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Report: It’s ‘unlikely’ Yakupov is with Oilers next season

Mar 15, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

yakupovgetty Getty Images

Nail Yakupov went to the Edmonton Oilers as their first overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft and with so many expectations. But it seems it’s not working out, after just two seasons. The second one isn’t even complete yet.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, it appears the only 20-year-old Yakupov, in the second year of his entry-level contract, will be available on the trade market this upcoming off-season.

“I would say it’s unlikely that he’s an Edmonton Oiler next season. So it makes sense that they’ll try and move him. They were trying to move him at various points this season. Word is out that Nail Yakupov is available,” said Dreger, as per the Edmonton Journal.

“The problem is, no one really wants him. Certainly not for the value that the Edmonton Oilers are going to need to get back in return. And you can see why. He had opportunities in this game early on. He scored one goal in his last 11 games. He was on the ice late in the game when the Blues scored to tie the hockey game.

“He’s an NHL worst -30. He lacks commitment. He thinks that skill is enough to be an NHL player. And the unfortunate reality for Nail Yakupov is that, yes, he’s a skilled player, but not an elite level skill player.”

It hasn’t been getting much better for Yakupov, who is without a point in his last five games. In 62 games this season, he’s got 11 goals and 24 points.

  1. crazemastercraze - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    Damaged goods

    • elemeno89 - Mar 15, 2014 at 6:38 PM

      Still more successful than Stepan, so he’s got that going for him which is nice…

      • tdrusher225 - Mar 16, 2014 at 12:16 AM


  2. AppealToReason - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    Holy crap the Oilers are stupid.

  3. 13datsyuk13 - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Off to the KHL

  4. credible316 - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    It would be interesting to see what have been if they had let him develop in the minors.

    • hockeydon10 - Mar 15, 2014 at 5:46 PM

      Seems like that comment might generally apply to quite a few of the Oilers’ top picks of the last few years.

    • ray2013 - Mar 16, 2014 at 6:44 AM

      Should he have gone back? Yes. Should the Oilers have brought him along slowly? Yes. The only junior to pro player that made any sense was Hall because he had won back to back Memorial Cups and there was really nothing left he could do as a junior.

      But Yakupov didn’t want to go back to Juniors and was ineligible to go to the minors. He made it clear, the NHL or the KHL.

  5. phillyphanatic77 - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    He seems like he’d fit in well with the Caps. There’s no question the kid is an offensive talent but he needs to go somewhere with a strong leadership base; somewhere where his teammates will push him. The Oilers organization just seems too dysfunctional to develop a player like this. And it’s not like he’s the first sniper with an ego before he’s really accomplished anything. I’m hoping he can turn it around and not become the next Alexander Radulov.

    • bsaures - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      And hele get strong leadership in Washington?

    • withseidelinn - Mar 15, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      I would say Washington is one of the last places with a strong leadership base. Ovechkin is not even close to a leader and after Brooks Laich is gone they really need someone to step up. Yakupov is on a team that is far too young with not enough vets to guide him properly. He will damage his career if he doesn’t end up somewhere else

      • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 15, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        No no you guys misunderstood my point, it was kind of a jab at Washington but something that I believe to be true. I was saying he’d fit in well in Washington bc he’s a one dimensional, diva Russian and that organization doesn’t shy away from players like that. Then I went on to say that he probably needs to go to an organization with a strong leadership group, NOT Washington, to really develop his game. Sorry for the confusion.

      • withseidelinn - Mar 15, 2014 at 7:23 PM

        Totally agree with you then. Probably one of the teams he should stay away from.

  6. 19to77 - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    You know purely in the realm of things that would never happen but would probably be fun to watch if they did, the Pens would make an interesting destination. Play him with Malkin, see if the influence of a fellow Russian who’s very hardworking and driven sparks something in Yakupov. And hey, his defense is awful, but Bylsma doesn’t play Malkin or Neal defensively anyway.

    Still. Would never happen. Fun to imagine though.

  7. alicesrightfootesq - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    The kid just needs an attitude adjustment. I imagine moving to a team with a real “alpha male” running the locker room like Shane Doan in Phoenix could help. There’s no leadership in Edmonton at any level.

  8. atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    He’s the team’s whipping boy, anything goes wrong and they blame the Russian kid because the Oilers brass is too scared of telling their young NA players they need to play better. Hall is a poor two way player and turns the puck over all the time, Lowe and MacT stay quiet. Nugent-Hopkins has thus far proven himself to be and average talent, they reward him with a massive contract that he hasn’t earned. Yakupov does anything and he’s immediately called out for it. Dallas Eakins seems to want to put an end to this but management (MacT and the guy who “knows a lot about winning cups” Lowe) don’t want it to happen.

    This coddling is exactly why the Oilers are bad, and why their rebuild that had a 3 year headstart on Calgary is at this point behind the Flames.

    I hope Yakupov goes back to the KHL and leaves the Oilers with absolutely nothing rom that first overall pick.

    • withseidelinn - Mar 15, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      This all could have been solved if they were competent enough to either trade the pick for an elite defense man… or just pick Ryan Murray. Once again, management is not getting the job done. Cleaning house needs to happen.

      • ray2013 - Mar 16, 2014 at 6:53 AM

        Murray made sense at the time and now, especially with the team they already had. How many small skill forwards does one team need? But as for trading the pick for anything remotely resembling an elite defence man, sorry. They shopped the pick heavily. No one wanted to make that trade. I listened to weeks of speculation but no one wanted to make that trade. And based on what we are seeing now, with good reason.

  9. 19inarow - Mar 15, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    Seems to me he wants to be able to play like Ovechkin, which is to say no defense.

  10. Wineshard - Mar 15, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    If only the Oilers would have told him his excessive celebration was garbage way back when. Could have put his nose back in joint.

  11. rainyday56 - Mar 15, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Shades of Shirokov!

  12. djshnooks - Mar 15, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    How about Buffalo and Edmonton just swap disappointing first round Russians?

    Grigorenko for Yakupov! (I’d actually rather keep Grigorenko, than get Yakupov, IMO.)

    • pfhockey - Mar 15, 2014 at 11:48 PM

      I’d rather get Yak than Grigorenko.

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