks value is not going to get any better no matter what happens or who he plays with until his play away from the puck improves. No one is going to care if he scores 10 goals playing with mcdavid down the stretch here. Teams spending millions of dollars on players and millions more on management don’t generally fall that sort of trick.

      • That’s a fair point, if not for the fact that inflated numbers get players big contracts and managers big trade returns ALL the time.

        Plus you say Yak’s value won’t improve until his play away form the puck does. Tell me, how is Eberle’s play away from the puck that much better? Keep in mind any stat has to take in account who his ice time is with and how his minutes are cherry.

        So why is Eberle’s value so much higher? Could it be because his production is higher? And maybe, just maybe, getting to play and entire career with Hall, Nuge, and now McDavid might have something to do with that?

  • Hockeyfan

    Me and Zigs have fun baiting you fanboys. it is so easy with the great hockey fantasy trades the coil fanboys come up with. We want 2 premium dmen for yak and jultz. trade em all, to don’t trade anyone except jultz. Mcd demamnds out by end of 2017 at latest. You already see his disgust with the team he’s on. 5 in 7 has a whole new meaning. Flames will get #1 pick this year, hope anyone gets it before the worst club in the NHL, the COILERS. can’t even overtake the laffs when they have an ahl club. JOKE OF NHL. new playoff fultility record coming to you in new arena in 2017. HEHE.

      • Randaman

        You can’t blame trolls for trashing our pathetic team. I mean they are even talking about how long the NHL can keep rewarding the Oilers for futility.
        That’s pathetic and yet all the fan boys on here keep defending these bunch of pansies.

        Mention a trade and everybody freaks out although this finally seems to be trending in the other direction. FINALLY!!

        As for Yak, Cya. I would be willing to bet that Conner has expressed his opinion and does not want to play with Yak. He is defensively unaware, all over the place and that is too much pressure for McDavid to have to deal with while trying to provide offence.

        Yes, I agree that Eberle is no better defensively but his offensive numbers far out weigh what Yak could provide. The stats prove that.

        Trade them both in my opinion. REBUILD 3.0 continues.

        • .

          Yup, trollz gonna troll. No doubt. I am merely pointing out that behind the troll is a sad clown with low self-esteem, self-hatred, and a general inability to connect with human emotions.

          And to be clear, I’m not the one making these claims about their failing emotional and mental health; health professionals are doing that.

          As far as I’m concerned, they should troll on as they have little choice between that and self-abuse until they get help with whatever tragic events in their past has led them to this point.

          I just hope they get the help they so clearly need. In that context, the Oilers and all their troubles don’t add up to a hill of beans.

      • Hockeyfan

        I I I am so sorry. You r right. I feel so bad picking on your useless team and its fans, but its so much fun, I can’t stop, Especially when I get dumb responses because deep down inside the coil fan boys know what I say is true. Again I apologize for being so astute with my observations, I know the truth hurts being in your 5th rebuild in 10 years and praying for the new 5 in 7 standard for your club. oh who am I kidding, I’m not sorry.

          • The Soup Fascist

            Even with the divorce, mom and dad are still cousins, though.

            So HockeyFan / Ziggy still has that going for him.

            A court mandated settlement can’t change bloodlines.

        • Shameless Plugger

          Exactly what has your team won in the past decade? One playoff series against a crappy aging Canucks team. I find it funny how lames fans come here to bash the Oilers when in fact your team isn’t that much better. I though you guys were supposed to have the best Defence in the NHL. I also thought that Jenny hockey was supposed to take the league by storm. Seriously dude take a look in the mirror your team is crappy to. Yeah we haven’t made the most out of our picks congrats to you on bring a master at pointing out the obvious. My three year old knows the Oilers stink yet somehow you figure you’re coming on here sharing something we don’t already know. I feel sorry for people like you. Your life is so unfulfilling that the only jollies you get are bashing people who already bash themselves. Well done, you sir are special.

  • Neilio

    The issue is that the Oilers never wanted Yak in the first place. Katz listened to the fans and told Tambo to draft him. He was never treated like a prized #1st overall pick. They didn’t really care to make sure he succeeded.

    The team has limited ability to develop players. Yak’s biggest problem is that he wasn’t a finished product the day they drafted him. If you’re not so good that the Oilers can’t screw you up, you’re going to have a hard time playing for this organization.

    Yak had, and still has high potential, but he above everyone else needed guidance. From coaching, from mentors and team mates and management. His work ethic and attitude are great, even at this point. His position as an afterthought player doesn’t suit his development. Its time for him to move on. Its not you, Yak, Its us.

    I think he can still salvage a pretty good career with another team. He’s likely not the 40-50 goal scorer he was predicted to be at the draft, but I see no reason he can’t be a 20-30 goal guy for a number of years, in the right situation.

  • #1 overall waivers pick

    In the past, Rob Schremp and Linus Omark were placed on waivers.

    You can’t fool nhl gm’s into believing that Yak is a bargain 3 rd line player.

    Ask coach HitchCock if he has a place for Yak in the line up.

    If the Oilers were to make the playoffs, would coach Mclellan play Yak in overtime? I think he would get the Klima treatment.

    Just put the #1 overall on waivers and let him go free. It’s time to move on.

  • Shredder

    Just saw that 2 former Oilers are out of the lineup due to injury: Gilbert & Petry. I’m starting to realize why Montreal is so bad this year. The Gilbert & Petry super-oilers-defense isn’t working for them. Surely they will now take Yak and who knows, maybe Schultz too? Oh, by the way, how’s that goalie Scrivens doing for you?

  • Wolverine_Oiler

    Here’s the thing, is he the right person to trade if were talking about under achieving players?

    Korpikoski makes more money than Yakapov.
    Fayne makes more than Yakapov.
    Ference makes more than Yakapov.
    Schultz makes more than Yakapov.
    Nikitin makes more than Yakapov.

    Can any non-delusional person say Yakapov is not better than all these other players?

    How about we try and jettison them?

    I think once RNH is back, Eberle will be back on his line and Yak will be put back with McDavid, at least initially. It’s been written a hundred times that Yak and RNH never got it going when they were playing together. Eberle and RNH have always played together and we know Yak had his best results in 2 years with McDavid.

    Unless a trade does come, that’s the way I see it.

  • Hockeyfan

    Just statin’ facts. nYI would never trade yak for Hamonic. Maybe throw in your first this year, you might get okposo as well. All gms know exactly how desperate the COIL are right now.

  • 72derek

    If the Oilers trade one of our $6M players this summer to acquire a top pair D, a scoring line position becomes available. Yakupov needs to play with these kinds of players to be effective and not the bottom six players we’ve seen him with (understanding his play so far has not merited a top 6 assignment).

    Although we’ve seen reasonable success with Derek Roy and Connor McDavid so we know the potential is there, another year giving him a shot to establish himself isn’t unreasonable, especially at $2.5M.

    So my vote is to keep Yak until we have to decide on resigning him or not.

  • Teeeb

    In regards to all the trolling. If you respond or engage, you’re giving them what they want. It’s like dealing with a toddler. Ignore the undesirable behavior and eventually it will stop.

  • Zarny

    I don’t think the Oilers have to get rid of Yakupov. He’s relatively cheap, has upside and provides scoring depth.

    So the only trade scenarios that makes sense are the Parjaarvi or van Riemsdyk where you potentially get something back that helps the team now.

    If Yak plus a pick could bring back a player like Ladd or better a Dman version of Ladd, or a young prospect like Drouin or a well regarded D prospect it could make sense spending on exactly who the player is.

    Otherwise keep him. It gives Chiarelli options. Someone from “the core” is getting traded. Who could depend mostly on what return they provide. If it’s Eberle then Yak can slide in with McDavid.

    • .

      It’s a hard argument this year to say Yak’s adding scoring depth.

      For points, he’s tied with Korpse and 3 points ahead of Klef, even though Klef’s a D who’s played nine fewer games and none of them with McDavid as his line mate and Korpse is a 4th line defensive fwd.

      With 5 goals, that $500K a goal.

      And that’s just it: It’s not so much the $2.5M that makes the trade urgent or even necessary, it’s his lack of scoring (and related low hockey IQ).

      The lack of scoring matters because with the low hockey IQ he can’t kill penalties, he doesn’t make other players better, he has trouble back checking or playing positionally, and he doesn’t hit the net–his shooting % is worse than Korpse, Letestu, Pakarinen, and Hendricks.

      So keep him for the low cost, sure, but be prepared to bundle him off for the lack of value that $2.5M provides in any meaningful “scoring depth.”

      I wouldn’t make this argument if he were sitting at 10 goals.

      • Zarny

        And yet, Yakupov has scored more than 10 goals in every previous season.

        He’s struggled this year no question; he’s shooting like 5 or 6 %. He’s also played with Mark Letestu and Anton Lander a lot. And he’s likely to at least move back to his mean. And quite likely his best hockey is yet to come given he’s only 2.

        You’re right, he has deficiencies. Most players do and we’re talking about 3rd line depth scoring that can conceivably play some 2nd line minutes. You expecting Jonathon Toews lol?

        • .

          “And yet, Yakupov has scored more than 10 goals in every previous season.”

          I would suggest that we consider the caveat “past performance is not an indicator of future outcomes”; look at Perron’s 28 goals in 13-14. I would wager that you would not recommend keeping Perron on the basis of past performance, yes? Or expect that Perron’s going to hit 25 goals next year?

          And why would you think I would expect a Toews in return? I said, “be prepared to bundle him off for the lack of value that [his spend of] $2.5M provides.”

          If that’s not clear, I would expect that Yak could be part of a package to get a potential 2nd line player. For example, a trade for Drouin, that kind of player: a similar unrealized potential player.

          Unbundled? Old school example of a similarly challenged 1st rounder: Daigle for Falloon.

          Low risk, low reward.

  • McDaddy

    I think we can expect Mark McNeill from Chicago. Only one year older, under team control, just hasn’t been able to crack Chicagos lineup, he’s also a bigger player which fits chiarellis MO. I love Yak but I think his days are numbered as are a lot of oilers players

    • BobbyCanuck

      If this pans out and Yak moves to Chicago, I expect Yak would buy Chia a Rolls Royce for Christmas

      I wish Yak the best but it clear that he was grossly mismanaged over here, all you have to do read the link on post #80 Kuma

      I would keep him, just because he brings an exuberance that his talent may catch up with.

      I want sand kicked in the face of the ole boys club, do it Chia, just do it:

      Trade Rienhart and Eberle to Montreal for Petry

  • ZIN21

    Im surprised Yak hasnt gotten a look with Draisaitl and Hall yet. He has previously shown some chemistry with both those players, albeit in brief stints… But compare that to a guy like Letestu, whom Yak has shown ZERO chemistry with, its worth a shot, considering Purcell is out in a few days. I seriously doubt he gets another look with McD, so why not try the next best thing? What is there to lose?