Latest Yakupov and Vanek Rumors – October 15, 2013.

A rumor out of Russia claims Oilers forward Nail Yakupov could bolt for the KHL, plus the latest on Sabres forward Thomas Vanek.

Nail Yakupov's two-game benching raised questions about his future as an Oiler.

Nail Yakupov’s two-game benching raised questions about his future as an Oiler.

PUCK DADDY: Greg Wyshynski cited tweets from reporter Igor Eronko in which the coach of Nail Yakupov’s former KHL team claimed there’s a chance the young winger could return to Russia, adding Yakupov’s father “saw possible future problems” back in the summer. Wyshynski then noted a tweet from ESPN’s Craig Custance, who cited Yakupov’s agent Igor Larionov denied his client gave any thought of returning to the KHL.

THE SPORTING NEWS: Sean Gentille cited tweets from columnist Slava Malamud in which Yakupov denied his father was trying to stir things up or that he had any talks with his former KHL team. Yakupov added he loved playing in Edmonton, though he was unhappy over being a healthy scratch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yakupov’s two-game benching was bound to generate questions about his future with the Oilers.  Even if Yakupov wanted to return to the KHL, he’s under contract through 2014-15 with the Oilers. The NHL and KHL have an agreement to honor each other’s contract, so unless Yakupov “retired” (with the Oilers blessing) to return to the KHL, he won’t be returning to Russia this season or next.

I think the bigger question is, does Yakupov become trade bait if the Oilers go shopping for a quality goaltending?  Let’s face it, Devan Dubnyk’s really struggling and Jason Labarbera isn’t the kind of backup Dubnyk needs. Unless they want to take a chance on free agents like Ilya Bryzgalov, Jose Theodore or Rick DiPietro, they’ll have to jump into the trade market soon, where they could be forced to part with a quality asset to land a decent goalie. Given they’ve invested long term in Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner, Yakupov seems the likely candidate. He carries an affordable contract and would have significant trade value.

THE BUFFALO NEWS/TWINCITIES.COM: Rumors persist Sabres winger Thomas Vanek could sign with the Minnesota Wild next summer as an unrestricted free agent.  Vanek will remain a trade candidate this season until he’s re-signed or dealt. The Wild, however, must also ensure they leave enough cap space to re-sign young players Jonas Brodin, Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund, whose contracts expire at the end of next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For his part, Vanek isn’t getting wrapped up in the rumor chatter, claiming he’s not ruling out re-signing with the Sabres. If he is shopped, the Sabres could have a tough time moving him if rival clubs believe he’ll head to Minnesota next summer. 


  1. I hope that Chuck Fletcher signs Brodin and Coyle to long term contracts. Granlund has done nothing to impress and is starting to look like a bust.

  2. The Oilers are going to have to trade one of their young guns to get better, so why not one whose ego is bigger than his talent, and whose absence isn’t going to make the team worse?

    • Well depending on the return it may not be worth it. Im not so sure other GMs are going to be offering up their proven number 1 guy for Yaks right now or doing the Oilers any favors, great potential but when it comes down he is sitting right now. If you look at the teams that may be in position to make a deal like the Ducks and Leafs both have good depth for forwards St.Louis is possible Ottawa maybe but Im not so sure Murray would send Lehner or Anderson to Edmonton straight up for Yaks right now. A deal for a goalie might involve Edmonton giving up a little more than they want to for a number 1 type starter or as others have said a multiplayer type deal might be needed.

      • Ottawa would not be interested in Yaks. They have an in-house cap, always did. The have always relied on 4-5 core players, and they have that right now (Ryan, Spezza, Michalek, Karlsson and Anderson). Adding in Yaks, would mean that he’ll end up later on with a huge contract upgrade, and they cannot afford that internally.

        • Also their problems are needing an improvement on a bottom pairing defenseman, or possibly a bottom 6 two way forward not another scoring winger.

        • Sens look for players who will play the 200 ft game.. I don’t think Yakupov does that.

          The issue with these Russian players is that if the NHL does not put them where they think they belong.. then bye bye NHL… hello KHL..

        • LeafsAdvocate, I agree with your conclusion but not your rationale. In fact a young player at a reasonable cap hit would fit into the Senators current strategy however I doubt that Murray will be interested in taking Yakupov for the reasons stated by JJB and Sandy. And here’s another reason, until the acquisition of Anderson and the ascension of Robin Lehner, goaltending was always this teams Achilles heel. Which of the two would they trade? It definitely won’t be Lehner as he’s without doubt their goalie of the future but it’s also unlikely he’s ready for a #1 position at this time. Just my $.002…

  3. I forgot about dipietro.. Honestly with him the contract was ridiculous and I think added to the constant ir status he has.. But he was a first overall pick and the oilers love those. Bring him in and see if he can stay healthy. Can’t be any worse then what’s happening now.

    • That’s what you think

    • Lol think Id go with Bryz or Theodore first but Id definitely be thinking a UFA for now possibly a move later in the year or look at signing a better UFA over the summer. Yaks stock is at an all time low right now, no need to jump the gun and do something you may regret when there are cheaper options available.

      • Bryzgalov was a great goalie in phx but with such a young team in Edmonton I just don’t know if you want such a head case in that dressing room. Dipietro is only 32 and had high level skill if not for his injuries he may have turned out… I guess my point is yes shticky I’m with you don’t wAste an asset like yak on a non elite goalie.. Cuz your not getting on this point in the season…

    • if dipietro is the answer what is the question, theres got to be a better option

  4. Here’s a thought. What about Gardner & Reimer for Yakupov & Dubnyk or a 2nd rounder

    • Toronto could sign Jose Theodore if Edmonton would rather give up the pick

      • Could be away to get rid of Liles….lol
        Reimer and Liles for Smid no picks no young stars moving salaries balance out.

        Pipe dream I know.

        • Shticky I generally disagree with your dreams but that trade could be a short term band aid for both teams, especially the Leafs. Although the Oilers need to ask is Reimer an upgrade over Dubnyk, and do they really want to give up Smid. Liles needs to be looked at as a 3rd pairings and second unit pp d throw in. Although I really think a change would do Liles some good (think Lupul to TO).

          I imagine they would want to send one of their goalies back in return.

    • Cap hit doesn’t fit, Toronto doesn’t have any cap left, and that trade would be taking on cap. Try:

      To Toronto: Yakupov
      To Edmonton: Gardiner + Ashton

      Toronto won’t give up Reimer, as he is only at a cap hit of $1.8M and provides a lot of depth.

      • Liles makes more then Smid and the Oilers have 4 mill in room 250k more for Liles plus Reimers cheap contract still leaves the oilers with room….dosent matter never going to happen but cap works.

        • Would Liles have to go on reentry waivers where he could be picked up at half the price? I think a lot of teams would like him for nothing at a 1.5 cap hit

      • The problem with that is J Schultz is better then Gardiner and Petry is the about the same as Gardiner. Oilers already have to many of that type of defence men. If the Oilers trade for a defence men it will be for a Mat Green or Adam McQaide type.

        I am all for trading Yaks as I was hoping the Oilers would take Galchenyuk instead. I would love to see the Oilers make a trade with the Ducks for Hiller.

        • The Oilers dont need Gardiner.
          Reimer is could be an upgrade its debatable, but definitely not Gardiner. For a d man the only thing that might fit needs wise for the Oilers would be Dion, and again thats debatable and a moot point because there is nothing, that would be a suitable return for Reimer and Phaneuf that the Oilers would be willing to part with.

          • I knew somehow, we would hear Leafs talk, even thought it says nothing about the Leafs

          • Though*

    • Yakupov is NOT headed to TO.. and certainly not with Dubnyk. To offer Reimer as a return is almost an insult when Dubnyk was top 15 for save percentage last year on a vastly outshot Oilers team. Dubby is having a hard time and Yak is not in his comfort zone on the third line with guys that aren’t a quarter of his talent. they will come around it takes a little time. Even Kadri made some vast improvements after getting benched a couple times.

      • Dubby sucks, likely from smoking too many dubbies. Reimer held the Leafs together last year, and nearly beat out the Stanley Cup finalists.

      • Numbers don’t lie. Reimer is not an upgrade from Dubnyk. Equal at best. Dubnyk is off to a horrible start,that’s it. He’ll get better. Reimer is a back up wherever he plays.Not saying Dubnyk will be anything better than a back up either.
        Yakupov is going to be a major player In this league and if you Leaf lovers think Toronto wouldn’t unload Phaneuf & Reimer for him straight up your delusional. If Yakupov goes anywhere it’ll probably be Washington or Ottawa.
        I like the Leafs and cheer for them as long as they’re not playing Detroit but T.O. fans are downright INSANE!!!!

        • Lol ya sure they would give up their number 1 D and a goalie that wil probably start 30 or so games for them this year for a 19 year old kid, who right now would be probably sitting on the bench or at least behind Lupul JVR Kessel Bolland (Randy loves that guy unlike soft Russians that dont play a 200 foot game not so much remember Grabovski?) and Clarkson (who even I admit is debatable second line material but still more in the mold of the teams philosophy) and miss the playoffs. Get over yourself. Numbers dont lie? Duby gaa 5.43 with a whopping .829 sv%. At this point I wouldnt even consider him a backup. Not like he had a stellar preseason either. Reimer last year was 12 in wins Duby 25, Reimer was 12 in sv% Duby was 22, Reimer was 7th in shutouts, Dubnyk was 24 so in other words Reimer was in the top half of the league in most stats as a starter better than most of Dubnyks and better starter numbers than most the league….lol sure ya he is just a back up.

          • Not saying Yaks is a bust or anything, he will probably be a great player but give your head a shake about deals that teams would jump for. No one is selling the farm for Yaks yet. If Eakins thought he deserved to be sat in the press box for a couple games, some of the other coaches around the league that aren’t near the bottom of the league and have some depth at wing would probably agree.

  5. I currently like Edmonton established big 3 more than Yakupov, but he has just as much potential if not more and a much smaller contract. If I were MacTavish I would consider trading one of the 3 with their big contracts for the G and D and future cap space. I don’t know that is feasable to have so many big money players. In a cap world players need to slot into positions. For instance, Clarkson is getting paid like a 1st liner but will eventually play like a 3rd liner lol (just an example of player type IE Darcy Tucker mold)

  6. I was surprised when the Kings sent Bernier to Toronto. Edmonton seemed like a team with the offensive talent that was right on the cusp of being good. It seemed like Bernier would have been a perfect fit there.

    • But you have to note, Toronto had the best offer, while the other teams were just kicking tires. With regards to assets, sure Edmonton has a ton of it, but Toronto’s assets…for the bang for the buck, was better. Especially when Toronto agreed to take back 1/2 the salary of $500K. Look at how good Scrivens and Frattin are doing for LA. To top that all off, Toronto threw in a 2nd rounder. Later on in the year, LA could easily use that 2nd rounder to throw at a team to acquire any defensive or offensive help. Not necessarily the 2nd rounder straight up, but likely in a package deal. 2nd + roster player, for something a little better to make them more of a Cup contender.

      • That’s right leafsadvocate people seem to forget that the Leafs gave them a pretty decent package. As a Kings fan I don’t mind that we got Frattin, Scrivens, 2nd and $500,000 for our back-up goalie.

        • Yes, but Nonis was comfortable in giving up a backup + 3rd-4th liner, for the potential for a #1 goaltender. A 2nd rounder is a toss up, you might get a good player, or you might get a solid AHL player. Sure he was LA’s backup, but he was also drafted to be their potential #1. Just that Quick hit his stride and solidified that #1 spot before Bernier was brought to LA. Now Bernier is on a mission to prove that LA made a mistake and that he is a legit #1. He may say all of the nice things for the media and fans to assure that him and Reimer are together on the page in working together to help on another, but back in his mind, he is putting extreme high expectations to prove himself. Also, Nonis didn’t give Bernier that contract to be a backup goaltender.

        • agreed that’s a nice package. Frattins a good player was just expendable for the right deal, Kings needed the backup goalie which if you look at the salaries held pretty much means the Kings are not even paying him. Plus a second…very nice package for a guy who is not playing…. This is what I mean tho by saying is just Yaks enough for an established number 1 guy right now? I don’t think so. Still to young still a tonne of potential but a very risky deal for another GM to make IMO, I could see Allen and a pick for Yaks or something along those lines, but Allen is of yet an AHL goalie. Also St.ouis has 2 UFA goalies next year do they really want to give up a guy who could be their starter in 12 months? tough to say

    • I agree but I don’t think Lombardi would have entertained a trade with a divisional rival unless they blew his socks off. In saying that Yakupov would have made him change his mind pretty quickly.

  7. Yakupov is NOT going to the K, and will be back with the Oilers in their next game. This is just a healthy lesson to him that he needs to put in more Eakins-type effort and play. If anyone of Edmonton’s star-like players are going anywhere, it will be Hemsky…but that is not later on…likely just before the Trade Deadline is up. As for Vanek, he won’t be going to Minnesota via Free Agency, he’ll be traded, likely around the same time as Hemsky. Buffalo, in a full rebuild mode, will want the absolute most in return as possible. Same said for Miller.

  8. Getting ready for another Flyers loss tonight. F**** my life…

    • ah but new coach and soon to be new GM (has to happen sooner than later) think of all the upcoming Flyer Rumors there will be…that could very well be a blow it up situation soon. Cheer up 😉

  9. I see the Oil signing an FA goalie first, and seeing how that works. Can probably get one for league minimum, test it out for a bit and see if there’s any success. If not, then look to trade Yak (or whoever).

    Yak has flaws, but he was 1st overall a year ago, and their top goal scorer last year. A panic trade now might be what they need – but is equally likely to come back and bite them.

    • #1 picks don’t always pan out, Ottawa knows all too well. Were you around for the Alaxander Daigle era? lol

      • I was, indeed. I even remeber him in that nurse’s outfit; probably the most memorable thing he did! lol I’m actually an old fart & a Habs fan, and I know the failings of a #1 pick too well (Doug Wickenheiser over Denis Savard & Paul Coffey? Ugh.)

        But while he might end up a bust, I think one year is too quick to give up. Not that he’s not tradeable, but better to assess what he can get over the season, rather than a panic trade right now.

  10. Does anyone see a potential carter ashton & jake gardner for paul stastny trade happening

    • No there would need to be a whole lot more salary moved for something like that to happen like 4-5mill more to open enough room once players start coming back like Kuli and McClaren. Id love for the Leafs to get their hands on Stasny or ROR at this point but unless Bozak or Liles goes and possibly another player elsewhere there is no room for something like that.

      • That could be done in separate deals. Deal Kulimen for picks & McLaren or Orr could go for a pick as well.

    • Where would you put him?
      Do you take Bozak away from Kessel? (Could hurt team chemistry)
      Do you shift Kadri down to 3rd or 4th line? (Grabovski flash-backs)
      Also keep in mind he’s a UFA end of season.

      • I put Bozak on the third line where he belongs…he can still go home a give Phil his foot massage and draw him baths and such. Lots of chemistry time.

        • Actually I Like a third line of Bozak Bolland and Raymond or Kuli, if Bozak is there you can deal Kuli and still have a good defensive line.

        • Then you’re paying $4 Million to a 3rd line centre… the humanity!

          • Who cares if we are under the cap and winning lol. I might have another point of view if it goes off the rails but, we would finally have some center depth. Top 6 locked up and only have to worry about signing Dion or replacing him. The haters can say your over paying your third line center all they want, winning is winning there is no prize for the prettiest payroll last I looked. If we could find away to get one of them out of Colorado and clear enough cap room its a no brainer imo. If the cap goes back to 70 mill next year and continues to climb its not out of the question we could maybe afford Stasny or ROR if they can be signed for around 6-6.5. Particularly if Bolland walks which he might if he keeps going the way he is (big raise coming there).

          • Konstantine I agreed with your flashback of Kadri/Grabo 3rd line repeat, but if the leafs could somehow get a real 1st line centre you might be able to afford Bozak in 3rd line centre role.I can’t imagine bolland and him coexisting but bolland only has a single year on his contract. Also the cap is going up and you could kinda play bozak as a filler for any top 6 injury. It is a little more feasible cap wise but I agree it would be hard to justify. If we could get a team to eat Bozak contract in return for the centre than we would be in business.

            Also a thought about Edmonton trading any oftheir forwards. They would want an older established goalies, d or power forwards. I love Lehner but I would want Anderson the guy who has consistently carried the team on his back. The bernier deal has looked promising for the leafs so far but young unestablished goalies are always a gamble.

          • Yet again, another thread goes off on a completely unrelated Leafs tangent.

          • Funny I dont see anything about the Preds or Flyers yet there is some mention of them as well.

  11. What about Coyle Heatly and a second for Vanek just to end the speculation? The Wild are looking like they could use some offense and may aswell bite the bullet if they are going to sign him anyway. The Sabers take yet another big center/winger (envy) who will grow with the team and a pick to go along with the salary dump and move on.

    • You really think wild would trade coyle? Buffalo already has grigorenko and hodgson up the middle..

    • You STILL haven’t figured out how to spell “Sabres” yet?

      • Too much multi-tasking some work days, I type fast and hit enter. If I was being marked or paid for my responses I’d be more thorough I assure you.

        Anyway Aki, Im not sure thats kinda why I asked. If the Wild thought Vanek could help them now would they do it? Or risk not making the playoffs and waiting if it came down to it? Also would the SABRES (feel better now?) be interested and take that much of a salary dump for that kind of return? Coyle and a second might be a better deal than they get at the deadline for a UFA that most think is going to end up in Mini anyway.

  12. trade yakupov after 52 games played as an oiler? doesn’t work for me

    • If I were oilers I wouldn’t do it either… But if I’m another team I’m all over that…I was going to say Nashville should try to get some scoring but they would probably stay away from the khl threat again…

  13. If the oilers are going to trade Yak why don’t the Habs take a stab with georges, budaj, bealieu. Habs will also take Duby and a second.

    • If the Oilers did this, there would be a lynch party brewing in Edmonton.

  14. Yak and Petry for Shea Weber.

    • Bahahahahha…sorry, it just came out of nowhere. Weber is and will be a long time Pred

      • Ehh not so sure about this, for the right deal I could see Weber moving at some point down the road especially now that they have Jones. Maybe not right away but I doubt Weber plays for the Preds for anymore than the next couple/few years.

  15. There is just no way oiler GM McTavish will trade Yaks and not get major, I mean major players in return. No possible way. He would sooner end up with a lottery pick than do that. So any Leaf or Flyer fan trying to speculate on Leaf and Flyer marginal, leftover and/or problem players being packaged for Nail can forget it.

    Both former coach Kruger and present coach Eakins has said that Nail has the quickest release they have even seen. They know this guy could be an all-world player, but he isn’t now. So you have to look at this guy Yaks as a potentially dominant guy. But even ovechkin hasn’t brought a Cup to Washington, so if Yaks doesn’t buy in to a team concept, he will be labeled a Russian prima donna …maybe unfairly, but there you have it. But to expect to get him for an average guy or two or three is humorous.