The Nail Yakupov story isn’t exactly the Bourne Supremacy but it does give us something to talk about these days. Some of the things being said about Nail and the paperwork are unfai, and some are just flat out wrong.

In and article called “Money and Paperwork” Damien Cox gives his views on the Yakupov situation. I’m going to quote the item that was an issue for me and then we’ll discuss:

  • He was a top-notch player last year in the CHL, but hardly the best player in Canada, nothing even close to what, say, Taylor Hall was with Windsor in his draft year. Particularly from a team standpoint, Yakupov left people wanting more, and another season of being a dominant player in Sarnia or some other OHL outpost wouldn’t necessarily be bad for him.

I think we can agree that Taylor Hall played on a superior team, and that “team standpoint” has a lot to do with the quality of the team. Sarnia’s club doesn’t compare to Windsor’s team in Hall’s two junior seasons, and that would seem to be a fairly easy thing to prove (so I won’t pursue further).

The item about “hardly the best player in Canada” and the Taylor Hall mention is interesting because it is likely a popular opinion. Is it true?

The first thing we have to do is talk about the knee injury. Yakupov performed like a house on fire before, not so much after:

  • Before: 26, 21-32-53 2.04ppg
  • After: 16, 10-6-16 1.00ppg

We know he’s healthy, the long term future is bright but in this single snapshot we have a player who did not come back at the same level of ability. Fair?



  1. Taylor Hall 17-29-46
  2. Nail Yakupov 18-22-40

The healthy Nail described above would have had a slightly better NHLE, and overall he’s shy of Taylor Hall in his draft season.


  • Taylor Hall EV 57, 22-33-55 (.965)
  • Nail Yakupov EV 42, 18-22-40 (.953)

Nail Yakupov’s Sting scored 2.34 EV goals per game (159/68) and Hall’s Spitfires 3.30 EV goals per game (225/68).Since their scoring numbers are similar and Hall’s Windsor club is wildly superior at evens (a goal a game better, lordy) I would say Yakupov’s totals are superior. They were both in on about 25% of their teams even strength goals, but that doesn’t account for Nail’s 42 gp compared to Hall’s 57.

Yakupov may never perform at a superior level in any discipline from this day forth, but allowing for the fact that we don’t have TOI I would suggest the young  Russian was the superior EV offensive player in their respective draft years. By enough that we can see it.


  • Taylor Hall PP 57,  14-32-46 (.807)
  • Nail Yakupov PP 42, 12-16-28 (.667)

Hall has the clear edge here, both in boxcars and points-per game. Hall’s Spitfires were once again better in this area (95 goals in 68 games) and Yakpuov’s Sting (77 goals in 68 games) couldn’t match the firepower. They were in on about the same percentage of team goals when you factor in games missed.

Hall gets the edge on the powerplay. I don’t know that it is as wide a gap as the numbers suggest placed side by side. That Windsor team had far more firepower, and it should and did show up with the man advantage.


  • Taylor Hall PK 57, 4-1-5 (.087)
  • Nail Yakupov PK 42, 1-0-1 (.024)

Hall’s Spitfies scored 11, Nail’s Sting 7. I don’t know what to say except Hall should be on the Oilers PK.

These are both really good players. I think when you factor in quality of team there’s a case to be made that Yakupov was a better junior scorer. Certainly before the injury.  I don”t know that Yakupov can push back defenders like Hall and we’ll have to see about who he finds chem with, but this young man is another elite level talent based on the numbers.

The only legit argument for Yakupov belonging back in junior comes if you believe his performance after the injury was a reflection of his ability as opposed to a reflection of his health at the time. I don’t subscribe to that theory.

Damien Cox suggested Nail was “not close” to Taylor Hall in his draft year. I would argue Yakupov was superior before the injury–despite playing on an inferior team–and just shy overall. Factoring in his 16-year old season, putting Yakupov back in Sarnia would benefit Sarnia ownership and little else.

I don’t see a hockey reason to send him back.

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22 Responses to "SPIN"

  1. Woodguy says:

    Whoa, whoa, whoa!!

    Damien Cox talks out his ass and ignores facts in favour of a narrative?

    The hell you say!!

  2. spoiler says:

    LT… With respect to the last thread, where do you have Hall playing this year? Has there been some team verbal on this that I missed?

  3. jimmers says:

    I for one don’t find it strange that a cheesie-stained blogger could destroy Cox’s argument with a quick discussion of basic and readily-available stats. Cox is a busy man after all and has things to do. Like his job for example.

    Nice KO.

  4. commonfan14 says:

    Unrelated but entertaining fodder:


    A collection of tweets that comedian Norm Macdonald threw out a little while ago covering his childhood memories of the Summit Series.

  5. Truth says:

    Big Surprise, Damien Cox. To me, his intellect is at par with Mike MIlbury. Along the lines of “how in the hell does he still have that job.” Complete idiot.

    Nail Yakupov before his injury including the previous junior season was performing great. Any decent hockey player, especially in their draft year, will come back from injury prior to being at 100%. I think that has a lot to do with his drop off. He did beat Stamkos’ rookie record in Sarnia.

    Yakupov’s only fault that I see is his disregard for the defensive zone. He’s always up there picking cherries. I’m sure Krueger will have a say in that though.

  6. OilClog says:

    Cox’s opinion has about as sway as a cow in a field. If anything he sounds alil tipsy.

  7. wheatnoil says:

    Related question: Since the Oilers assigned Yakupov to the CHL, IF the lockout takes the whole season, does Yakupov’s ELC slide? I imagine it would.

    If so, and the lockout only causes an abbreviated season, is there a line in the sand where it makes no sense to bring Yakupov back up and burn an ELC year? A 40 game season? At that point, would it be better to leave Yakupov to play where-ever he is?

  8. Peacecountry says:

    Hey LT,

    Just a thought but wouldn’t it be best to compare the team numbers for Sarnia with Yakupov in the lineup and without? I’m not sure that it will make a difference in the comparison but I would think that Saria’s gf/g would have went down with Yakupov out of the lineup. Sarnia was the lesser team but maybe not as large a margin as your numbers indicate. I imagine figuring out those numbers is probably a lot more time consuming and I can understand why you didn’t to end up at the same point on the road.

  9. OilClog says:

    Sarnia would be demolished by that Spitfire team, they were a powerhouse. Sarnia is obviously much better with Yakupov in the line up as oppose to without him.. but they would still walk away empty handed 9 out of 10 times. Following Hall that season he was the number #1 was some awesome hockey to watch, that team was a wrecking ball.

  10. freeze says:

    Cox is such a dink. I wish all blogs and fans would just ignore everything he has to say.

  11. Gret99zky says:

    Cox has one of the biggest collections of clown shoes in MSM. I’m surprised he’s even heard of Nail Yakupov.

  12. Mr. K says:


    It should slide because ELC doesn’t start until 9 nhl games are played right?

  13. Dalton says:

    I’m looking at the same EV numbers, Lowetide, but I’m not seeing what you’re seeing.

    Hall has 4 more goals in 15 more games, so that could be a bit better, but he’s also got 11 more assists in those games.

    I think they’re very close, but Hall was shooting lights out on the PK… Two Memorial cups…. I don’t think there’s a case at all for saying Yak is better. The Spitfires were a better team because of Tay-Tay!

  14. OilShorts says:

    OT: Farjestad is leading Timra 2-0 after 2 periods.

    Klefbom is 0-1-1 (that’s right, he has a point!) +1, with 1 SOG and 1 Hit in 13:31 TOI (second most for defensmen)

  15. Traktor says:

    This is like comparing Kovalchuk to Iginla.

    I know which one I would rather have on my team.

    I like Yakupov but there is nothing wrong with sending him back to junior.

  16. LP says:

    LT, why do you even read Cox? (he’s below you)

  17. Bruce McCurdy says:

    4-1 final for Farjestads over Timra. Klefbom ended up 0-1-1, +2, and was also on the ice for a powerplay goal as well as the one goal-against, scored in a 3v5 situation. Sounds like he got lots of action in all situations.

    No ice time listed in the official stats; is somebody here tracking that somehow?

  18. Moosemess says:

    LT, I thought you’d be interested in knowing that your site provides untold fun and often in unexpected ways.

    After seeing the Cougar Life ad for the umpteenth time on here, I decided to conduct a little social experiment.

    I created two free profiles on the site. For one, I used a stock photo of a young male model with the key info being ‘student’ and earnings under $40k. With the other, I included no photo but indicated an annual salary north of $200k per annum. The former has seen middling response. The latter has been absolutely inundated by email invites, flirts and cajoling to upgrade the account and respond.

    The site may be marketed to cougars, but it would seem the agenda remains the same (i.e. finding a husband). lol

  19. Peacecountry says:


    Seriously the funniest things I have heard all day! Priceless! Even without the NHL the oilogosphere is still the best thing on the web!

  20. Clay says:


    I agree with your sentiment that comparing Hall and Nail strictly by the numbers doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. They are quite different players stylistically who can both produce fantastic numbers.

    However, I assume that by comparing Yakupov to Kovalchuk you’re insinuating that he lacks “character” or some such, and it’s a bit premature to come to that conclusion. Maybe I’ve missed something, but I don’t recall the buzz around Yakupov including how wishy-washy he is.

    Yes, there have been plenty of Russian NHLers who left a lot to be desired (Yashin, Kovalev, etc), but also plenty of them who did not (Federov, Datsyuk, etc).

  21. Traktor says:


    I was thinking more along the lines of hanging around the red line while everyone else tries to get the puck back.

    Yakupov might end up a better scorer but to suggest that he is too dominant of a player to be in junior is just wrong.

  22. Woodguy says:

    Gernat gets shoulder surgery in Czech Republic.


    Interesting that he he saw a few doctors here, but decided to get surgery after talking to doctors back home.

    I wonder if the local doctors recommended surgery?

    Really shitty luck.

    I hope he can come back.

    His hubbub surpassed Marincin last year.

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