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Oilers GM praises Yakupov, fumes about trade rumor distractions

Nov 12, 2013, 7:49 PM EDT

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Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish bristled about an ESPN report in which Nail Yakupov‘s agent Igor Larionov embraced the possibility of a trade.

Generally speaking, MacTavish isn’t very happy about those who believe that the team soured on the 2012 NHL Draft’s top pick. The Canadian Press shared his frank comments regarding that subject on Tuesday.

“I think Yak’s been treated very fairly since he’s been in our organization,” MacTavish said. “We like Yak, I’ve said that many times. It’s a much bigger story for you people, and it’s becoming a bit of a distraction for us right now because we’re having to answer these questions.”

MacTavish insists that the organization feels the same way about the 20-year-old as “the day we drafted him.” It might seem like a questionable statement because Steve Tambellini was the GM back then, but MacTavish has been back with the franchise for a while (and many believe Kevin Lowe still holds plenty of personnel sway, anyway).

Regardless, both MacTavish and head coach Dallas Eakins insist that they’re taking the long view with a winger MacTavish labelled as “dynamic.” Eakins pointed to early struggles for eventual stars such as Steven Stamkos and Joe Thornton.

Times are certainly not easy for Yakupov right now, but the Oilers are at least saying all the right things about practicing patience with the struggling prospect.

  1. jernster21 - Nov 12, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Translation: “we haven’t been offered enough to trade him yet.”

  2. esracerx46 - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    The only problem is Mactavish didn’t draft him. With all this how you’re not trading him, to have your word mean anything Mactavish better not trade him. I don’t know what this infatuation is with the kid. He’s small. He doesn’t play defense. And he doesn’t utilize his teammates. I think Its all local media hype, can’t imagine a gm paying up for what Edmonton would want for a player with 4 points and a -14 rating. Oh, he also thinks he deserves more ice time.

  3. hammerhead5573 - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    Jernster you beat me to the punch. You can bet they are not getting the offers for him, they thought they would.

  4. flyeredup - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Alexander Daigle Jr. Bust.

  5. ray2013 - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Living in Edmonton, it’s pretty easy to see this was going to become an issue. Last year, the Oilers had Eberle, Yak, and Hemsky on one wing, so one has to play in the bottom six. Last year Hemsky did, and it hurt his value so bad they couldn’t trade him. So if they want to increase his value, he needs to play top six until someone decides they want to make a mid-season move and trade for him. In meantime yak has to learn to play a role he is not ideally suited for. I wouldn’t worry too much. Trade hemsky and this all goes away tomorrow.

  6. henryjones20 - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    so glad nobody calls him nailsy.think my head wlda xploded

  7. broadstreetsbaddest88 - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    I don’t recall Steven stamkos early career struggles. Since he’s came into the league he’s been the most consistent player hands down. He reminds me of nikolya zherdev, and we all know how that played out.

    • vanindeed - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      I seem to remember Melrose saying Stamkos needed to go back to junior and get stronger. We know how that worked out for Barry.

    • esracerx46 - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      His rookie year is what they are alluding to with Stamkos. He wasn’t bad his rookie year, but he wasn’t the Stammer we know. I mean Steve Mason won the Calder.

      • broadstreetsbaddest88 - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:43 PM

        I think stamkos had a good rookie campaign. Probably not what they expected for his talent but put a pretty solid one. I would in no way compare his small slumps during it anyway compare it to what yakupov is goin through. His entire game isn’t there and is a huge liability and is effortless. I can see the Thorton reference more but atleast he wasn’t a defensively liability and he gave effort

  8. joey4id - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    Oilers are doing to this kid what the Caps should have done to Ovi. Break the bad habits and teach him how to play both ways. Good for them.

    • hockeydon10 - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      Whatchutalkinaboutwillis? Ovie does play two way hockey. Left wing and now right wing.

      [/snark]

      • joey4id - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:12 PM

        hahahahaha! He does skate north to south well.

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