Nail Yakupov is a favorite for all kinds of reasons. Stories about his generosity and kind heart appear often in local media, and if you live here chances are you have a personal story, or one told to you, about his goodness. Those stories give all of us an extra reason to cheer for him, and I do not know an Oilers fan who cheers against him.
Against that backdrop, the numbers (this year) tell us about an interesting player having a fascinating year:
5×5 points per 60: 1.46 (last year 1.23)
5×4 points per 60: 2.66 (last year 3.55)
Corsi for % 5×5: 48.9 (last year 46.3)
Corsi for % Rel 5×5: 1.3 (last year -6.0)
Shots on goal/percentage: 75/5.3% (last year 191/7.3%)
Boxcars: 34GP, 4-10-14 (lasr year 81GP, 14-19-33)
Nail is about even in terms of boxcars compared to last season, and is more efficient at 5×5—McDavid’s help should be considered here. That said, Nail’s 1.46/60 ranks No. 169 (tie) among NHL forwards—making him in fact a 2line scoring winger (3o teams, six forwards, 180 2line players) albeit at the bottom end. Nail may not be the brightest light among No. 1 overall picks this century, but at $2.5 million my post season RE is going to be pretty complimentary about this player. I think his shooting percentage is poor, and he cannot get much done with the current centers not named Connor McDavid, but am uncertain as to why he should be blamed for that—seems to me that question is for the general manager.
NAIL AT 5X5, WITH CENTERS
- Nail with McDavid: 7 points in 141:23 this season (2.96/60)
- Nail with RNH: 1 point in 34:40 this season (1.73/60)
- Nail with Lander: 1 point in 41:16 this season (1.46/60)
- Nail with Letestu: 0 points in 157:26 this season
- Nail with Hendricks: 0 points in 59:29 this season
- Nail with Draisaitl: 0 points in 9:43 this season
Nail has performed (offensively) pretty well with all of the capable centers (not much time with Leon). I don’t recall Nail spending a lot of time with Hendricks as his center, but included it here because of this:
Initial line rushes:
— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) February 12, 2016
I think this is what the kids call a ‘hot mess’ and there are three lines here that look ridiculous. That said, the overwhelming takeaway from this lineup is the following:
Dear Nail Yakupov,
They are just not that into you.
I read here and there about Todd McLellan putting him in a bad spot, but for me it is completely reasonable to play Teddy Purcell and Jordan Eberle ahead of him. Despite the early success Nail enjoyed on McDavid’s line, we all knew (and talked about) the day McDavid and Eberle were healthy together they would play together.
What is the solution for Nail Yakupov as an Edmonton Oiler? Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan have had the year (pretty much) with him and I think we have our answer. Teddy Purcell is on his way out of town in minutes, and if Nail doesn’t see the 2line at that time, I’ll get the ‘sail on’ post ready and we can have a collective cry (or the male version, which is basically a night of long faces) over Nail being sent away.
I love this kid. This isn’t his town.