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Leafs might make a bid for Yakupov, Galchenyuk

Jun 7, 2012, 6:38 PM EDT

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Sportsnet’s Luke Fox passes along a fascinating Igor Larionov interview from Russian reporter Andrey Osadchenko that indicates there could be quite the jostling for his clients Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Larionov implies that the Edmonton Oilers (No. 1 pick), Columbus Blue Jackets (No. 2), Montreal Canadiens (No. 3) and even Toronto Maple Leafs (No. 5) could end up with one or more of those high-end Russian players and Sarnia Sting fixtures.

“[Oilers GM Steve] Tambellini told me: ‘We like him. We want him. But we’re going to make a decision the day before the draft,’” Larionov said. “I also know the Habs want to get one of my guys – either Nail or Alex [Galchenyuk]. So do the Leafs. It is possible that the Leafs are going to trade their draft pick and get both of them. There is a possibility like that. Nail and Alex went to New Jersey for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. After this they met Leafs GM Brian Burke. Then Nail met with the Habs.”

The Oilers hold the trump card – aka the top pick – when it comes to Yakupov, yet they haven’t been shy about at least courting offers for the high-end prospect. Galchenyuk’s situation might end up being the most interesting to watch if Edmonton keeps it simple by nabbing Nail at No. 1, especially if the Blue Jackets aren’t sold on him. Columbus could very well trade down or open the door for any number of intriguing scenarios.

Larionov doesn’t seem too concerned in the grand scheme of things, though.

“I don’t care when they are going to be picked,” Larionov said. “I want them to be picked by teams that play their kind of hockey. Because they have a bright future ahead of them. I want them to be in the right hands and in the right atmosphere. Whether it’s Columbus, Toronto or Islanders – it’s not important to me. The NHL is a very successful league, it’s doing well. I know these kids. I see how they work. I don’t see any problems for them. They’re going to be okay.”

They might even end up great.

  1. theawesomersfranchise - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    If someone wants to trade up and “stick” the Oilers with Filip Forsberg or Ryan Murray at the 4 or 5 spot because teams love them some Nail and Alex, the Oilers should let them and take all the extra goodies that comes with trading down.

  2. bcisleman - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    This “story” has been floating around for a few days at least. Mostly it sounds like an agent trying to pump his clients’ tires. No doubt all of the top 5 are interested in Yak & Gally and no doubt Larionov is spinning that as an indication that these teams are going to make deals to acquire his clients.

    As to the TOR end of things, if there is any substance to it at all, it is Burke doing his I’ll huff & I’ll puff and I’ll take your pick from you without giving up much of anything in return routine that Garth Snow & us Islander fans found so tiresome. He had NO shot at getting JT then & he has none of getting Yak now…much less Yak AND Gally. If CBJ takes Murray over Forsberg, there’s an outside chance that Gally slips to #5.

    Fact is that I’d be VERY surprised if ANY of the top 5 picks changed hands UNLESS the rumors about Burke trading it & Schenn to VAN for Lu are true. Could be Burke keeps the trade up rubbish going right up to Draft Day to get his fanbase in a frenzy and then pulls the trigger on the Lu deal.

    • creasemasta41 - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:24 PM

      If burke does want to trade a potential top 4 defenseman and a pick who could very easily end up being better than anyone hes got now for an aging goalie whos been known to struggle in the playoffs and doesnt do good under pressure then he should be fired

  3. habsman - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    I’d love to see Burkie remain the GM in Toronto for many, many years, as long as he’s prohibited from trading with Boston for the next ten years at least. And you can add Buffalo in there too. Burkie shouldn’t be allowed to trade within the division.

  4. east96st - Jun 7, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Whatever the right move is, we know Columbus won’t make it.

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