YAKUPOV A CORNERSTONE FOR THE CLUSTER

In the world of instant analysis, Nail Yakupov’s slot in the batting order of the Oiler cluster won’t be known for a year or two. We can guess though, and my bet is it’ll be high up in the order.

Fancy stats tell us Taylor Hall is 20 and driving the bus a little in the best league on the planet. The Nuge is a powerplay witch (source: Tyler Dellow) and Jordan Eberle is some kind of wonderful with his release and picking corners.

If Yakupov can play LW that might open up all kinds of opportunities, including moving Taylor Hall to center. Using the Ralph Krueger ‘pairing chart’ we talked about the other day (while adding Horcoff-Smyth for the tough minutes/zone start line) we get something like this:

     
NUGENT-HOPKINS EBERLE HALL****
GAGNER HEMSKY YAKUPOV
HORCOFF SMYTH JONES
    EAGER
    HARTIKAINEN
    PAAJARVI

I have the ‘pairs’ in slots one and two, with Hall and the others sliding along as needed. Hall could be used on a line with Gagner-Hemsky and face tough opponents with good zone starts, or he could join the Nuge and Ebs for a big time skill line.

The 4 wingers that include Jones, Eager, Hartikainen and Paajarvi are at this point outside the top 9 with one exception–my guess is that Jones owns the spot currently and will entering training camp.

Edmonton has too many forwards. Nail Yakupov’s signing makes the coaching decisions easier and more inviting, but the job of culling the herd remains to be done.

We wait.

 

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58 Responses to "YAKUPOV A CORNERSTONE FOR THE CLUSTER"

  1. Dalton says:

    Smyth and Jones are a pair too, based on the stats, eh?

  2. edwards_daddy says:

    I hope this team goes nuclear next year. Probably a 2% chance of 300 goals next year, but you just get the feeling that Hall might explode into 50 goal territory and drag the rest of the team with him. **keeps drinking**

  3. Lowetide says:

    Dalton: No doubt, and if he plays on the Horcoff-Smyth line then Hemsky is a free bird and can help the offense with that group of 5 kids.

  4. Mr DeBakey says:

    but you just get the feeling that Hall might explode into 50 goal territory

    Shoulder surgery notwithstanding

  5. D says:

    The masterpiece is starting to take form. Hope the Oil pull it all together in the next year or two.

  6. spoiler says:

    I’ve been a big believer in pairings for a long time. It’s something we used to talk about more round these parts in the days prior to the 6 year Bataan Death March.

    So I’m very encouraged by Krueger’s comments.

    However, I believe he was being intentionally deceptive…

    Obviously he’s aware that Hall’s a Corsi Machine, and would benefit any line he was placed on. And I believe this to be true too. But until we see Gagner burying Hemsky’s passes with regularity (or vice versa), the true pairing on that top line is passer Hemsky with finisher Hall.

  7. Lowetide says:

    I think there are several important things to monitor.

    1. Contracts. Signing these fellows to reasonable deals and making sure there are no missteps. A current example: Eberle getting same dollars as Hall. I have no idea why that would be the case.
    2. Making sure the defensemen–Klefbom, Marincin, Gernat, Musil, etc–develop. Not all will make it, but they’ll need three imo along with Smid, Petry and Schultz.
    3. No stupid trades.

  8. skidplate says:

    Speaking of pairs:

    / /( @ )^( @ )\ \

  9. Dipstick says:

    skidplate:
    Speaking of pairs:

    / /( @ )^( @ )\\

    That is the top “pairing” in OKC.

  10. TheOtherJohn says:

    LT

    It’s gonna be fascinating to watch our prospects develop.

    Everyone seems pretty sure that the big 4 will all develop into a big elite 4. Maybe but Carter & Dawson distanced themselves from Valentine, Cromartie and Parrish. Similarly, fully developed, L Walker had a much broader toolbox than Grissom or Alou. Rondell White was favorably compared to Andre Dawson. That did not work out quite as well as we hoped.

    I fully expect Hall and Yak will distance themselves ES from RNH and Eberle.But strange things happen

    Many here seem to think all of our D will develop into the Carter, Dawson, Walker, Vladdy cluster and not the Rondell White /Cro cluster. Course if we replicate the early Spos either Yak or Hall will have to self destruct and we have our modern day Ellis Valentine

  11. Ducey says:

    Why are there too many forwards?

    Hall isn’t likely to be ready for the first few games and MPS and Harsky can go to the farm.

    Plus Hemsky will miss 40 games due to injury.

  12. coolwasabi says:

    Argh. Always have to remember that Centers come first around these parts. Confusing.

  13. Zack says:

    Dipstick: That is the top “pairing” in OKC.

    Are these the top two pairings you are referring to?

    http://www.popcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/okahomafront.jpg

  14. DSF says:

    edwards_daddy:
    I hope this team goes nuclear next year. Probably a 2% chance of 300 goals next year, but you just get the feeling that Hall might explode into 50 goal territory and drag the rest of the team with him.**keeps drinking**

    Hall is coming off major shoulder surgery and won’t be training as usual.

    He’ll be extremely fortunate to score 25-30.

  15. sliderule says:

    One of the most exciting things about watching the boys in the bus was we didn’t know how they were going to develop as players and as a team.
    Gretzky was amazing but the rest of them left questions.Messier used to overskate the puck,Coffey was a turnover machine,Kurri was soft,Anderson skated miles without doing too much and we couldn’t beat the islanders.
    I think and hope that twice in my lifetime we are heading for the same sort of wondrous adventure.

    The same type of players are all in place and I see in Yak and Hall the same love of life and the game that the boys in the bus had.

    Enjoy!

  16. Woodguy says:

    skidplate:
    Speaking of pairs:

    / /( @ )^( @ )\\

    . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . ,.-’”. . . . . . . . . .“~.,
    . . . . . . . .. . . . . .,.-”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .”-.,
    . . . . .. . . . . . ..,/. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . “:,
    . . . . . . . .. .,?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .\,
    . . . . . . . . . /. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,}
    . . . . . . . . ./. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:`^`.}
    . . . . . . . ./. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:”. . . ./
    . . . . . . .?. . . __. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :`. . . ./
    . . . . . . . /__.(. . .”~-,_. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:`. . . .. ./
    . . . . . . /(_. . “~,_. . . ..”~,_. . . . . . . . . .,:`. . . . _/
    . . . .. .{.._$;_. . .”=,_. . . .”-,_. . . ,.-~-,}, .~”; /. .. .}
    . . .. . .((. . .*~_. . . .”=-._. . .”;,,./`. . /” . . . ./. .. ../
    . . . .. . .\`~,. . ..”~.,. . . . . . . . . ..`. . .}. . . . . . ../
    . . . . . .(. ..`=-,,. . . .`. . . . . . . . . . . ..(. . . ;_,,-”
    . . . . . ../.`~,. . ..`-.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..\. . /\
    . . . . . . \`~.*-,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..|,./…..\,__
    ,,_. . . . . }.>-._\. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .|. . . . . . ..`=~-,
    . .. `=~-,_\_. . . `\,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .\
    . . . . . . . . . .`=~-,,.\,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .\
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . `:,, . . . . . . . . . . . . . `\. . . . . . ..__
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .`=-,. . . . . . . . . .,%`>–==“
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _\. . . . . ._,-%. . . ..`

  17. Lowetide says:

    Jean-Luc for the win.

  18. DSF says:

    Woodguy,

    This would likely be a good time for LT to trot out the OKC Twins ™

  19. Lowetide says:

    DSF: Zack already did above. times 2.

  20. skidplate says:

    There are 4 lights. Highbeams that is.

  21. Zack says:

    Lowetide:
    DSF: Zack already did above. times 2.

    Beautiful top and second pairing.

    As for the lines, its really tough to say if Krueger is open to switching Hall to center. What I love about Krueger is that it seems like he has a solidified vision of what he wants and how he wants each player to contribute. So far I’ve heard from Smyth, Hordi and most recently Peckham on established roles Krueger has talked to the players about and everyone seems clear on what the plan is. This is a huge step in coaching especially coming from the players.

  22. bookje says:

    I shudder to think what the comment section will look like come mid August.

  23. "Steve Smith" says:

    bookje,

    PENIS!

  24. Lowetide says:

    DINK!

  25. "Steve Smith" says:

    I just googled “penis synonyms austin powers” at work.

  26. Jordan says:

    bookje:
    I shudder to think what the comment section will look like come mid August.

    This is a very confusing time for Oilers fans. For the last 6 years, this clubs management MO has been failure. Sending out good players for lesser lights, giant roster holes, poor signings and general ineptness.

    We’re not even in to August, and it looks a lot like the Oilers have a lot of defensive depth, offensive depth, and have all their key pieces in place. If they can find a pair of cement shoes for their inept Russian goaltender, this team would be looking quite promising.

    What have we got to complain about? We didn’t trade for Bobby Lou, or Nash, or Joffrey Lupul. The players are all saying they want to be here, and even the grumpy one who wants to play in the nHL now isn’t slagging the org – he’s quite well-spoken. We got a great free agent signing, all of our young players under contract, and have a lot of extra cap space for signings next year or trades for players on expiring contracts.

    It’s a complete reversal. It’s like the managment group is competant and was told, “Okay boys. Time to stop sucking hind banana, and build a winner.” We don’t have anything left to bitch and moan about now. August is approaching, and we’re already trying to do our line combinations.

    By the time labour day rolls around, this won’t even be a hockey blog – with all of the hockey discussions essentially taken care off, we’ll be engaged in discussions of music history, economic theory, social policy, human nature and ethics. This site will attract some of the greatest thinkers of our age, and for several weeks all of us will be on the brink of ending scarcity, fear, and creating a Utopian society for all people.

    Until Krueger makes a line change someone doesn’t agree with – then the momentous discussions will falter and crumble and wealth of wisdom will vanish underneath the all-encompassing need to suggest that Eager should not have been on the ice.

  27. Dipstick says:

    Jordan:By the time labour day rolls around, this won’t even be a hockey blog – with all of the hockey discussions essentially taken care off, we’ll be engaged in discussions of music history, economic theory, social policy, human nature and ethics.This site will attract some of the greatest thinkers of our age, and for several weeks all of us will be on the brink of ending scarcity, fear, and creating a Utopian society for all people.

    Why do I hear the voice of James Earl Jones in my head when I read this?

    I figured it out.

    ” They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack.”

  28. bookje says:

    Jordan:

    It’s a complete reversal.It’s like the managment group is competant and was told, “Okay boys.Time to stop sucking hind banana, and build a winner.”

    Yes, it’s just like that. Almost like it was a plan.

  29. "Steve Smith" says:

    Jordan: We’re not even in to August, and it looks a lot like the Oilers have a lot of defensive depth, offensive depth, and have all their key pieces in place.If they can find a pair of cement shoes for their inept Russian goaltender, this team would be looking quite promising.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa – I’ll concede that we have “defensive depth” in the sense of having a lot of prospects who might turn out quite well, but we’re still sorely lacking at the NHL level, and goaltending’s still a question mark (through no fault of Dubnyk’s). And this is coming from a guy who, unlike a lot around here, thinks that the Oilers’ centres are pretty decent – if I’m wrong in that, you can add them to the list. And the fourth line’s still likely to suck (I think we have the pieces necessary to build a decent one, but I don’t think we will). I’m not following your optimism – the “plan” here still looks to me like “…and then BAM! Stanley Cup.”

    This is clearly not a playoff team, and we’re on the last year of Hall’s and Eberle’s ELCs.

  30. speeds says:

    LT:

    Bob Stauffer was kind of hinting today at a deal looking something like Paajarvi for Erixon. Is that something you’d look at?

  31. bookje says:

    “Steve Smith”: Whoa, whoa, whoa – I’ll concede that we have “defensive depth” in the sense of having a lot of prospects who might turn out quite well, but we’re still sorely lacking at the NHL level, and goaltending’s still a question mark (through no fault of Dubnyk’s).And this is coming from a guy who, unlike a lot around here, thinks that the Oilers’ centres are pretty decent – if I’m wrong in that, you can add them to the list.And the fourth line’s still likely to suck (I think we have the pieces necessary to build a decent one, but I don’t think we will).I’m not following your optimism – the “plan” here still looks to me like “…and then BAM!Stanley Cup.”

    This is clearly not a playoff team, and we’re on the last year of Hall’s and Eberle’s ELCs.

    Steve, try to pay attention. Krueger is going to fix all of that.

    Let’s go Kruegering now, everybody’s learning how, come on and win Stanley with me , come on and win Stanley with me!

    Is it October yet?

  32. gogliano says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    I just googled “penis synonyms austin powers” at work.

    I recommend westlaw next time.

  33. speeds says:

    “Steve Smith”
    This is clearly not a playoff team, and we’re on the last year of Hall’s and Eberle’s ELCs.

    I’m not going to say I think this is definitely a playoff team, but I do think you’re overstating the case against it. They should gain some goal differential from internal improvement, may well gain some from shifting 15 games to Dubnyk from Khabi.

  34. "Steve Smith" says:

    speeds,

    We should also lose some goal differential from the power play normalizing.

  35. speeds says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    sure, there are lots of angles. By goal differential the Oilers need to gain about 40 goals to get into the range of the teams in the playoff hunt. They could get in with less, or miss with more, but that’s the rough range.

    Smith at .910 instead of .930 would cost PHX pretty much that goal differential alone.

  36. Lowetide says:

    speeds:
    LT:

    Bob Stauffer was kind of hinting today at a deal looking something like Paajarvi for Erixon.Is that something you’d look at?

    I would do that trade in a heartbeat but there’s no way the Jackets do it.

  37. BlacqueJacque says:

    I have to ask, where did you get this habit of placing centres on the left wing in line combinations?

  38. Lowetide says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    I have to ask, where did you get this habit of placing centres on the left wing in line combinations?

    From the time I was a kid. Just like ‘center’ and ‘defense’ I guess.

  39. VOR says:

    I think you might trade MPS to Columbus for a young defenceman in development. I am thinking John Moore might be headed here. Yes, yes I know. But the irony of it would be hilarious. The Oilers were targeting Moore who can truly fly when MPS fell down the draft and they took him. If it is Erixon some one else is involved, might be multiplayer. Moore might be a player if you could ever figure out how to get Ryan Murphy from Carolina. They were amazing together in Junior. Then again maybe David Savard plus X. In any case, MPS, a player I love, seems likely to be the one moving. What would we have to add to get Savard and Jenner?

  40. BlacqueJacque says:

    Lowetide: From the time I was a kid. Just like ‘center’ and ‘defense’ I guess.

    Huh.

    So you’re a secret American! The mounties have been called.

  41. Schitzo says:

    My 14 year old stepdaughter has me twitter-stalking one of the kids from that One Direction band, insisting I help her think of witty tweets to send to him.

    God I miss my early 20s.

  42. BlacqueJacque says:

    Schitzo:
    My 14 year old stepdaughter has me twitter-stalking one of the kids from that One Direction band, insisting I help her think of witty tweets to send to him.

    God I miss my early 20s.

    What does being in your early 20s have to do with that? Were you stalked by 14 year old girls then?

  43. "Steve Smith" says:

    Schitzo,

    And to think – if it was a son asking for your help tweeting a female artist, some misguided souls would find it creepy. That’s the Democrats for you.

  44. stevezie says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    Just a solid post. Sometimes I’ve got to break character and say so.

  45. Schitzo says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Schitzo,

    And to think – if it was a son asking for your help tweeting a female artist, some misguided souls would find it creepy.That’s the Democrats for you.

    Is it a bad sign if I’m not only helping her, I’m absolutely killing it?

  46. Schitzo says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    Look, it’s bad enough that I have to introduce myself to all of the neighbours within 150 metres of my house, I don’t want to talk about it on the internet.

  47. "Steve Smith" says:

    Schitzo,

    It would be a bad sign if you weren’t – man, if I could transplant my current wit into my 14 year-old self…well, it would be wasted on 14 year olds. And come to think of it, my sense of humour really hasn’t matured in sixteen years anyway.

    In any event, you’re plainly a pretty cool father, no matter what the courts say.

  48. "Steve Smith" says:

    stevezie,

    Thanks – I really digged (dug?) the stuff you were doing last night about right players and wrong players. I generally don’t respond when I don’t think I can top something, so in that sense my silence is the highest compliment I can pay (to say nothing of the most welcome).

  49. stevezie says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    I want to take you to Paris.

    Schitzo,

    The whole point of being too old to hit on youths is you also get really good at hitting on youths so to youths looking for help hitting youths you become the man. So way to go, Fonzie!

  50. Schitzo says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Schitzo,

    In any event, you’re plainly a pretty cool father, no matter what the courts say.

    Read the Law Society’s Code of Conduct, creeping out British teenagers is not an enumerated offense. Huzzah.

  51. Schitzo says:

    stevezie:
    Schitzo,

    The whole point of being too old to hit on youths is you also get really good at hitting on youths so to youths looking for help hitting youths you become the man. So way to go, Fonzie!

    It’s like having small children. They’re simultaneously the greatest little wingmen, and the reason you can’t seal the deal anymore. (As an aside, my younger bro loves borrowing his nephew for playground time. Godspeed.)

  52. "Steve Smith" says:

    Schitzo,

    Man I wish you were the guy marking the ethics component of CPLED.

    (You weren’t, were you?)

  53. Schitzo says:

    Nope, but nearly at the point where they start soliciting us to grade or teach. I’m imagining the legal equivalent of two strapping young lads in short-sleeve dress shirts and ties knocking on your door at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

  54. Ducey says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Schitzo,

    In any event, you’re plainly a pretty cool father, no matter what the courts say.

    Often heard at the local cellblock…

  55. bendelson says:

    I’m so pleased the Steve’s have come together.
    What a strange and wonderful development.

    Together there is surely no stopping them…

    Look out Woodguy – here comes The Steve’s.
    Stand aside Bookje.
    Out of the way Ducey.
    No chance DSF.

    We all congregate in the church of Steve now.

  56. DeadmanWaking says:

    Woodguy,

    Took me a moment to pick up the face-palm tumour in the mammogram. What have the boys in the dark room been doing, anyway, to produce a spider-on-asciid plot like that? And why has Xerox subcontracted our copier service contract to Otis Elevating, and what’s with all these new bright yellow decals “maximum occupancy 400 pounds” and why did I overhear a stern voice in Big Bubba’s cubical instructing him “it may well be discrimination, but I advise against filing a complaint in this instance”. So many questions, so few answers.

  57. uni says:

    Ducey,

    He’d be great on “To Catch a Predator”.

  58. Ribs says:

    Yep, saving the world. One post at a time.

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