NHL Morning Rumor Mill – March 17, 2014

Latest on Nail Yakupov, Ryan Malone, Rene Bourque and Simon Despres.

Could the Lightning buy out Ryan Malone in June?

Could the Lightning buy out Ryan Malone in June?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wonders what the Oilers will do with struggling sophomore winger Nail Yakupov in the off-season.  Should they retain him and hope to develop his skills, or seriously consider trading him? If it’s the latter, Matheson advocates contacting the Sabres, who could have two picks in the top five if the Islanders agree to hand over their 2014 first round pick as part of the deal in the Thomas Vanek trade…Matheson also believes the Pittsburgh Penguins need another puck-moving defenseman, given Kris Letang’s medical concerns, which explains why they wouldn’t part with Derick Pouliot as part of a proposed return for Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler. They could be willing to move defenseman Simon Despres…He feels Montreal’s Rene Bourque, who’s been a recent scratch of late, should be concerned about a contract buyout this summer…Matheson also suspects Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone could also become a buyout candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t surprise me if Oilers GM Craig MacTavish entertained offers for Yakupov this summer, but barring a solid return I doubt he’ll trade him.  As his colleague David Staples recently observed, if Yakupov’s market value is low why bother trading him?  Better to give him another season to develop. He’s only 20 and still has plenty of time to improve…Despres’ name has kicked around the rumor mill for a year. Don’t be surprised if he’s packaged in a deal this summer…Bourque could indeed become a buyout candidate this June, though the Habs could wait until next summer… Malone has only one season remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $4.5 million, though in actual salary he’s scheduled to make $2.5 million.  It been obvious age (34) and years of injuries have caught up with him. The Lightning have a compliance buyout remaining if they wish to go that route this June. A regular buyout would cost $2.83 million against their cap next season and over $833K in 2015-16.


  1. It is really unfortunate when a team feel the need to trade a former #1 (or early pick) due to under performance because it never feels like an equal value return. I think a package deal of say Yakupov (secondary component) and Primary component for established all star would be the type of trade you make. Yakupov ends up being the variable that makes it a win or a loss for one team, but at least he isn’t the primary component

  2. The real thing that is unfortunate is how teams thi nk, no matter how strong or weak the draft is, that there is a need to play that guy in the pros, when seasoning may be a better course.
    To me, Yakupov is a really fast speed player who is a little like rookie Marcel Dionne was -still a one trick pony who could play to his speed at first. It takes time.

  3. Edmonton should be an interesting team to watch. All indications (to me) show that Nurse & Klefbom will likely play in the pro’s next year, with an offside chance of Musil joining them. The Oilers off season could fully depend on where they draft. If they can land Aaron Ekblad (who most consider NHL ready) and are able to bring him in with Nurse & Klefbom it could take a lot of pressure off the Oilers looking for defense this off season. J. Schultz, Nurse, Klefbom, Ekblad, Ferance, Petry looks a lot better then the past.

    Take into account a new goaltending duo in Scrivens & Fasth who both want to prove themselves as NHL starters and the Oilers could retain Yakupov and instead focusing on trying to bring in a top 6 forward with size via UFA or just to sign some depth to their team really down center. Some possible UFA’s they could target on forward are Steve Ott, Vernon Fiddler, Daniel Winnik, Taylor Pyatt, Milan Michalek, Radim Vrbata, Ryan Callahan, Steve Downie, Nikolai Kulemin.

    • Kuli and Gordon could be the start of a very good defensive line if his contract demands are not outrageous, agreed. Handy player Kulimen is.

      • I know it would be ‘a lot’ of guys. But if the Oilers targeted Kulemin, Pyatt, and Fiddler I think they’d be in a good spot. I’d rather seem them get some good quantity depth, then break the bank on stars. Eberle, Hall, Nuge, Yakupov, Gagner, Perrin still make a decent top 6. Add a supporting cast of Kulemin, Pyatt and Fiddler to your bottom 6 and it would be better.

        I wouldn’t cry if they let some guys walk on defense and landed a vet like Greene, Robidais, Tallinder, or Sarich on the blueline.

  4. Matheson is insane if he thinks Yakupov will bring a top-5 draft pick. His valuable has dropped greatly.

  5. Regarding Yakupov, I was watching the Kings’ game tonight. Jim Fox mentioned that Yakupov currently has a plus/minus of -33, worst in the league. In this current hockey climate, that dog won’t hunt. If you can’t be at least adequate on defense, you won’t be around too long (unless you can score 60 goals like Ovechkin who was second worst on the list at -31).

  6. Nail’s poor +/- is a result of his weaker defensive play but mostly the egregious defense of the Oilers. The entire system is rotten there. Look at Hemsky, he left and instantly bloomed and probably will continue till he gets hurt again. Nail should be a prime candidate for other teams to make offers for. He is the Tyler Seguin of the Oilers. He’s just not a fit there. Once he leaves, he’ll do great.

  7. Yaks for one of the Sabres possible top 5 first rounders? No thanks. We could get him for less. His values gone lower and lower all year. Ehrhoff + for Yaks.