Russia: Enigma wrapped in a blah blah blah

I have a feeling the Edmonton Oilers are watching the events of this week and thinking “there but for the Grace of God go I.”

When I was a kid, we thought Russia was pretty much the moon. The bad side of the moon. Their women wore men’s clothes and won weightlifting contests and their hit songs had titles like “I Hurt Myself Picking up Heavy Things.” The face of Russia was Leonid Brezhnev, a man who did more to advance the discussion of eyebrows than anyone in history.

To put it simply, we didn’t know Jack Diddly about Russia when I was a kid. They were bad, we were good. Then came the 1972 series (one in which the Canadian side acted more like the neanderthals we suspected the Russians were) and a bird’s eye view of the true beauty of the Russian game. Puck possession, expert passing, team.

I think the modern KHL is being demonized in a way similar to the USSR back in my youth. This week, the idea of drafting a Russian player first overall is taking a beating. That article explains a lot of it, and we know Oilers scouting director Stu MacGregor has spoken about “five” prospects being bunched together at the top of the draft.

I suspect the five are Yakupov, Murray, Galchenyuk, Grigorenko and Griffin Reinhart. That’s the group I believe Edmonton would be considering, although Morgan Rielly and Filip Forsberg may also be in the mix.

My own personal feeling is this:  the KHL is a rival league and they are winning players by paying them more. There’s nothing wrong with that, I think reasonable people would agree that these young men deserve to earn the most money they can in what is a very short career.

However, if you’re the Edmonton Oilers and read these stories? Does it give you pause? Would it impact your decision? Do you well remember the stories of past difficulties in getting these Russian kids over here to stay?

I’ll tell you, this thing is getting more interesting by the day. Maybe they should draft the kid from Milwaukee? Maybe they’ll just take the defenseman number one overall?

Do you think there’s a danger here for the Oilers in taking Yakupov? If they took him and he signed in the KHL would you blame the Oilers or consider it a reasonable risk?

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82 Responses to "Russia: Enigma wrapped in a blah blah blah"

  1. Zack says:

    Didn’t he leave his favorite organization (as a kid) to come over and play in the OHL? I could understand the worry if he was in the MHL or KHL currently but leaving Russia and coming over to NA and playing in the OHL that early I have little worries. Especially with his on ice work ethic, if he didn’t want to be here I’m sure he wouldn’t work so hard.

    “Nail along with Alex Galchenyuk are two of the hardest working players off the ice I have seen in my 12 years with the Sting. He is constantly working on his game be it on the ice or in the gym constantly wanting to get better. In the dressing room he is a true character. Easily one of the more popular players among his teammates. He has two distinct sides to him. When it comes to hockey he is all business but outside of the game he is one of the more engaging personalities I have come across in my time in junior hockey.” – Mark Glavin (Assistant GM of the Sarnia Sting)

    “The passion and drive that Yakupov displays on a nightly basis is his most admirable quality. On nights where Yakupov has to earn every point and play through frustration he still competes with every inch he has. When Yakupov’s teammates score, he celebrates like he did the scoring. When Yakupov earns an assist, he celebrates like it was his first ever assist. And, when Yakupov does the scoring, he celebrates like he will never score again.” – Brendan Ross

  2. Dalton says:

    Do you think there’s a danger here for the Oilers in taking Yakupov?

    No.

    If they took him and he signed in the KHL would you blame the Oilers or consider it a reasonable risk?

    Not gonna happen.

    There is zero risk of Yakupov leaving RNH, Hall, and Eberle for Alexei, Evgeni, and Boris.

  3. godot10 says:

    It was really funny seeing the Leafs guys saying that Brian Burke doesn’t look at the passport of the player. Brian Burke, like Pierre Lacroix with Quebecois, gives Americans preference, with most of the other things being equal.

    The NHL has not committed to the Olympics in 2014. The only way a Russian play can guarentee playing the Olympics is to delay signing an NHL contract, which is what Kuznetzov and Tarasenko are doing.

    Burmistrov was fine with Atlanta, but a year in Western Canada and he’s looking to pull a Radulov.

    With Russians, you are always going to have some wealthy Russian or Russian ex-pat in a big urban centre like New York whispering in their ear. Like Eric Lindros and his dad. You cannot build a team. A team becomes divided against itself.

    The good thing with Yakupov is that Larionov does have his ear, but soon he is going to have the attention of other wealthy Russians and Russian expats.

    Both Ovechkin and Malkin are struggling culturally with North American stardom.

    Datsyuk had both Larionov and Federov as mentors in a solid Detroit organization with a solid team culture. And he was also integrated in his twenties, not as a teenager.

    Russians are NOT western, like the other European hockey countries.

    In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, young successful Russians learning to become “western” are like Jay Gatsby’s trying to enter the American establishment in an earlier era. It is really hard to do. It may take another generation.

    Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, and Hemsky need defensemen able to get them the puck quickly, on tape, and in stride. There will be an opportunity cost to not drafting Murray (or Reilly, or Dumba). Hall stated in the media post-season that the Oilers needed to improve the defense, that he was tired of losing. How are you helping Taylor Hall if you don’t make the defense the #1 priority this summer. What are you telling Taylor Hall….that you just like the new shiny offensive toy, rather than building a team.

    The Oilers have a star quarterback and a star running back and a star receiver, but they have not left tackle and they have no right tackle, and their centre has missed most of the last two seasons with foot injuries. Two decent guards does not an offensive line make, or a winning team. It gets your star quarterback and star running back on the injured list.

    Fix the damn offensive line.

  4. steveb12344 says:

    Usually the reason they go back is for money, so they can avoid getting paid small during thier ELC.

    Aside from the fact that Yak has said again and again that money is not important, and all that matters is his dream of playing in the NHL. As a first overall his ELC would be in the range of about 3.8 million (see Hall and Nuge)

    I don’t think he would have a problem with that amount, while having the opportunity to live his dream and be part of a great up and coming young team.

    IMO there is no risk of that whatsoever.

    Everything i’ve seen on him suggests he is a good person with extremely high skill, charecter and desire.

    We all know how much Stu and Steve like these player types.

    Unless something unexpected comes out about him, then i see it as pretty much a no-brainer that Yak will be our new shiny thing for next season.

  5. DSF says:

    Dmitry Chesnokov ‏ @dchesnokov

    #KHL’s AK Bars has officially announced the signing of Maxim Mayorov from the Columbus Blue Jackets. #cbj

  6. godot10 says:

    steveb12344:

    Aside from the fact that Yak has said again and again that money is not important, and all that matters is his dream of playing in the NHL.As a first overall his ELC would be in the range of about 3.8 million (see Hall and Nuge)

    I don’t think he would have a problem with that amount, while having the opportunity to live his dream and be part of a great up and coming young team.

    IMOthere is no risk of that whatsoever.

    One in a lifetime opportunity to play in the Olympics in your home country, and then play in the NHL. And the money is better.

    Or play in the NHL and lose your once in a lifetime opportunity to play in the Olympics in your home country.

    We see the decision that Kuznetsov and Tarasenko and perhaps Burmistrov are making.

    Taylor Hall is the Oilers’ meal ticket. How are you helping Taylor Hall make the Oilers a contender?

    Draft the stud left tackle. You already have the skill positions covered.

  7. DSF says:

    Dmitry Chesnokov ‏ @dchesnokov

    It looks like Kirill Petrov will not join the #Isles after all. He signed a contract extension in the #KHL with AK Bars.

  8. nelson88 says:

    We have to be careful not to generalize about all Russian players. From all reports Yakupov is a solid kid and his agent certainly gives some additional comfort. Having said that his passport has to be an issue for the Oilers or anyone other team looking to select him. Anyone who says othewise is out to lunch or spewing PC niceties.

    If the Oilers select him and it becomes clear there was not enough due diligence done then I would certainly blame management for choosing him.

    SteveB12344. That $3.8M is heavily bonus laden (most that are unacheivable) so the KHL money is a factor.

  9. steveb12344 says:

    A Ryan Murray at best will take 2 years or more to make an impact on this team. That’s providing that he even becomes a force in the NHL (that still remains to be seen)

    By that time there will be more quality coming through the system that may very well equal or even surpass what we can expect from an 18yo d-man.

    Really i don’t think our D is in as bad of shape as most people make it out to be. We spent half of last year with an AHL defence due to a slew of injuries.

    The depth is improving and Tambi himself said he knows he needs at least 1 or 2 top pairing guys to become contenders, and fully intends to get there.

    They also said they will legitimately be trying to get in the playoffs from now on, so unlike the past 2 years where he said it would be about development over winning, i believe we will see him actually make the moves this summer needed to compete.

    The real problem is we need 2 legit scoring lines, not just our 3 apples in the same basket that can be neutralized. Yak would give us 2 elite duos to build around. I think that would bring more value that adding another rookie d-man to the org.

  10. Ribs says:

    Bohologo: I know if the OIlers don’t bugger things up next month, I will be running down to Ismailova Market to get myself a #10 sweater. That kid wants to win, and that’s what our team needs.

    With SHORCOV on the back? That would be great!

  11. Lowetide says:

    I don’t really think there’s a lot of people thinking he lacks character. Yakupov moved away from his home at a young age to fulfill his dream, and he’s stated that the NHL is his dream. He’s not exactly Petr Nedved but he’s given up a lot at a young age to pursue this.

    I think the more interesting question has to do with the Oilers: do they trust it? Do you sincerely believe Yakupov is going to play here for the better part of the decade?

    Based on their own past, I don’t think they do.

  12. DoubleJ says:

    Olympics is why we shouldn’t take the best player? Seriously? The russians you’re talking about are not the overall first round picks and their entry level contracts would be tiny to compared to what they make in the KHL. That’s why they’re staying in Russia plain and simple they have friends and family and they make more money there.

    Would you go to work in Russia for less money then you could make here? Seriously? That’s why the later picks from Russia stay there. Plain and simple. These three Russians that are playing in the CHL for the last two years will probably all be in the first five picks, and those entry level contracts are alot more money then the 17th pick and the high 20th pick.

    I’d make a huge bet that the NHL will be in the Olympics anyways. Too many high profile players will want to be there. Way too much bad PR if they’re not there. Governments from all the countries would get involved, Bettman is making empty threats with the KHL.

  13. Maverick says:

    Up to this week I was really pushing for the Oilers drafting Yakupov but this week has really rekindled the Boris Mironov adventure when he was with the Oilers. The late night adventure that Radulov was taking part in. Is it possible the fear of the KHL could be in the minds of the scouting staff? Absolutely!

    The one thing that is also important about Yakupov is where in Russia he is from, a Muslim community and from my limited knowledge of that religion, is not alcohol prohibited??

    In any case; the more we learn about the draft, the more I get the feeling that the Oilers will some how be moving down from 1st and getting a good return (a defenseman) plus be drafting a bigger centre that being drafting Alex Galchenyuk. He is from Belarus but is also an American from Milwaukee. Looking at the roster and walking away from the draft with a NHL defenseman (maybe Schenn) and Galchenyuk, I would say that would be a win!!

  14. Zack says:

    Bohologo,

    Slow-clap for your post Bohologo, nicely done. It’s reminiscent of the sports sociology class I took last semester.

  15. Ryan says:

    Forget about reading tea leaves… I’m reading beer hops and they’re telling me that LT wants the Oilers to draft Murray. :)

    Last year, most of us were (at least initially and myself included) on board with LT and Sean Couturier. Couturier certainly looks like a player, but many of us were surprised by how good the Nuge ended up being.

    What’s surprising to me is that despite the Eberle windfall (#22 in his draft year, top five in a redraft for sure) and milking the draft lotto x 2, there’s still a ton of holes on this team.

    Centre -
    Nuge/Gagner/Horcoff/Belanger – Nuge/Gagner is not a complimentary paring in terms of skill sets for the top 2 (IMO, unless Gagner can learn to do more heavy lifting). Horcoff is finished and Belanger is a question mark.

    LW -
    After Taylor Hall and likely Smyth (if resigned), there’s zero quality on LW.

    RW -
    Eberle/Hemsky/Jones – Definitely our strongest position

    Defense – Needs at least one top 2 dman

    As for Murray, what I don’t know about draft prospects is a lot. However, if he doesn’t project into a Doughty/Karlsson/Letang/Weber/ type, there would be no point in taking him first overall IMO. Obviously his limited offensive upside is a concern.

    Sure there have been Russians who’ve bolted for the KHL. There’s never been one selected first or second overall who has.

    Nail might not quite be the next Kovalchuk/Malkin/Ovechkin, but would you have passed on them with the first overall pick?

    I’m a 1/4 Russian, so stop being so racist (true, but joking) :)

  16. fuzzy muppet says:

    This is what happens when you have the time to scrutinize a player. You start finding flaws and reasons to knock a guys game due to how much exposure the player has had.

    This is the #1 pick. Nearly every scout and GM on the planet agree.

    It’s similar to the NFL draft in certain ways. Andrew Luck was tabbed as the number one pick over 2 years ago. As soon as the season ended, The speculation began and scouts started scrutinizing him saying that maybe is isn’t a slam dunk for #1. Time and exposure enabled some to knock his game a bit(this is similar to what happened with Couterier in last years draft). Lo-and-behold, in the end, Luck went #1 because he was the best prospect.

    Yakupov is the best prospect…period. You take him or you get a boatload in a return deal. If they draft ANYONE at #1 not named Yakupov, it’s a gigantic fail.

  17. Maverick says:

    The Oilers need a Top 4 defenseman currently on the roster. Pinning the hopes on a 18 year old Ryan Murray to save the day next season just isnt going to happen. He is no Chris Pronger or Drew Doughty. The impact from drafting a defenseman this year will be felt 3 years from now, and at that point the “herd” of defensive prospects will be at the fore front and an overabundance will be felt. Trading assets for help on the back end now is the only way to move the neddle towards a playoff spot.

    Looking at the Oilers depth chart, the need for scoring 2nd line is also in need as there is no real prospects coming who can score handle a 2nd line centre spot.

  18. Captain Obvious says:

    “Saying that taking Ewanyk is “indefensible” is a major stretch. Both are contributors to the team albeit in different ways. In the future, their careers may project them as follows: St. Croix might be a second line C, while Ewanyk might be a 3rd or 4th line centre. If you can get a player who has skills to be an everyday NHLer in the 3rd round, you still win regardless. A 3rd line C who can play tough matchups (like a malhotra or pahlsson) on a team deep in top-6 players is a VERY important piece of the puzzle.”

    That’s from frankieoil a couple of posts ago but it’s important enough to merit a response. My point isn’t that guys like Malhotra don’t have value. Rather my point is the Michael St. Croix is far more likely to develop into Malhotra than Travis Ewanyk is.

    Malhotra had 51 points in 57 games in his draft year. Ewanyk had 27 pts in 72 games. The lesson is that 95% of quality NHL players can score in junior, even the third and fourth line guys.

    I like Manny Malhotra. I think he is a good player. If you want Manny Malhotra on your team you draft Michael St. Croix.

    Last year was a funny draft. The Ewanyk pick was terrible but they followed it up with steal’s of Gernat and Reider.

  19. till_horcoff_is_coach says:

    Yakupov’s history gives little reason to think he is about to bolt. The Russian factor is a non-issue.

    So the talk becomes the Oilers need a D for Hall and the forwards. So how keen is the team to trade Eberle? With him projecting at or above Hall with less injury concern, how come the talk isn’t to trade Hall?

    Because unless someone knocks you off your feet, you would always lose those trades – and you would lose any trade involving Yakupov. Draft him.

  20. godot10 says:

    Bohologo: Godot, you strike me as a pretty bright guy, but these comments are exactly what I’m lamenting. I think this line of commentary exudes casual empiricism at best, and flame-generating adjectives that I’ll forgo out of respect for decorum. You can do better.

    Do let me know if you’re ever in Moscow, and I’d be happy to show you around, however.

    What I describe is not unique.

    British aristocracy vs. the British business and professional class post World War I.

    New money vs old money in the roaring twenties in the United States.

    Russians come from an imperial culture, like the United States,(/Britain) Japan, and China.

    Western Europe is western. Russia is not western. This divide and difference spans centuries. Volumes of scholarly works have been written over the years about this.

    I am 3rd generation Canadian, ethnically Ukrainian and Polish. I was in graduate school in the US when the first wave of Chinese graduate students were allowed to enter US universities in the eighties. How an immigrant culture integrates and adapts over generations is something I have first hand experience with. While a graduate student, I worked with visiting Russian scholars.

    Russians are not better or worse. They are just different. Just like the new wealthy Chinese ex-pats flooding into North America are different.

    The wealthy Russian ex-pat community is still Russian. It isn’t western. It will take a generation or two for a healthy compromise between the two to evolve. Any young Russian hockey player coming over from Russian is going to be torn between the still divergent pull to “westernize” and the pull to stay “Russian”

    It take time. Look at the abortion rate of female fetuses for first generation Indo-Canadian women vs. 2nd or 3rd generation Indo-Canadian women. It takes time to for mutual cultural integration to occur.

    And it is not just Russians. Look at the case of Mrs. Pronger. Or even Mrs. Nylander. American wealthy aristocrat who couldn’t adapt to living in frontier egalitarian Edmonton.

    Gretzky was as sure as gone from Edmonton anyways with his contract set to expire in the early nineties because of his Hollywood wife.

  21. till_horcoff_is_coach says:

    Pure guess-work, but there could be a potential long-term perk. If Oilers did draft the star Russian it might make it easier in the future to lure others over. When other teams are avoiding Russians at all costs, it could be handy value proposition in the later picks.

    I have no idea, but playing in Edmonton could conceivably be more homey and comfortable for russian immigrants than a drastic change like NYC.

    Edit: this is not in response to Godot, hadn’t read the post above until after submitting

  22. bookje says:

    The KHL is the only rival league and it is much more favourable to Russians than to people of other nationalities (language, being used to living in a kleptocracy, etc). So, negotiating with Russians is harder than with other players.

    It is only rational to consider such things when drafting, just as it would be if someone you were drafting had potential to play pro in another sport (doesn’t happen often anymore). Essentially, you lose your monopoly power over that player which is a huge hit.

    Also, all Russians are enigmatic, criminally-connected, egomaniac, alcoholics.

    One of those paragraphs is sarcasm…

  23. stevezie says:

    godot10,

    Your points are well taken, but not taking Nail won’t fix the defence. The defence needsonr or preferably two present-tense good defenceman, and Murray does not qualify. You’re talking about the defence and taking Nail like they’re mutually exclusive, when I think they’re at worst unrelated or at best compatible.

    We need to either trade three quaters for a dollar defenceman or sign somebody. Wouldn’t bosting one of the most potent stable of young forwards attract free agents? If I’m J. Schultz, do I want to go compete with Murray or set up Nail? If I’m Garrison, do I want someone to tutor or do I want to know that if I take care of my part, the forwards will take care of theirs? Maybe they don’t care at all, but I’ll bet Nail lures more attention than Murray would.

    In any case, and this bears repeating, drafting a D will not address our “need”. WE;ve got loads of young defenceman below the NHL level (arguably too many. Our need is for current big-league calibre defenders.

    As far as the racism goes, suggesting he’ll be “enigmatic” because he’s Russian is racist, asking if he wants to play in Canada and possibly miss the olympics is not. This is just one more thing that needs looking into. I will say that if he decides to play in the KHL for two years (to guarentee Olympics) there could be worse things. He’ll enter the league with more seasoning and still be on an ELC when the other three are hitting big money. Silverlinings, folks. Every other player could reasonably be two years away anyway.

    None of this even begins to address Murray’s recent slip in the rankings.

  24. stevezie says:

    Maybe we could get crazy and send Nail to Datsyuk and the Wings for their first, Brendan Smith and Kronwall? Add more if you like, but that offer would start a conversation for me. Joining him with Malkin for Staal is also intriguing, but if we drafted someone 1st overall who projected to being a really good 2nd line center, wouldn’t that be a bit underwhelming?

    I just looked up Kronwalls’s age, and he’s 31, which is older than I thought, but since this trade is a total pipe-dream anyway I can’t see how that matters.

  25. sliderule says:

    Some of the problems with Russians and for that matter all hockey players relate to alcohol .

    As Yak is a Muslim wouldn’t that be a positive for drafting him

    Whoops I forgot we don’t want positive just the negative

  26. anonymous says:

    No chance, this is a proud kid it would be admitting failure. Before injury interupted his season he was on a phenom clip. Coming over as a rookie to the ohl and burning it up. I think he has already proven a lot and have more optimism this year than the last two. As a bonus being the third first in a row he might have an unprecedented lack of pressure.

  27. godot10 says:

    stevezie,

    I’m for as many as Murray, J. Schultz, and Garrison as possible. Preferably all three. 2 UFA’s and the #1.

    The Oilers are really only 3 deep in defenseman. Petry, Smid, and Nick Schultz.

    Nobody ever wants to address the defense. One has to start filling the gap now so Taylor, RNH, and Jordan don’t worry about it, and clearly at the end of the season, Taylor was worrying about it.

    Telling Taylor that the organization that the UFA free agent is guarenteed to arrive at the appropriate time is telling Taylor to wait for Godot to come.

    When has Godot ever come for the Oilers.

  28. LMHF#1 says:

    Having now watched Reinhart a few times, I cannot see how he’d be a top 5 player in this draft. While he’s certainly a solid hockey player, he just doesn’t appear to have that difference-making quality that you need from a high end pick. He doesn’t shut down all offence in his area, doesn’t pummel the opponent in an overwhelming way, doesn’t dominate the offensive blue line, and doesn’t play the Pronger-style complete game either.

    What’s the magic supposed to be with him? He’s good, but not a world-beater at this stage.

  29. stevezie says:

    godot10,

    Basically I agree with everthing you say, except your conclusion that we ought to draft Murray. If, and it’s a fine if, but if we get Garrison and Schultz that gives us four proven NHL D with a recovering Whitney and a hopeful Schultz rounding things out. Let’s say one of those guys plays like we hope he can, that would give us five good defenceman. You can make the playoffs with five good defenceman. That would be a very solid core, to my eye. I think Sutton is a fine #7 and there’s enough promising youth on the farm already that if two people get injured I wouldn’t lose hope.

    I don’t think Murray will be able to step right into a difference making role. It looks like he’d need Whitney to fail his physical to even crack the top 6 on the team you’re suggesting. Even then, Is a good junior player better than Sutton right now? Maybe, but not by a mile.

    Taylor’s no fool, he’ll know Murray is no more certain than free-agent promises. Murray, like all unproven kids, is drafted astride of a grave.

    You me and Taylor Hall have this in common: we want the team to win and we don’t really care if that happens because of drafting or free agency. Draft whoever will help you win, premptively placating Taylor Hall should not be a concern.

  30. bsmart says:

    If Nail wanted nothing but the money he would not be playing junior for $200/week, he would be in the KHl making his million.

  31. Ducey says:

    It seems we don’t (and much of the media don’t) know what we are talking about.

    The Radulov loophole was supposedly closed, so it would seem that once you have a Russian player signed he cannot bolt to Russia. Presumably, the only problem times will be when Nail is drafted and when he qualifies for free agency. Is this right? Perhaps its an issue when he becomes and RFA?

    Nail clearly would get the highest entry level contract available. Once that’s signed, he is stuck here, (for at least three years) right?

    We need to know the answer to these questions before we get all excited about Nail’s potential to bolt or demand high salaries at RFA times.

    DSF’s Mayorov example (no doubt designed as an attempt to troll) is interesting. He signed an entry level contract despite being a fourth round pick and played three years in the AHL. He never did much there (never reached 40 pts) and only got a few token call ups to the NHL. He looks to be a bust, so I doubt CLB would even try and qualify him. So he did stick it out in north america.

    Petrov was a third rounder and has struggled in the KHL. He likely would not be good enough to play in the NHL right now.

    As for Captain Obvious’s insistence on bringing back an argument from two or three threads ago, Ewanyk may or may not turn out but its a little early to be calling it “terrible”. We have little info on how he would have done this year due to injury. The fact that St Croix has had a good year doesn’t make Ewanyk’s pick a poor one. St Croix has put up nice numbers this year, but scored 18 of his 40+ goals on the PP. He is not likely to get PP minutes in the NHL and he doesn’t have the size or attributes required for the bottom six. He is a tweener like Liam Reddox (who was the same size, put up similar stats, and was picked in the same round as St Croix).

    Ewanyk is one of those rough tough power forward types who often don’t turn out but are valuable if they do. Lucic had 19 points in his draft year. I am not saying Ewanyk is Lucic, but he might be a useful player, especially as the NHL seems to have returned to a physical, defence first game. If a third rounder turns out to be useful, he was a good pick.

  32. Ducey says:

    stevezie,

    I think Garrison might be an over rated FA signing. He was playing with Campbell (who had a great season) this year and might have been riding his coat tails. He went from 5 to 16 goals. He’d probably drop back to earth with EDM.

    Do his fancy stats look good from two years ago (2010-11)?

  33. PhrankLee says:

    godot10,

    You guys should get a room.

  34. prairieschooner says:

    Signing Yakupov makes me uneasy.
    You have to consider that there is a risk factor involved.
    The defence has to be addressed and not signing a D man because they do not provide instant help will mean that you will never address the D in a meaningful way.
    Conversely there are some really really good young Dmen who have already made significant contributions to their team .
    Maybe this years playoffs is an anomoly but according to an NHL coach I think talking on TSN there are no offensive minded teams left instead we have big physical, trapping teams with good goaltenders who make life very difficult for small skilled forwards.The Oilers have managed to increase their size recently.
    The team has lots of holes so i would prefer a Dman sooner rather than later.

  35. Jesse says:

    Maverick,

    This is a great point. Drafting Murray isn’t going to fix things overnight. Neither will drafting Yakupov either, but at least the team will have made the most of its opportunity. Crowning Murray as the savior of the back end seems a lot like what they did with Gagner in his first year: rush him in to make it look like you’re doing something. I think we can all agree that was not the best for Samwise. I realize they did the same thing last year with H.O.P.E but the pressure wasn’t only on one player and the expectations were much lower. I don’t hate the idea of drafting Ryan Murray AND signing Jeff Schultz, to spread the pressure around a bit. But as was stated before, in terms of prospects there’s a bit of a gap up front and Hall-insurance is looking more and more necessary.

    In terms of Gagner being a suitable 2C (to talk about something that’s never been discussed before), his Corsi number is remaining steady despite an increasing number of defensive ZS. If he takes an equal step forward this next year (12-13) as e did this past year (11-12) he should be able to take a bit of heat off Horcoff which would do nothing but help us down the middle, at least in the short term. I dont think it’s realistic to expect the Oil to have elite talent at every position, and Gags is certainly growing into the 2C role in terms of his defensive play. Maybe they get a player who is an improvement on 89 down the road but right now it seems like 2nd line LW is more of a priority.

  36. russ99 says:

    This organization needs to stop worrying about if a kid is from a country other than U.S. or Canada and if they’ll conform to whatever the coach du jour is selling. (BTW: Hall and a few other Oilers didn’t sit still for Renney at times either, that’s not just Omark)

    They need to get the best hockey players they can at this point, regardless of any non-hockey nonsense that may be floating around.

  37. russ99 says:

    prairieschooner,

    That’s this season, hockey changes. What’s in vogue now, may not be in 3-4 years. After the last lockout there was a revolution of speed and finesse hockey and that was just 7 years ago.

    Any truly rebuilding team should acquire players independently of the current style of play. A team that loads up on defense-only players, checkers and goons could be left in the dust by the time players like RNH and Yakupov are in their primes.

  38. Melman says:

    @ DUCEY – I think you are very correct with that assessment of Garrison. I’m not against signing him, but I wouldn’t open the vault and expect him to be Pronger 2.0. Campbell can make another D look very, very good. I’d also add there is a track record of Florida players being traded to other teams with underwhelming results: J-Bo, David Booth, Keith Ballard come to mind right off the bat

  39. godot10 says:

    Ducey:

    The Radulov loophole was supposedly closed, so it would seem that once you have a Russian player signed he cannot bolt to Russia. Presumably, the only problem times will be when Nail is drafted and when he qualifies for free agency. Is this right? Perhaps its an issue when he becomes and RFA?

    Nail clearly would get the highest entry level contract available. Once that’s signed, he is stuck here, (for at least three years) right?

    Nope…Burmistrov is talking to a Russian team about next year and he has a year left on his contract with the Jets. He may be pulling a Radulov. And both Burmistrov and Radulov played in the CHL.

  40. ashley says:

    I don’t understand why we’d trade this pick unless there was obscene talent coming back. If it’s true that other organizations see some subtle risk with Nail, then we are unlikely to get good value for a #1OV.

    Maybe we’re becoming too familiar with #1OV? This is #1OV! A rarity for an organization. There are teams that have never had it. We should be as careful with it as we were with the other two.

    If we are really hell bent on making a deal for an ace defender and centerman, the trade to make is Taylor Hall. I know, it’s sacrilege in these parts. After all, he was our first born, our baby.

    However, our defensive development is lagging our offensive talent, so if we are going to trade offense for defense, I would choose the guy that has burned more of his RFA years. It would help to cluster the talent (offensive and defensive) better, and from a cap management point of view, it may create a slightly wider window to win a championship. Or maybe two.

    This assumes that Nail and Taylor are in the same range for talent. They are obviously different players (Nail looks to have better hands, Hall perhaps more speed), but their stats suggest they will have similar impact in their careers, at least at this point.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the Oilers HAVE to do anything at this juncture except watch and see where the chips fall for now, and fill in the gaps when we’re starting to contend. I don’t want to ever trade Taylor Hall. Ever.

    But if someone puts a gun to our heads and says: you must acquire an ace defender and good centerman immediately by either trading 2012 1OV, or Taylor Hall. I would choose to trade Hall.

    The nice thing about that choice is that Hall would probably get you both of those items. Perhaps even more valuable is that we wouldn’t have to fill up LT’s comments section with endless debate on our perceptions of the roster imbalances and how to fix them.

    Thankfully there always be Horcoff.

  41. Ducey says:

    godot10:
    Nope…Burmistrov is talking to a Russian team about next year and he has a year left on his contract with the Jets. He may be pulling a Radulov. And both Burmistrov and Radulov played in the CHL.

    See this is the kind of BS that just unfairly complicates the situation. A quick internet search yields a Sporting News story wherein his agent denies he will go to Russia:

    Burmistrov’s agent Mark Gandler, speaking to the Winnipeg Sun, flatly denied Ak Bars Kazan’s claim. “Nobody talked to me,” Gandler said Monday afternoon. “The guy is under contract. End of discussion.”

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2012-04-30/alexander-burmistrov-khl-alexander-radulov-jaromir-jag-winnipeg-jets-flyers#ixzz1tpnf95GN

  42. DSF says:

    ashley:
    I don’t understand why we’d trade this pick unless there was obscene talent coming back.If it’s true that other organizations see some subtle risk with Nail, then we are unlikely to get good value for a #1OV.

    Maybe we’re becoming too familiar with #1OV?This is #1OV!A rarity for an organization.There are teams that have never had it.We should be as careful with it as we were with the other two.

    If we are really hell bent on making a deal for an ace defender and centerman, the trade to make is Taylor Hall.I know, it’s sacrilege in these parts.After all, he was our first born, our baby.

    However, our defensive development is lagging our offensive talent, so if we are going to trade offense for defense, I would choose the guy that has burned more of his RFA years.It would help to cluster the talent (offensive and defensive) better, and from a cap management point of view, it may create a slightly wider window to win a championship.Or maybe two.

    This assumes that Nail and Taylor are in the same range for talent.They are obviously different players (Nail looks to have better hands, Hall perhaps more speed), but their stats suggest they will have similar impact in their careers, at least at this point.

    Don’t get me wrong.I don’t think the Oilers HAVE to do anything at this juncture except watch and see where the chips fall for now, and fill in the gaps when we’re starting to contend.I don’t want to ever trade Taylor Hall.Ever.

    But if someone puts a gun to our heads and says: you must acquire an ace defender and good centerman immediately by either trading 2012 1OV, or Taylor Hall.I would choose to trade Hall.

    The nice thing about that choice is that Hall would probably get you both of those items.Perhaps even more valuable is that we wouldn’t have to fill up LT’s comments section with endless debate on our perceptions of the roster imbalances and how to fix them.

    Thankfully there always be Horcoff.

    I’ve been thinking exactly the same thing (except for the Horcoff part) for quite some time.

    If you examine the Kings’ model, Lombardi spent 3 years acquiring all the high end assets he could get his hands on and, as his young core matured, then started dealing some of them for the pieces he needed.

    I think you absolutely have to draft Yakupov, spend a year to get a really sold grasp on what he brings, then trade one of the young guns for a top pairing defenseman and whatever else you can get.

    My choice would also be Hall.

  43. godot10 says:

    Ducey: See this is the kind of BS that just unfairly complicates the situation. A quick internet search yields a Sporting News story wherein his agent denies he will go to Russia:

    Burmistrov’s agent Mark Gandler, speaking to the Winnipeg Sun, flatly denied Ak Bars Kazan’s claim. “Nobody talked to me,” Gandler said Monday afternoon. “The guy is under contract. End of discussion.”

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2012-04-30/alexander-burmistrov-khl-alexander-radulov-jaromir-jag-winnipeg-jets-flyers#ixzz1tpnf95GN

    Players can change agents.

  44. godot10 says:

    Ducey: See this is the kind of BS that just unfairly complicates the situation. A quick internet search yields a Sporting News story wherein his agent denies he will go to Russia:

    Burmistrov’s agent Mark Gandler, speaking to the Winnipeg Sun, flatly denied Ak Bars Kazan’s claim. “Nobody talked to me,” Gandler said Monday afternoon. “The guy is under contract. End of discussion.”

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2012-04-30/alexander-burmistrov-khl-alexander-radulov-jaromir-jag-winnipeg-jets-flyers#ixzz1tpnf95GN

    And Gander is has to deny it publically.

    If Burmistrov were going to pull a Radulov, he would have to break off with Gandler anyways to protect Gandler’s agency business.

    Gandler is in a no-win situation once the rumour is out there, since other young Russians like Kuznetsov and Tarasenko are signing, nobody is going to believe the denial.

    Does Gandler know everyone who is talking to Burmistrov, and what they are saying to him?

    You also realize that Mark Gandler was Alexei Yashin’s agent, right?

  45. Ducey says:

    godot10:

    Players can change agents.

    Come on. You think the player has a second agent he has not told the first agent about and that second agent is secretly negotiating a contract with the AK Bars team?

  46. OilClog says:

    I thought it’s been made pretty clear from all things stated, that Yaks wants to be a Oiler. Everyone has stated this, hell he met with the Oilers in Detroit did he not? I think it’s destined that Yaks fills the great Russian Oiler spot we’ve never had filled. We’ve had a piece of every other country, I think it’s time to check another one off.

    I think the only real fear I have of Yaks bolting, would be because he’s been Renney’d. Unless you’re a good canadian kid, or your name ends in Lander, you’re up shat creek without a paddle.

    You draft Yakupov, there is no way around it. Unless a bonafide stud of a D is offered for the pick, there is nothing else in this draft that compares. We can’t say that none of the D in this draft class will or will not pan out to be a stud in years to come, but you have to take the best player, no way around it.

    If the Oilers draft any of these D first, we’ve lost. That simple. There are other ways to get the D on this team. When you have 3 #1′s, Ebs, Hemsky, and all the rest in place.. The D will come.

    Trade Hall?, Ebs? are you people out of your mind??? We have several other pieces that will land us our D. You don’t trade game breakers. End of discussion.

  47. OilClog says:

    and maybe on draft day as the first few picks go by, and the glut of top end forwards is gone, with all the D in the middle of the pack left and the Oilers really really want one of them, that’s when you see a gag’s or mps moved for a 10th pick or somewhere around those lines, there’s going to be a few teams in that area that don’t need D prospects and would rather have some potential secondary scoring, and would be willing to part with their pick. Seems most logical to me, but I’m no Tambellini.

  48. DSF says:

    OilClog,

    What pieces?

    Gagner?

    Hemsky?

    Neither will land you a top pairing D…probably not even both packaged together.

  49. commonfan14 says:

    Jesse: Crowning Murray as the savior of the back end seems a lot like what they did with Gagner in his first year: rush him in to make it look like you’re doing something. I think we can all agree that was not the best for Samwise.

    I don’t know how many people were disappointed with Gagner’s rookie year. Nobody likes that he’s plateaued since so his handling gets criticized out of frustration, but claiming now that he’d be better today if we’d left him in Junior and had him do a stint in the AHL is total speculation.

    Holding him back from the NHL wouldn’t have made him any bigger or faster, but somehow he’d be a better player from having spent more time against worse competition for teams with lesser resources?

    What would the expectations be for a properly-handled version of Sam Gagner? He’d be coming off his second NHL season and have 65 points to show for it? Or would he be pretty much the same player with the same production, but the fact that it was just his second year would give us more hope for his future?

    It’s an argument that can’t be won because the Canucks didn’t rush one Sedin and let the other mature in lower leagues. They are short-sighted, science-hating fools.

  50. Alice says:

    OT, but did anyone hear ‘The Civil Wars” on Q today? Make your hair stand on end, they’re something else. I’d never heard of them, live under a rock I guess.

    Also, I think they signed in Nashville. Nothing said about playing the KHL, but they didn’t rule it out either.

  51. LoDog says:

    Not drafting Yak would be the stupidest move any organization could make. He is most likely better than Hall, RNH and Eberle. He destroyed their 16 year old seasons.

    I just don’t get the love for Murray by some in these parts. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him not make the top five.

    You don’t draft a dman first and you don’t draft a dman to help now.

    No one wil offer enough for the pick, Yak will be an Oiler.

  52. OilClog says:

    DSF,

    I don’t know about that, plenty of variables to take into account. A top teir D, quietly suggests that he wants to be moved. A package of Gags, MPS, and a pick or prospect is sent the other way.. sounds like something that has happened before. Many times infact. You have no idea what could happen, and if you’re of the mind that only one of our superkids will get it done, you’re really against “thinking” it seems. What did Pronger bring back in his trades? Blues got Brewer? We got Lupul? Forgot what philly got.. but to say that Brewer or Lupul is more valuable at the time then Gags.. that’s laughable. Yeah we a have GM that doesn’t have a good tracked record with this sort of thing, but that doesn’t mean he’s Milbury status, or that he can’t pull off the big one. I see the team going after a big fish this offseason, what I don’t see.. is any of the superkids moving. They’ll sign Suter to 10m a year before that happens.

  53. OilClog says:

    LoDog,

    Exactly.

  54. FrankenOil says:

    Captain Obvious,

    Look, I don’t disagree with the sentiment that St.Croix would’ve been a fair pick. But, imho, to bemoan one pick to champion a wasted opportunity is a tad ridiculous. Malhotra was a top-10 pick in his draft class while Ewanyk was a 3rd rounder. Trying to compare draft year stats is a misleading tactic. After the first rpound, undeniably, the focus shifts from a rotation on “need-filling” to BPA. Ewanyk was a need, Rieder “BPA.” Odds are, if the Oilers took St.Croix in the Ewanyk spot, they would’ve drafted a need next and then you would be moaning about passing on Rieder. I’m just willing to cut Ewanyk some slack. He’s a kid who was injured for the majority of the regular season and hasn’t really had a chance to “cover his bet.” That’s all I’m trying to say.

  55. stevezie says:

    FrankenOil,

    As I understand Cappy’s point, it’s not so much that Ewanyk sucks, it’s that people can be taught to do what he does. If there’s one thing jay Beagle getting played over Alex Ovechkin shows us, it’s that if you want to play boring, defensive, bad hockey, the main thing required to do it isn’t talent or athleticism, it’s willingness.

    What makes a player unique is scoring. If St Croix can score, he can be taught to check. Ewanyk can check, but you likely can’t teach him to score.

    To my mind once you leave the first two rounds it’s not the end of the world if you take some flyers on guys with wild intangibles like toughness, dedication, character, leadership etc. These intangibles can’t be taught either, but neither can they be quantified. I don’t know if Ewanyk has intangibles that make him special, but it looks like St Croix can score.

  56. DSF says:

    OilClog:
    DSF,

    I don’t know about that, plenty of variables to take into account. A top teir D, quietly suggests that he wants to be moved. A package of Gags, MPS, and a pick or prospect is sent the other way.. sounds like something that has happened before. Many times infact. You have no idea what could happen, and if you’re of the mind that only one of our superkids will get it done, you’re really against “thinking” it seems. What did Pronger bring back in his trades? Blues got Brewer? We got Lupul? Forgot what philly got.. but to say that Brewer or Lupul is more valuable at the time then Gags.. that’s laughable. Yeah we a have GM that doesn’t have a good tracked record with this sort of thing, but that doesn’t mean he’s Milbury status, or that he can’t pull off the big one. I see the team going after a big fish this offseason, what I don’t see.. is any of the superkids moving. They’ll sign Suter to 10m a year before that happens.

    I guess if you’re prepared to wait for that rare eventuality, assume Edmonton would be a preferred destination and that the team trading said player has a need for some below average assets and that’s the best trade they could make out of the 28 other possible trade partners, that might work out.

    And, while you play the waiting game, the Oilers young guns are burning up their ELC’s and second contracts.

    I doubt a prudent GM would be willing to take that chance and might, instead, create an opportunity.

    Other than Pronger, which other top tier defensemen have quietly requested a trade since you say it has happened many times?

  57. slopitch says:

    Im worried about the khl offer in 2 years when Yakapov is likely 2nd line rw behind Eberle and has 1 year left on his ELC.

    I think you draft Yakapov. Hes the best player. But I’d be answering the phone.

  58. Jesse says:

    commonfan14,

    I definitely agree it’s pure speculation, but so is most of the content of these comments is it not? I’m speculating based on past evidence, and while I see what you’re saying, I respectfully disagree. Jordan Eberle certainly benefitted from another year in Junior, and judging Gagner against the commonly-held principle that defensive positions (C included) take more time to learn, I think it’s at the very least reasonable to speculate that Gagner’s offense and defense could have developed better with some more seasoning.

    I might be misinterpreting your argument, but are you sayin there’s no worth in developing the mental aspects of a player in an environment where they are less likely to be overwhelmed when errors begin to pile up in their game? As you put it, “spending time against worse competition” is not beneficial. So then why bother keeping Eberle down for another year? Why send Lander down?

  59. commonfan14 says:

    Why not have all 3 #1s on the same line? Has that even happend on Olympic or all-star teams?

    Also, I don’t have a problem with the Oilers letting Yaks go the the Olympics even if the NHL isn’t participating. The 10 days he misses would be well worth it in goodwill from him and fellow Russian players in the future.

  60. Bar_Qu says:

    Not relevant at all, but a former student (and a really good kid) just got drafted by into the WHL today. It will be interesting to see him move through the WHL and hear about his experiences in hockey from the other side of where we are as fans.

    And this Russian thing, it would be called racist if it were anything other than hockey. But here, well, its just prudent drafting strategy. I mean, there’s never NA kids who do the same kind of stuff the Russians are accused of (coasting, playing for money over country, not living up to potential, etc, etc).

  61. commonfan14 says:

    Jesse,

    I just don’t buy the argument that it killed Gagner’s development and that he’d be much better somehow now if he’d done time in the lower leagues. If he had started developing into a basket case who was getting beaten down by his mistakes and becoming tentative, I’d be all for the argument that he’s been handled badly – but Gagner doesn’t seem like that at all to me. He’s a smart kid with a great window on what it takes to be a pro via his Dad, and he doesn’t seem discouraged at all to me. Quite the opposite actually.

    If a guy isn’t physically mature enough yet or has his performance start suffering badly as the season wears on like Lander did, it certainly makes sense to send him down. Gagner got better as his rookie season went on.

    He has limits as a player, but I don’t think they’re anything that could have been fixed by keeping him down when he’d legitimately made the team out of camp at 18.

    I just don’t know what specifically people think it is that he’d be doing better now.

  62. Truth says:

    I don’t know if this means anything to anyone, but I was obviously bored and compiled a PPG list of CHL players picked high in the draft in the past few years (and Chris Phillips b/c that is my opinion of what Ryan Murray will turn into). I compared 16 yr old seasons for the forwards to make it fair for Yakupov, who was hampered with a knee injury and, also in my own opinion, may have came back too early in order to ensure his injury would not affect his draft status (see Galchenyuk). I was not biased in picking players, all had to be CHL and picked early. It is rather obvious that scouts in recent times have no problems projecting all-star forwards, the same cannot be said for all defencemen picked early in the draft.

    16 year old season:

    Nail Yakupov: 1.55 PPG
    RNH: 0.97 PPG
    Taylor Hall: 1.43 PPG
    Tyler Seguin: 1.10 PPG
    John Tavares: 2.00 PPG
    Steven Stamkos: 1.46 PPG
    Jordan Staal: 0.42 PPG
    Sidney Crosby: 2.29 PPG
    Eric Staal: 1.11 PPG

    Last regular season in junior (prior to being drafted):

    Ryan Murray: 0.67 PPG
    Dougie Hamilton: 0.87 PPG
    Eric Gudbranson: 0.56 PPG
    Jared Cowen: 0.44 PPG
    Drew Doughty: 0.86 PPG
    Alex Pietrangelo: 0.88 PPG
    Zach Bogosian: 1.02 PPG
    Thomas Hickey: 0.74 PPG
    Cam Barker: 0.94 PPG
    Chris Phillips 0.66 PPG

    8/8 homeruns for FWD
    2 homeruns for sure at D, 1 bust, you call the rest

    Also, who gives a rip about the symbol on the player’s passport. The Oilers have been emphasizing “interviews” with players for three years now, I would bet character is a big item they are looking for. There are players from all over the place that would rather sit on their ass and collect a paycheck then have to work for it in the NHL, it is just unfortunate the KHL is willing to pay big bucks for players to play against AHL level talent.

    Everything written about Yakupov states he is a gamer, much like Taylor Hall. Grigorenko is the one to worry about dashing off for the easy paycheck from what I hear.

  63. Lowetide says:

    Bar_Qu:
    Not relevant at all, but a former student (and a really good kid) just got drafted by into the WHL today. It will be interesting to see him move through the WHL and hear about his experiences in hockey from the other side of where we are as fans.

    And this Russian thing, it would be called racist if it were anything other than hockey. But here, well, its just prudent drafting strategy.

    It’s racist to discuss the KHL signing risk? Help me out here.

  64. Lowetide says:

    Ryan:
    Forget about reading tea leaves…I’m reading beer hops and they’re telling me that LT wants the Oilers to draft Murray.:)

    Actually, no.

    http://oilersnation.com/2012/5/2/first-blush-2012

  65. art vandelay says:

    Oilers fans, because I expect higher brow thinking than what you might find among troglodyte fans of other teams:

    Puh-lease.

  66. fuzzy muppet says:

    Kovalchuk 2 pts in the first period playing with a herniated disc in his back.

    Lazy, soft Russian

  67. DSF says:

    Lowetide: It’s racist to discuss the KHL signing risk? Help me out here.

    Given that most Russians are Caucasians, (the Caucasus Mountain Range is actually a part of Russia) that is just idiotic.

    Ethnocentric perhaps.

  68. Bar_Qu says:

    Lowetide: It’s racist to discuss the KHL signing risk? Help me out here.

    What I mean is, the bias against signing Russians, simply because they are Russians, then putting up arguments to support the fact (lazy, soft, not going to leave home) is based in a “ist” of some kind. What I should have said is that I think the best player should be drafted, Russian or not. And I think the Russian thing is being held against a guy like Grigorenko, moving him from being considered a top draft contender.

    I don’t think discussing the whole KHL risk is a problem, just the ethnicity thing.

    Mainly I came on to trumpet the draft of my friend’s kid, and as usual did not shut up before saying something half-baked.

  69. Lowetide says:

    Bar_Qu: What I mean is, the bias against signing Russians, simply because they are Russians, then putting up arguments to support the fact (lazy, soft, not going to leave home) is based in a “ist” of some kind. What I should have said is that I think the best player should be drafted, Russian or not. And I think the Russian thing is being held against a guy like Grigorenko, moving him from being considered a top draft contender.

    I don’t think discussing the whole KHL risk is a problem, just the ethnicity thing.

    Mainly I came on to trumpet the draft of my friend’s kid, and as usual did not shut up before saying something half-baked.

    Oh yeah, agree completely. Honestly, you should have seen what the Euro’s in the WHA had to go through, it was terrible. In fact, the 70s stars in both leagues (Salming, Nedomanksy, Hedberg, Nilsson, etc) all got beat up. Juha Widing wasn’t a star but he took a beating too.

    and still it goes on. Some of the stories of these kids from Europe are stunning, even heartbreaking. Stastny’s was Bond worthy and the story of Petr Nedved will make you hug your kids.

  70. Bar_Qu says:

    Well if Cherry is only a 1/10 as bad as it used to be, then I can well imagine the nonsense that was inflicted on ice.

  71. FastOil says:

    “Race refers to a person’s physical appearance, such as skin color, eye color, hair color, bone/jaw structure etc. Ethnicity, on the other hand, relates to cultural factors such as nationality, culture, ancestry, language and beliefs. ”

    You all should do better with the careful use of our language and the understanding of what words mean. It is not racist to question a person’s commitment based on their ethnicity. Are some Russians mercurial? Yes. Are some North Americans mercurial? Yes. Opinions may vary. Nobody should want a Prima Donna on their hockey team that isn’t Gretzky, Lemieux or Orr. And even then.

    The term that should be used in the discussion here, for a proper level of emotional content is bigotry. And any suggestion that Yakupov wouldn’t drink or take drugs based on the fact his home culture is Muslim is ridiculous. That is his own lifestyle decision. I know many people of a Muslim background that excess. It’s a personal decision, don’t be a bigot.

    The point is players who might have comfort playing in the KHL present a risk. They have an extra bargaining position, and a frontier outlet to play hockey in for a lot of money. In business, I wouldn’t like that reality, unless the said individual would play for a discount, which is the antithesis to the problem.

  72. Ryan says:

    commonfan14:
    Jesse,

    I just don’t buy the argument that it killed Gagner’s development and that he’d be much better somehow now if he’d done time in the lower leagues.If he had started developing into a basket case who was getting beaten down by his mistakes and becoming tentative, I’d be all for the argument that he’s been handled badly – but Gagner doesn’t seem like that at all to me.He’s a smart kid with a great window on what it takes to be a pro via his Dad, and he doesn’t seem discouraged at all to me.Quite the opposite actually.

    If a guy isn’t physically mature enough yet or has his performance start suffering badly as the season wears on like Lander did, it certainly makes sense to send him down.Gagner got better as his rookie season went on.

    He has limits as a player, but I don’t think they’re anything that could have been fixed by keeping him down when he’d legitimately made the team out of camp at 18.

    I just don’t know what specifically people think it is that he’d be doing better now.

    This.

    Obviously we don’t have a time machine, but let’s use some common(fan) sense here.

    Sam Gagner had 49 points in 79 games in his rookie season. Sure Mact had the rink sloped like a black diamond towards the opposition net and he was -21 on the year, but I’m not going to buy the argument that Samwise would be anything other than he is today if he had spent time *seasoning.*

    If you can put up 49 points in your rookie season, I think it’s safe to say that you were ready to play in the NHL.

    Sam’s a fine player. Sure, if he could skate like Hall, make a pass thru the head of needle like RNH, or stickhandle in a phone booth and go roofdaddy up close like Eberle, he’d be a better hockey player. I don’t think any of those abilities are found in the minors.

    At some point, genetics cap a ceiling on a player regardless of work ethic etc. which is why I couldn’t have made it to the NHL in a million years. :p

  73. Lowetide says:

    And Gagner has been learning all down the line. He’s been a solid point producer and improved at all kinds of things (2-way play, 5×5/60, faceoffs, CorsiRel). He’s a good player, and smart (as Louise keeps reminding me).

    He should be able to play with these young guns for a decade.

  74. Braintrust says:

    It’s time I put my 2 cents in. Does anyone here like Scott Niedermayer? If you do, then that is what Ryan Murray will be…..almost a clone of him. That is EXACTLY what we need on our defence! Sure, we have lots of “good” to “very good” prospects on the back end, but we do not have anyone I would consider to be “elite”. Klefbom would be the closest, but Murray has so much talent and leadership ability that I would NOT HESITATE to draft him #1 overall.

    When we combine the aforementioned information with the CONTINUAL RISK of a Russian like Yakupov going back home, how could you (in good conscience) draft him #1 overall? If he was a second round pick I would say go nuts, but we are talking about a #1 OVERALL pick here. Too much is riding on the future of this hockey club to screw it up.

    Next, I GUARANTEE YOU that Yakupov will be an injury-prone player, and God knows, that’s the last thing our team needs right now. As a talent, I think Yakupov is outstanding, but when we honestly look at what our team needs, we have to draft according to that need at this point in time. A power centre + a quarterback on defence is (obviously) what must be addressed in the off season.

    Magnus Pääjärvi would be starting on line # 2 (at left wing) with Hemsky on the right. I think Magnus has the ability to become another Tomas Sandström. Very similar in style and skill sets. In my opinion, Magnus needs to play with a couple of high end players ALL YEAR to mature him to becoming a potential star NHL player. Therefore, our second line scoring should be fine, but I would need to trade Sam Gagner. I really like him as a player, but he is not right for what we need right now. Perhaps package Gagner and a prospect for someone like Jordan Staal would be possible?

    Bottom line: My advice to Tambo is “Don’t EVER draft a Russian in the first round!” That is strictly from a hockey perspective. I love Yakupov, but my question to all of his supporters is, what are you going to say if we draft him and he BOLTS to Russia after 3 years because some KHL team offered him a ridiculous contract? Think about it.

    Ryan Murray will become an outstanding franchise defenceman. You can take my word on that.

  75. "Steve Smith" says:

    Braintrust:
    It’s time I put my 2 cents in.

    I respectfully disagree.

  76. LoDog says:

    Braintrust,

    Will be Scott Niedermayer and guarentee that Yak will be injury prone. Sorry, not going to take your word for it.

  77. Captain's Log says:

    I wouldn’t blame Yakupov if he wanted to play in the KHL for a chance at the Olympics in 2014. This is yet another reason the NHL and NHLPA need to get their freaking act together.

    However would it be the worst thing if he was in Russia for 2 years and then came back to the NHL? After all Yakupov likely isn’t going to make the Oilers a significantly better team in the next two years. They need a stronger backend before that happens.

    In the end though the Oilers will need to judge for themselves whether taking Yakupov is risky. To borrow LT’s terminology, there are lot more up arrows than down arrows on this issue.

    My two cents? Draft the BPA, which at this point is still a consensus for Yakupov.

  78. Truth says:

    Braintrust,

    Scott Neidermayer in his draft year: 1.44 PPG
    Ryan Murray in his draft year: 0.67 PPG

    As I mentioned above Chris Phillips is the clone, except Murray is shorter and plays a little softer.

    Chris Phillips GP G A PTS PMS
    1995-96 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 61 10 30 40 97

    Ryan Murray
    2011-12 Everett Silvertips WHL 46 9 22 31 31

  79. Lowetide says:

    Truth:
    Braintrust,

    Scott Neidermayer in his draft year: 1.44 PPG
    Ryan Murray in his draft year: 0.67 PPG

    As I mentioned above Chris Phillips is the clone, except Murray is shorter and plays a little softer.

    Chris Phillips GP G APTSPMS
    1995-96 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 61 10 30 4097

    Ryan Murray
    2011-12 Everett SilvertipsWHL 46922 3131

    Niedermayer was on a team that scored 385 goals and didn’t lead the league (Spokane had 435). Murray scored his (in slightly more than half a season) on a club that scored 183.

    So, while I’m not suggesting Murray is Niedermayer it is also unfair to suggest Murray’s offense can be directly compared to to the dub of 20 years ago.

  80. hags9k says:

    I’d say there is way more risk in taking a Dman 1st overall than a Russian, especially a Russian from the CHL who is on record as wanting to be an NHLer. The hardest thing to do is score. Take Yakupov and then another dose of time and patience with the D. Add what upgrades you can via trade and free agency to the back end. Try like hell to bring in a power forward. This will be a case of the best trade being the one you don’t make. Roll Yak out there and let things play out until xmas. Patience people, we still don’t know for sure if we have a #1 goalie, no sense trading a #1 pick for D if we don’t.

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