There has been a lot of chatter about how coach Ralph Krueger is using rookie Nail Yakupov. 4th line to 2line, 2nd PP and sometimes his ass is stapled to the bench.
I have no quarrel with the decisions. Why?
It tells us that on at least some level, the Edmonton Oilers are trying to win hockey games. Now, I know it hasn’t reached the point where someone is waking Steve Tambellini up from his post-lunch siesta every day, but we’ll get there.
- Sam Gagner on last night’s PP goal: “We were talking on the bench about getting Yak (Yakupov) the puck there … those are shots he doesn’t miss very often.”
Yakupov’s hammer of the Gods is going to be a powerful tool on the PP and at even strength for years to come, but for now the powerplay is the place for him. Why? Nail’s game is not similar to that of the NHLers beside him, he’s like a Mexican jumping bean out there. Holy hell I don’t know if Hemsky has any trust that Nail will be there once the pass is underway let alone take a predictable path to the puck.
Nail Yakupov’s neurons are firing like a jackhammer every shift, he’s do damn excited to kill the other guy he forgets his musket. He’ll calm down, but I’m fine with the Krueger giving him time to get used to the NHL lights.
TIME ON ICE FOR IMPACT ROOKIES
- Hall TOI per game- EV (15:26); PP (2:43)
- Nuge TOI per game- EV (14:33) PP (3:00)
- Eberle TOI per game- EV (14:27); PP (2:32); PK (0:40)
- Yakupov TOI per game- EV (11:11); PP (2;54)
I don’t think there’s an issue here with Yakupov’s handling. Seems pretty well done.
- Nuge 1.98
- Eberle 1.79
- Hall 1.78
- Yakupov 1.54
Again no issue. This is early days for the Yak, he could easily make that number better as the season rolls along. He is playing for a better team too, so this number should improve as the season wears on.
- Nuge 7.30
- Yakupov 5.98
- Eberle 3.92
- Hall 3.27
Again, solid results for the Russian rookie. You could argue that Krueger should use him more, but that will happen as time rolls along and as noted above his PP time on ice per game ranks with Nuge as a rookie.
Yakupov is not able to play even strength minutes at par, and the coach wants to win hockey games. He also wants the rookie to have success, develop and contribute to winning games.
It looks like Nail’s rookie season is a success so far. Thought?