Today, Nail Yakupov flies into Edmonton to meet the men who will decide a big part of his future. Will the “best player available” be an Oiler later this month?
Nail Yakupov’s performance at the NHL combine this week answered the only real remaining question about him: he’s recovered from the knee injury, he’s an impressive athlete and (we already knew) the most explosive and productive player in the draft.
You never know about these things and as Jim Matheson’s latest article suggests this thing isn’t over yet. However, I think it’s reasonable to set the stage for the draft and this summer. Among the subjects the Oilers will present to us in the next month, I predict the following story lines:
- Oilers draft Nail Yakupov
- Taylor Hall–center.
- Trading back up into the first round for a defenseman, possibly Olli Maata.
- An expose on Ryan Whitney’s impressive progress.
- Renewed attention to Martin Marincin from the Oilers media machine.
- A trade for an NHL defenseman.
The big names coming to Edmonton this summer are pretty much known to us this morning: Nail Yakupov (with a small voice in our brains whispering “Murray”), Ryan Smyth and someone like Matt Carle or Fedor Tyutin.
Welcome to Edmonton, Nail.