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Yakupov to play tonight versus Penguins

Oct 15, 2013, 1:05 PM EDT

Devan Dubnyk, Dustin Brown AP

After sitting and watching two games as a healthy scratch, Edmonton forward Nail Yakupov will be back playing tonight in Pittsburgh, according to Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins.

Edmonton (1-4-1) lost both games without Yakupov in the lineup, 6-5 in overtime to Toronto Saturday and 4-2 Sunday in Washington.

The decision by Eakins to scratch the 20-year-old former first overall pick has led to all sorts of conjecture, from the chances of a trade to even the possibility that Yakupov returns to Russia to play in the KHL.

In reality, Yakupov was first scratched after four games in which he failed to register a point. Then, after the Oilers played well enough to win versus the Leafs, Eakins scratched him again for the Washington game.

We won’t completely discount the chances of a trade down the line, if only because the Oilers have so many talented young forwards and are weak in other areas. But for now, let’s see how Yakupov does tonight in Pittsburgh against a Penguins side that could fill the net if Edmonton doesn’t get some halfway decent goaltending.

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