The level of crazy in Edmonton’s Oiler rumors is as high as the moon these days. From ‘Messer to coach’ to “Yakupov to be dealt” there’s something for all ages. And the truth? The return would have to be so monumental he ain’t goin’ nowhere.
Edmonton is more than a million strong now, but it’s still just a series of small cities and communities. That’s why ‘Oiler rumors’ are so rife, because some of them (really just enough of them) are true to make all of them somewhat compelling. In a way, it’s a currency–if you have an Oiler rumor there’s very few adults who will turn away from the conversation–and of course it’s fun to chat about the town
Among the things I’ve heard over the last couple of years:
- Oilers were seriously considering taking Ryan Murray or Griffin Reinhart number one overall.
- Oilers were seriously considering taking Mitchell Moroz in the second round.
- Oilers were seriously considering trading Nail Yakupov to Ottawa or Philly
- Mike Babcock would be head coach of the Edmonton Oilers
- Mark Messier would be head coach of the Edmonton Oilers
- Craig MacTavish would be GM of the Edmonton Oilers
Those are the ones I can recall without really trying, there’s dozens more if I really put my mind to it. Edmonton is a much bigger city now than the day I arrived, but Oiler rumors are like oxygen in this town: there’s plenty of it and some of it has an odor.
The problem with dealing Yakupov is that the return would have to be so large it would hinder the Senators ability to compete without the players included in the deal. Would Ottawa deal Robin Lehner, Mika Zibanejad and Marc Methot for him? Would Philadelphia include Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds?
Here’s my take: Craig MacTavish is no dummy, and as bad as another season in the lottery may look to him there’s no damn way his ‘legacy trade’ is going to come this early without a 100% chance it’s a home run. If you trade a #1 overall pick as good as Yakupov looks, you better be sure. Absolutely sure.
That said, I think we’re beginning to see the gap between Yakupov’s overall game and the kind of play Taylor Hall brought with him from junior. I have no idea if that’s coaching or comprehension or desire or a combination of all three, but Yakupov right now is a man-child clearly confused and outside his comfort zone. Still, trading him? And be reminded of what you did for the next 15 years when you check ‘league leaders’ on the web? You’d have to be insane unless you’re certain–and the cost of certain will scare other teams away.
The Oilers 5×5 numbers were solid last night (extra skater has them 25-24 5×5 close Corsi, and Dennis King has the scoring chances 26-11 scoring chances, 7-2 on ST), but the loss ends their small winning streak, puts them at 3-7-1 and 26th in the league. They are now last in the western conference and 7 full points out of the last playoff spot.
And they’re on the road again and this time in the west.
Part of the fanbase is going to start lashing out, I read a lot of negative about coach Eakins and Nail Yakupov as well as Justin Schultz last night. For my part, I’m thinking this team has earned another winning streak–even against the west–and we should see some good news between games 12 and 20. If the Oilers are something like 6-12-2 after 20, and the Corsi numbers are hovering around 50%, we may have to actively see out the Hockey Gods for some intervention.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Today at 10, TSN 1260. Lots to talk about:
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. We’ll talk about head shots, Olympics and rookies.
- Sarah McLellan, Arizona Republic. We’ll talk about the Coyotes solid start, the tough loss last night and the Oilers-Coyotes game tomorrow.
- Corey Pronman, ESPN and Hockey Prospectus. We’ll talk about the quality of the 2014 draft, impressive rookies this season and drafting goalies.
- Andreas Morse, FC Edmonton. Eddies fought the Cosmos to a 1-1 draw last weekend, and are home for the final time this season on Sunday against the Rowdies.
- Jungle Jim Hunter. We’ll talk about the Olympics and the importance of peaking inside the Sochi window.
10-1260 via text, or @Lowetide_ on twitter. Friday! It’ll be fun!