Latest on the Oilers – April 17, 2012.

Does top prospect Nail Yakupov want to be drafted by the Oilers? Could they try to flip that pick to New Jersey for Adam Larsson? Does Yann Danis have a future with the Oilers?


Yakupov hopes to be drafted by the Oilers.

EDMONTON SUN: Terry Jones reports Sarnia Sting right wing Nail Yakupov, ranked the top prospect heading into this year’s NHL entry draft, is enthusiastic over the possibility he could be selected by the Oilers, who hold the first overall pick. “I definitely want to go to Edmonton and play for the Oilers, for sure,” said Yakupov, who has played in Canada the past two years and enjoyed the experience.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson, responding to reader e-mail, doubts the Oilers would ship the first overall pick to the New Jersey Devils for Adam Larsson as one reader suggested. Matheson also suggested Yann Danis, the starter for the Oilers’ farm team, probably doesn’t have a chance of cracking the big club next season if Nikolai Khabibulin returns as expected. Danis could, however, catch the interest of another NHL club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While I have no doubt Oilers management will consider trade options, especially if they’re offered a young, top-pairing defenseman, it wouldn’t surprise me if they retain the first overall pick and use it to select Yakupov, and seek a top-pairing defenseman via free agency or trade. Given his enthusiasm toward the possibility of joining the Oilers, that could prove a positive enticement for GM Steve Tambellini to select him.


  1. Nothing against this kid, but Russian stars haven’t exactly work out well for many teams.

    • Worked out fine for Detroit, Pittsburg and Washington recently!

    • Toronton should trade schenn franson colborne/ kadri and their second round pick to edmonton then turn around and trade the first pick overall to a team who wants yaku puff and aquire a couple of big hard working forwards preferably a center as well as the other teams first or second rounder and they maintain their first pick 5th overall plus the other teams pick and aquire 2 helpful forwards plus they can draft a bigger forward with their picks P.S. i don’t like toronto but this makes sense

  2. I think Yakupov’s comments are a good indicator (if anything) that he wants to play in the NHL. Sounds like he wants to let it be known that he’ll play on this side of the atlantic.

  3. i think edmonton has to draft him now, he actually wants to play there! no offence, but it is COLD, and a hole. sarnia is semi-cold, and a hole, so he’s already 3/4’s home!

  4. According to there are currently 29 Russians in the NHL, of those 29 playing you have the likes of Ovechkin, Datsyuk, Bryzgalov, Kovalchuk, Radulov, Malkin, Semin, Varlamov etc.

    I think if you look at the % of Russians in the NHL 29/700+ players (4%) and the stars we have playing in the NHL from Russia they are holding their own quite well. Not selecting a player because he is from Russia is ridiculous.

    There are very few Russians who were selected who never panned out well compared to Canadians or Americans selected who never panned out…for every Filatov, Frolov or Zherdev there is an Alexander Daigle, Daniel Tkachuck, or James Sheppard. In fact you would be hard pressed to find a draft year where there wasn’t an American/Canadian/Swede who busted that was drafted higher then a Russian who busted.

  5. First, I think the kid (aka his agent) is smart in saying that he would love to go play for the Oil… he wants to be the first overall pick, so you need to say that kind of stuff. If Columbus had the #1 pick, he would have said the exact same thing.

    Second, i think this kid is different… he plays in the OHL, wants to play in the HL and make an impact… reminds me a lot of Kovalchuk in his attitude and desire to want to play in the best league.

    Interesting talk about Larsson. I don’t think Jersey trades him though- who trades a young Swedish Dman with potential?

    I maintain the Oilers need to move this pick for immediate help on D, but the availibility of top pairing guys is extremely limited. Drafting Yakupov would be a major addition, but not a step forward.

    • I agree with this.

      What kind of stupidity would it be if this kid was like:

      “I know I’m every scouting reports first overall pick; and Edmonton has the first overall pick… I’d rather they not draft me, I dislike Edmonton!”

      To be honest, the Oil *really* don’t need another first overall forward. That pick is probably enough to get yourself a real Dman. The current free agent pool is small in regards to forwards, none of them are really top pair guys in regards to defense… there are a few that are top pairing guys if you want a forward playing a defensive role.

  6. I see no issue with Edmonton drafting Nail! He would be a huge impact player with an already star studded forward cast. This off season the Oilers can invest some money in grit throughout their line up to protect these young stars and give them space and have patience with some of their D. When you have this much offense you are going to start attracting UFA’s. You call up a top UFA defenseman and say you will be playing on a team where your forwards are Hall, Yakupov, Eberle, Hopkins … and people will buy in pretty quick.

    What has Suter/Weber expressed as their issue? Lack of scoring and the desire to win. I wouldn’t count out the Oilers throwing big bucks at Suter if he hits the market and saying … look at who you get to play with, we need you to be that missing link. Not saying the Oilers can land Suter, but I think they are fine taking Yakupov and continuing their young forward movement.

    Then again if Ryan Murray is ready to play in the Worlds then he is ready to play in the NHL and they might just draft him right from the start.

  7. BoltsNation, nice racist post, especially since a Russian goalie helped the Bolts win the cup…and Malkin’s done nothing for the Penguins right, I mean a Conn Smythe trophy, that’s it? And that lazy Selke trophy and 2-time Stanley cup winner Pavel Datsyuk, just another Russian floater that quits in the playoffs right?

    • In what way is his comment racist?Read it again…all he’s saying is that some Russians,as with any other nationality,don’t pan out…Switch to decaf.

      • You read his post again, in fact, here it is “Nothing against this kid, but Russian stars haven’t exactly work out well for many teams.”
        1. He said Russian, not other nationalities, just Russians.
        2. He didn’t say some, he generalized and said Russians.
        3. If you don’t think that’s a racist comment YOU need to read it again…or are you black and can’t read, or are you a lazy Mexican who can’t bother to read? Or maybe you’re a drunken Indian who is too drunk to read? Perhaps you’re a wussy European hockey player because you wear a visor and it’s obstructing your view??? – switch to zuchini cucumber boy!

        • That’s not racism. Russian is a natioanlity which features people of a number of races.

          The comment is a branch of xenophobia, but primarily uniformed stupidity that is taken directly from an uninformed Don Cherry.

  8. My gut says they should find someone in the top 5 or so and see if they can’t swap their first rounder for that teams top 5, along with another decent d prospect.

    A team can have as much offence as it likes.. but any team that’s going to make some noise in this league needs balance across the team.

  9. Although the thought of Edmonton trading down and getting a Dman in a package makes great fodder, realistically I think we all know they’ll keep it and draft Yak. Someone posted here a little while back that Tambellini can always trade a guy like Sam Gagne for a young defenceman…I tend to agree. If you get the first overall pick, you keep it. Especially one where there is a clear cut number one, regardless of nationality.
    can1jim, fantastic post my man!

    • I agree, I think Edmonton will keep the first overall pick for the name-sake… but really where does that get them?
      4 young forwards that in 3-4 years will all cost +5 million, still a very weak defense and goaltender.

      Sam Gagner had that big burst of offense this past year, they had the chance to trade him for a defensive center piece. Instead they saw offensive numbers and jumped back into the Gagner wagon.

      One thing, look at the past 5 cup winners and tell me if you see a trend:

      Boston – Zdeno Chara
      Chicago – Keith, Seabrook
      Pittsburgh – Whitney, Gonchar, young Goligoski & Letang
      Detroit – Lidstrom
      Anaheim – Prongs & Niedermayer

      • Mio- my point exaclty.
        Well put.

  10. @JJB- I agree that there isnt an issue in Edm drafting Yakupov.. you are right that he would be a great offensive addition to a team loaded with talent (but not a whole lot of size, keep in mind).

    My point is that you cannot just draft a bunch of kids and think that’s what makes a winner. They are in desperate need of defense. DESPERATE.

    The teams that have had consecutive top picks have either acquired help (defense, size, leadership, goaltending) or have done absolutely nothing with the top picks.

    Pittsburgh is the exception— sure, but without bringing in Gonchar, Gill, Roberts they dont make it nearly as far. Lets also keep in mind that getting Sidney is a much bigger advantage than drafting any other #1 since Lindros/Sundin.

    Edmonton has a wealth of riches. Adding Yakupov would give them more gold, but what they need now is to trade some gold for some bronze shields. I don’t believe you will get #1-2 defenseman to sign in Edmonton until they show some success– i.e. They need to get close to the playoffs or squeak in. The only way to do that is to trade for defenseman.

    MPS might bring you in a solid 4-6 dman (like the Aulie for Ashton deal), but not a difference maker. Omark won’t bring back an NHLer… so to me their best trading chip is the 1st pick.

    Someone mentioned Bouwmeester, which is a solid addition. I maintain Phaneuf is certainly an upgrade over who they currently have (I doubt Burke wants to trade him). I think you can make a push for Subban. Larsson is interesting, but Jerz isn’t stupid.

    I’d really go hard after Hedman. I think TB would love to add a young scoring winger to Stamkos so that they can build around them moving forward, giving them St.Louis and Lecavalier to dangle to the right teams at future deadlines/drafts to ring in picks/prospects. Hedman’s progression has been slower than they hoped for, but he reminds me of a young Chara who didnt fully develop until after 4-5 years into his career. You can’t teach size, speed, strength, and nastiness. However, the 1st pick isn’t enough to get Hedman, so Edmonton would have to give more- which I am not cininced they want to.

    At the end of the day, if Edm doesn’t get a top pairing Dman or two guys that can be their #3+4 Dmen, they are not trading the pick.

    Food for thought:
    In the event that #1-2 dmen are not available (which they are not)
    Edmonton could also look to deal the #1 pick in a package to get Jordan Staal… which would be a significant addition to their smallish forward group and help insulate RNH. Maybe something like #1 pick, MPS, Sam Gagner to Pitt for J. Staal + 1st pick.

  11. It sounds like a major collapse is about to happen to the Pens. This is J Staal

    Would the Oils be interested in Staal for 1st overall (with some revisions of course). Letang may be traded in the offseason to the Oils if they get swept. That’d be a good deal, Letang for Yapukov. That would let them get Shea Weber if they wanted

  12. I again question one thing though, why does Edmonton make a big move that might involve other assets when they can pick up Murray? The guy missed last years draft by 12 days and most felt he would have went in the 1st then. He has decent size, plays a patient game, and is all around a solid defenseman with good wheels. He is going to the World Championships and is the most NHL ready player in the draft.

    I think for Edmonton if they want the defense then they need to either look at it and say if the #1 pick alone can land me someone better then I will take it OR if Montreal is willing to trade up then do it as neither Montreal or Columbus are drafting a D-Man. Now you could question if Toronto offered up their 5th in a package with Schenn or Franson then you may do it and pick up Dumba or Reilly to help for the future.

    Personally I think they go right either way in Yakupov or Murray. Yaks adds an offensive punch and dictates that you need to go to trade and UFA to add some size and punch to the forward depth and blue line. MPS, Omark, Hemsky, Horcoff could all be potential trade baits to help add to the blueline.

    Or maybe they just pick up Murray. If Whitney can stay healthy we know he is a great D-man and can mentor Murray. Smid is a solid depth guy, Teubert and Kleffbom are in the system also who could both be solid someday.

    Overall I think the situation in Edmonton isn’t perfect but it isn’t quite as bad as people are making it out to be.

  13. Not worried at all by Yakupov`s russian-ness, he`s gonna be a solid NHL player. The oilers should probably draft him, the only other option would be something like the suggestion about trading him for someone like Larsson. That might be a good idea but other than something like that the oilers will be well off drafting this guy then using some spare forwards to try and trade for a defenseman, maybe sign a decent defensemen via free agency then they can focus on getting a goalie. I think edmonton will be a fun team to watch and a good team sometime soon.

  14. My thoughts are that CBJ will trade Nash for a package before the draft, then trade #2 overall plus a high pick from that package to move up to #1, and/or maybe a serviceable NHLer. (Tyutin?)

    The trade makes sense for the Oil, because they get the player they can use most – Murray – but also get a high pick/decent player. That’s a lot of value.

    The Blue Jackets, as a business, desperately need something to sell to the crowd. A #1 overall pick does that nicely. It’s a bit to give up, to move up one spot, but on the business side it makes a lot of sense as a sales tool for a franchise that desperately needs some marketability.

  15. If I am Oilers I would not want to trade youth for a aging d-man. If Washington gets bounced in first round they just may want to shake things up and well it’s a stretch but I’d go after Alzner and / or Carlson. Now don’t get me wrong it would not be #1 pick for Alzner & Carlson but it would be part of the puzzle, #1 pick + Hemsky + something else for Carlson & Alzner

  16. It’s easier to get a talented forward than it is to get a talented defensemen.

    No way NJ trades Larsson — that’s just insanity.

  17. What if the Habs traded up to the first overall pick but in addition to their 3rd overall pick added Alexei Emelin and Yanick Weber?

    Emelin had a very strong rookie campaign and plays a tough physical game. Weber is a great PP guy, good vision and good shot.

    That way the Habs get Nail and the Oilers get two solid young Dmen PLUS potential to get Ryan Murray/Filip Forsberg with the 3rd overall pick.

    What do you think SPEC?

  18. Realizing my post was pretty much incoherent. lol

    My thoughts:
    – CBJ trades Nash for a package, including receiving a high pick. This is done a day or two before the draft.
    – CBJ trades #2 overall + that high pick (or a decent player) to EDM for #1 overall

    – CBJ gets Yakupov and marketability / EDM get Murray + another high pick (or player)

  19. DurtMurt-

    You said yesterday why would Oilers trade with Carolina if they could get #5 overall from Toronto. Thats just it I don’t think Toronto wants to trade up to #1 and I wouldn’t blame them. They can get what they need at #5. Listen I am sure I am in the minority here but I feel Burke is a solid GM. Also consider what he was left with when he came aboard. Yes he gave up too much for Kessel but honestly would be in the same position if he drafted Seguin. I am a Bruins fan and am not a Kessel fan but he is a potential 40 goal scorer for the next 10 years. What he did swinging the Phaneuf trade I liked a lot samething with what he got from the Bruins for Kaberle. The Aulie for Ashton trade I also liked. All I’m saying is he should take one of the centers available at #5 and stay the course. IF Toronto receives better goaltending next year they are a playoff team. A full season under Carlyle will also help never ever thought much of Wilson.

  20. CP, don’t see it happening.

  21. Well for starters, why would NJ trade Larsson, who is making huge strides already? It is much harder to get a young D man that has Larssons talent than it is to get a forward, with as of yet unproven NHL talent. Not a snowballs chance in hell that Lou would trade Larsson for Yakupov.

  22. Vinnie, I said that yesterday in jest. Because a few people were posting a couple of radiculous packages Burke would have to pay to trade up. I never actually thought a swap would happen.
    As far as Carolina is concerned, I’m wondering if they use there assets elsewhere. If the reports are true that Jordan is unhappy, I wonder if they’ll try to make a move to reunite the staal brothers. We’ve all heard they want to make a splash this year with free agents, but c’mon…who are they kidding? I think Jordan could be had for the right price (ie defensemen and high draft picks)