We’re getting to know the 2012 picks outside Nail (who’s already famous in Oiler Nation) Yakupov, and as the weeks go by the title of “best pick outside round 1″ appears to be trending toward a strapping young man from Surrey, BC.

In his first 7 games at Michigan Tech, Khaira was 0-3-3 -1. Since that game, he’s 11, 4-8-12 +1. The 6.03, 195 pound center/wing has been impressive as a freshman and is getting some attention for this work. First, some video evidence that he can be a physical player:

Khaira is doing all of this at a rather young age–he turned 18 in mid-August 2012–and has climbed the depth chart at Michigan Tech in rapid fashion. He’s also shooting more in recent games (7 shots in his last 2 games).

Teenage picks in the MBS era who have either played in the NCAA before or after being drafted include Dillon Simpson, Tyler Pitlick and Troy Hesketh.

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  1. Woodguy says:

    I wonder when the Oilers will ask him to leave school?

    I think starting in the AHL at the beginning of the 14/15 season is probably correct. (assuming the good lord is willing and the creek don’t rise)

    Nice to see him trending up.

    Over/under on the percentage of articles about him in the MSM when he turns pro also mentioning Lucic?

    I set the line at 95.6%

  2. hags9k says:

    Great to see Khaira putting together a nice season.
    LT, what are the chances you could revisit the remaining unsigned FA defenseman? Do you think there is anyone left that we may see the Oilers target once the suits remove their tops from their bottoms? I like to think that they are going to add a D, possibly through a trade but maybe a useful UFA has slipped through the cracks.

  3. Lowetide says:

    Hags: List is here, I don’t see anyone obvious still out there

    Suspect a trade could happen, Toronto Marlies D is pretty solid.

  4. Lois Lowe says:

    I wonder when the Oilers will ask him to leave school?

    I hope they don’t. He’s still a long shot to play in the NHL, I’d hate to see the young man throw away an education for magic beans.

  5. speeds says:

    In terms of D, it’ll be interesting to see how EDM handles next summer, with Whitney, Smid, and Sutton UFA’s and a bunch of teams facing cap pinches. Assuming a 60 mil cap, a team like NYR is really pinched to the cap – I’m not sure EDM would offer sheet McDonagh but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone does given NYR’s cap situation.

    Although, at the same time, I’d be somewhat surprised by a 60 mil cap in 2013/14, I’d guess that will get negotiated upwards if a CBA is signed.

  6. BlacqueJacque says:

    I am so excited about this kid now. When he came from the BCHL and went into college, I thought “probably another Riley Nash”, but Jujhar has turned my initial opinion around completely.

    It’s also worth noting that getting more ice time in college is tough as a freshman. I don’t know if it’s the competition or coach loyalty, but you don’t see many youngsters out for prime scoring opportunities.

  7. Woodguy says:

    Lois Lowe: I hope they don’t. He’s still a long shot to play in the NHL, I’d hate to see the young man throw away an education for magic beans.

    The window to become an NHLer is small. You can learn your whole life.

    A $100K signing bonus would take care of the last two years of schooling should he fail at professional hockey and want to go back.

    I agree that he’s a long shot to make the NHL, but fast, big men get lots of chances.

    The NHL minimum salary is $500K. That’s more than many CEO’s.

    Its worth taking the shot.

  8. RexLibris says:

    I’m with Lois Lowe on this one, I hope he stays for three years and at least gets close to a degree. It’ll help his long-term future and likely his athletic career potential as well.

    On the defense side of the equation: I’d like to see Whitney come back. Re-signing both he and Smid is the best option, in my opinion (Smid being the proverbial no-brainer). Something like $3.5 each a season with varying length of contract (longer for Smid, shorter for Whitney).

  9. nelson88 says:

    Based on the box score it looks like Dubie got the better of the Dy’s red headed stepchild today.

    If the season ever gets going and Dubnyk comes in without rust the Oilers are going to be tough to beat in a sprint for the playoffs. I just hope the can trade down at the draft to get one of the big C’s in the top 10.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Nelson: You mean trade up?

  11. LMHF#1 says:

    Woodguy: The window to become an NHLer is small.You can learn your whole life.

    This. I’d try to get him to leave at the end of this season.

  12. jp says:

    LMHF#1: This. I’d try to get him to leave at the end of this season.

    I’d leave him in college for the 13-14 season at least. He’ll still be Jr aged next season and WHL drafted, so unless I’m mistaken he can’t play in the AHL until 14-15 anyway. I also think at least one more college season is probably best for him – to make sure he’s consistently playing at the level we’ve seen recently, and to begin to dominate at that level. Other than that, I’d turn him pro as soon as he’s deemed “ready”. It may be less likely that he returns to school if he leaves early, but there’s no reason he couldn’t if it’s something he’s really interested in. I imagine an ELC with a little signing bonus would be pretty enticing – I know if would be to me.

  13. Lowetide says:

    I’d keep him where he is UNLESS someone tells me the NCAA division he plays in is poor, and I don’t think it is. Khaira is a big kid, so he should be able to face the toughness of junior play (it’s not a “toughen up Modano” move, for instance).

    If he’s ready at 20, certainly turn him pro. Nothing wrong with an education but he can get that during the summers or when his career is over. If this were my son, I’d tell him to play the game he loves until they grab the stick out of his hands and ask for the jersey.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Pouliot scored at the Spengler. His Mother and I are very proud, and I am having a scotch. Neat.

  15. gogliano says:

    WCHA is probably the top hockey conference. At worst it is second place, but I’d say he is currently playing in the top NCAA conference. Lot of hockey powerhouses roll through the WCHA.

    I see no reason in pushing him out earlier than the 13-14 season. Kid just turned 18 and if he is smart he is using the lighter game schedule to put mass on that huge frame.

  16. stevezie says:

    If he’s ready at 20, certainly turn him pro. Nothing wrong with an education but he can get that during the summers or when his career is over. If this were my son, I’d tell him to play the game he loves until they grab the stick out of his hands and ask for the jersey.

    I love education, but man do I love playing hockey more than anything else. I’d tell my kid the same thing- those who love learning tend to get a fine education in or out of school. If you don’t need the degree for a job it doesn’t need to be a priority.

  17. Lowetide says:

    Plus–and believe me I’m a fan of education–Khaira has plenty of time unless he’s going veterinarian.

  18. DeadmanWaking says:

    What it would take for me to watch a regular season game is a camera angle where I could see all the guys, all the time. Too often the regular season video feed resembles poker coverage without the pinhole cameras. Poker TV without a pinhole camera is basically just a soap opera for men who won’t admit it. In the second season, where pressure and time and space are cranked to barely sustainable plus one, the TV coverage isn’t so different than what the players experience: the situation collapses to what the camera actually follows. Often in the regular season, I’ll find an audio feed, but rarely a video feed (late season blood feuds make me thirsty).

    Listening to an audio feed is a strange art. First, the person calling the game actually has the visual perspective where he can see all the guys on the ice all the time. Only it’s terribly pell-mell out there and he constantly needs a fresh set of names at the tip of his tongue. The puck moves so quickly, there’s a lot of editing on the fly. Nevertheless, when you listen to a guy who has been doing this for a long time, you can pretty much follow the puck and even most of the line changes.

    There’s also this strange authorial voice that creeps in. The play-by-play commentary is information dense (Eberle peels off his check, across to Hall, quick chip up to Nugent in the near corner, back to Schultz who steps sideways and retains control). But there’s also a lilt and cadence and you know who is really winning the game (off the scoreboard) underneath all that homer gloss.

    I was bulldozing my desk in the wee hours of the 2nd and 3rd periods last night with the audio feed on in the background (by some trick of late fees, library books seem to be the only objects in my sphere with an earthquake-compatible building code).

    On the Canadian side, the only players generating any subvocal aura of power were Subban and Strome. The Americans were constantly mentioned in the pitch of voice of something about to happen, crackling like a gathering storm stampeding over dry twigs. The longer we clung to white knuckle supremacy, the less confident I felt about the team going forward. Small sample size, but I’m left with a knot in my stomach about Russia house. I don’t know, perhaps somewhere in the past an impotent 5 on 3 with ultimate glory hanging by a c-hair left a giant Mare Wesuck on my psyche.

    James Wood has me thinking about the novelistic aspects of audio play-by-play. Narrative omniscience is a funny thing. When one of the heroic homeboys has a brain cramp, even Rod Phillips would suddenly acquire the perplexed tone of a man who hasn’t really grown up with the game: “I don’t know what just happened there …” Oh no, you do, and it wasn’t pretty. Loud and clear. Then a few minutes later the same player receives accolades for a nice (but routine) play intercepting a pass in the neutral zone, and the commentators pause to trumpet homer hero’s intensity or acumen. Then you really know how boneheaded that recent play must have been. Rod had no compunction about whipping any player (hero or homeboy or both) after getting good wood on the puck yet failing to clear the zone, but he usually paused to check that the replay caught the player screwing the pooch in flagrante delicto before flexing his public whip hand. I think he also glanced down at the bench where he would notice the coach warming up the superglue gun. His tirades were often followed ten minutes later by the expression “now we have a rare shift from …” Of course he notices that. He could see it when the glue was freshly zambonied. (There’s an amazing industry in adhesives. There are glues and then there are glues. Petr Klima could have made a nice second career endorsing Enduro-Glue. It would have been a welcome change from some lunchbox toting fatso hanging from a steel girder by a yellow hard hat. I have a friend who was trying to buy a specialty glue his hardware store didn’t want to sell him, then he offered up that he had once used Planicrete W for a home project. The rep suddenly changed his tune. “Oh, hell, take any glue you want.” The problem with W for the weekend shower-stall warrior is that it dries at about 600 words per minute, and the sheet explaining this is 300 words long. From the hardware store perspective, the baby jackhammer that nicely fits into a shower-stall–when wielded by slow-reading weekend warrior–is as dangerous to the operator as a pocket chainsaw at the top of wobbly ladder.)

    In between puck motion and dozer sweeps, I made my way through the tiniest pocket hardcover I’ve ever borrowed: On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt. Coffee-table edition for a rabbit warren, but not a single colour plate to keep a rabbit happy. There’s a nice passage where it teases out humbug from larger deposits, but on the whole it was a disappointment.

    I woke up this morning thinking that lying is prevarication of the objective, whereas bullshit is prevarication of the subjective. Deep! Does the cute red-haired chick really like me? Roommate: Of course she likes you! She’s mad about you. You should go talk to her [in some crowded public space where we are all eagerly gathered to observe the outcome.

    This is perfect, because no-one ever knows what a chick is really thinking anyway (it can’t ever be entirely objective). Half the time she doesn’t really know herself. The other half is covering her bluffs, like any good poker player dubious about the hole cards backing the auction.

  19. nelson88 says:


    Ya. too many egg nog!

    I would love the Finn that sounds like a russian but realistically Monahan (sp?) from the 67′s would be a better target. That kids seems like Couture v2.0

  20. Oiler_Kiwi says:

    Lowetide: Pouliot scored at the Spengler. His Mother and I are very proud, and I am having a scotch. Neat.

    And I’m going to have a Bowmore 12 Year Old malt from Islay. I believe the Pouliot’s detoured via Islay on their way to Montreal.

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