Oilers deny shopping Nail Yakupov, plus the latest on Marian Gaborik, Ryan Whitney and more,
EDMONTON SUN/EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers GM Craig MacTavish and head coach Dallas Eakins dismissed recent trade rumor regarding young winger Nail Yakupov, declaring the speculation untrue. MacTavish spoke with Yakupov and his agent Igor Larionov after his presence at a recent NY Rangers game sparked trade rumors about the 20-year-old winger. MacTavish and Eakins expressed their faith in Yakupov, who’s struggled this season, and their willingness to remain patient with his development.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports Rangers coach Alain Vigneault addressed the rumors linking his club to the Oilers, saying he believes his club has enough firepower right now to get the job done.
NHL LIVE (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): Bob McKenzie also reported on the Oilers refuting the Yakupov trade rumors. While acknowledging GM MacTavish is shopping around for help, the Oilers don’t intend to move Yakupov. McKenzie claims the Oilers are shopping for help on the blueline and in net, seeking a “good, solid defender”, which might explain why they were checking out the Rangers. He noted the Blueshirts would be hard-pressed to re-sign all their pending free agents, including Michael Del Zotto and Dan Girardi. McKenzie said the Oilers might be shopping veteran Ales Hemsky but are unwilling to part with their young players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Oilers want to land a top-two defenseman or a true starting goalie, Yakupov would be their best trade chip, but they’re unwilling to part with him or any of their young players. Forget about landing a significant return for Ales Hemsky. Considering Yakupov’s potential, I don’t blame the Oilers for their desire to keep him. As for the Rangers, they’ve improved of late, largely because of the return of Carl Hagelin from injury and the recent call-up of Chris Kreider, which could convince GM Glen Sather not to make any hasty moves.
SPORTSNET.CA: Luke Fox cited Hockey Central panelist John Shannon’s take on Marian Gaborik’s contract status with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gaborik is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and contract talks with the Jackets have yet to begin. Shannon believes the Jackets could shop Gaborik at the trade deadline if he’s unwilling to re-sign or if he fails to produce this season.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon sent a GM-wide e-mail about defenseman Ryan Whitney’s availability last week. It’s been reported many of the Panthers veterans are available… Friedman noted 20 teams have $2 million or less in cap space, meaning most trades at this point of the season would have to be almost dollar-for-dollar…He wondered if a club might make a pitch for Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland and his affordable ($566K) cap hit…