The latest on Nail Yakupov, Mike Cammalleri, Vernon Fiddler, Jonas Hiller and more.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov yesterday said he loved Edmonton and wants to play for the Oilers, but admitted his unhappiness over his limited ice time (10-11 minutes per game of late) and believes he deserves more.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Joanne Ireland reports Yakupov isn’t seeking a trade but questioned coach Dallas Eakins trust in him. Eakins, meanwhile, downplayed Yakupov’s comments, saying it’s okay if the winger feels frustrated, but he won’t deter from his plan, saying players must earn their minutes.
TSN.CA; A testy Oilers GM Craig MacTavish maintained he has no plans to trade Yakupov and defended his team’s treatment of the sophomore winger. He also accused the ESPN reporter who interviewed Yakupov’s agent Igor Larionov (whose comments generated the latest controversy) of manufacturing Larionov’s claim his client would accept a trade if the Oilers were unhappy with him.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes the Oilers 2014 first round pick is in play for more immediate help.
SPORTSNET.CA: Mark Spector reports former Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid believes MacTavish could make more trades if his old team fails to improve. Smid was deal to the Calgary Flames on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: To recap: Yakupov’s agent Igor Larionov reportedly claimed his client would accept a trade if the Oilers are unhappy with him. Yakupov said he doesn’t want to be dealt but expresses unhappiness over his ice time. Eakins says Yakupov has to earn more ice time, and Craig MacTavish denies the 20-year-old winger could be traded. Is this the end of this saga? Will Yakupov find happiness in Edmonton? Will MacTavish finally lose patience and trade him? Who moves first, Yakupov or Eakins? And what next for Weird Mary? The answers in the next episode of ” As the Yak Turns”.
TSN.CA: In the latest installment of “Insider Trading”, Darren Dreger says there’s no chance Yakupov gets traded “this year”, as the Oilers have no intention of moving him. They instead want him to work on improving his game in order to take over for Ales Hemsky when he’s traded. As for Larionov, MacTavish spoke with him and Dreger says there’s no issues…Bob McKenzie reports Dallas Stars center Vernon Fiddler told management he wants more ice time and a bigger role and if he couldn’t get that with the Stars he’d welcome a trade. Since then the Stars have been winning, so they won’t just give him away… Dreger claims the Maple Leafs had some interest but are concerned about his salary ($1.8 million) and his age. The Leafs also had discussions with the Hurricanes about John-Michael Liles but there’s nothing imminent there… McKenzie also reports everyone on the Panthers except Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstead, Erik Gudbranson and Marcel Goc is available. Shawn Matthias and Dmitry Kulikov are getting the most interest…Pierre LeBrun reports the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators have had discussions about Jonas Hiller but the Preds want to know more about Pekka Rinne’s health before making a goalie trade. LeBrun claims Hiller is “very available”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Already said my piece about Yakupov. Movin’ on…NBC Sports’ James O’Brien has an interesting take on the Fiddler rumors, courtesy of the Stars blog “Defending Big D”, casting doubt on Fiddler’s rumored trade request. Well worth a read…Do the Hurricanes really want to try another Maple Leafs cast-off on defense? The Mike Komisarek experiment is a failure. Then again, Liles is still considered a decent puck-moving defenseman. His salary ($3.875 million per season) could be an issue for the Hurricanes…Of the Panthers veterans who could be available, Matthias and Kulikov certainly appear most likely to move at some point this season…I still have my doubts the Ducks could move Hiller, as their other goalies lack playoff experience. Still, if they got an irresistible offer, it’s possible they could move him.
CALGARY SUN: With Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos out until March at the earliest with a broken right leg, Randy Sportak wonders if they might have interest in the Flames pending UFA winger Mike Cammalleri, who has eight goals in 11 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bolts for now will look to within to overcome the loss of Stamkos, but if they fall down the standings in his absence, it could push GM Steve Yzerman into the trade market. Cammalleri might be of interest (provided he’s willing to accept a trade to Tampa Bay), but his salary – $7 million for this season, $6 million cap hit- would be tough to swallow unless the Flames absorb part of it.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford believes the Canucks need to add an impact forward (preferably a center) but acknowledged the difficulty of doing so at this time of year. Botchford suggests Buffalo’s Steve Ott and Florida’s Marcel Goc as possible trade targets.