8 Days Until The Season Begins

Cam Lewis
7 months ago
Throughout the summer and into the fall, we’ll be counting down the days until the Edmonton Oilers begin their 2023-24 season with a daily trip down memory lane. Today at No. 8 we have Derek Roy, also known as The Nail Yakupov Whisperer.
The Oilers selected Yakupov with their third consecutive first-overall pick in 2012 after he scored 80 goals and 170 points across two seasons with the Sarnia Sting in the OHL. Yakupov made his NHL debut during the lockout-shortened 2013 season and he broke through with 17 goals and 31 points over 48 games as a rookie.
In the following off-season, the Oilers fired head coach Ralph Kreuger and replaced him with Dallas Eakins, who had a very successful run as the coach of the AHL Toronto Marlies. Eakins made Yakupov a healthy scratch in the fifth game of the 2013-14 season and the young Russian’s play quickly declined. He wound up scoring 11 goals and 24 points in his second season in the NHL.
The 2014-15 season got off to a disastrous start for Yakupov as he only had nine points in 38 games through December. The Oilers made a trade to acquire veteran centre Derek Roy late in the month and that helped spark the first hot streak Yakupov had put together since his rookie season.
Roy spent eight seasons with the Buffalo Sabres and had led the team in scoring with 32 goals and 81 points a few years earlier. He bounced around to the Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, and Nashville Predators before the Oilers traded Mark Arcobello to get him.
“I feel amazing now,” said Yakupov. “I was waiting for a centre for three years. It’s the first time I’ve had a really good centre and I’m really happy for it. It took us a couple of games to get used to each other and now we’re pretty comfortable. It’s easy to play with him. He can move the puck and he’s really smart. All I have to do is try to get open for a shot.”
Yakupov scored 10 goals and 25 points over 45 games to finish off the season after the trade while Roy himself scored 11 goals and 22 points over 46 games.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Oilers didn’t re-sign Roy in the off-season and he continued his playing career in Switzerland. Roy spent six more seasons in Europe and won a bronze medal with Canada at the Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018.
Yakupov, meanwhile, struggled through the 2015-16 season and the Oilers traded him in the off-season to the St. Louis Blues. He’d make one more stop with the Colorado Avalanche before heading back to Russia for the 2018-19 season.


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