OPEN SEASON ON OUR RUSSIAN

Darren Dreger used some pretty strong words last week in regard to Yak City, and the hits just keep coming today. This time, Hall of Fame writer Jim Matheson picked up his musket (well, Smith-Corona) and commenced to chopping down that wonderful tree from Nizhnekamsk.

THE MATHESON RAP!

  • Do they work with him and take several steps back, consider him just a project like any other draft pick — not the first name called — and hope he finds some hockey sense to go with his hockey skill?
  • Or do they seriously investigate trading a 20-year-old with 111 games on his NHL resume?
  • Or do the Oilers suck it up with Yakupov and admit he’s nowhere near two other former first overall picks, John Tavares and Steve Stamkos, who had growing pains as rookies but got significantly better. In Stamkos’s case, way better in Year 2.
  • Yakupov has a heckuva shot, he has a flare for the dramatic, he wants the puck, but will he ever get the requisite hockey savvy? I remember asking Scotty Bowman once what he looked for in a player: He liked skill, but he definitely had hockey sense and character high up in his priorities.
  • Here’s the book on Yakupov: Blistering wrist shot, but not an easy player to play with. Quick, not really a give-and-go player; there’s not a lot of subtlety to his game.

NAIL YAKUPOV PLAYER CARD (EXTRA SKATER)

NAIL YAKUPOV ESThis is not a hopeless scenario. Yakupov’s boxcars are off, but look at the shooting percentage! 21% is a monster, and of course 9% is too harsh. If Yakupov was sitting at 15% shooting percentage, he would be on the verge of 20 goals (18) and Matty wouldn’t be worrying over him.

BTN NUMBERS

  • 5×5/60 12-13: 2.20
  • 5×5/60 13-14: 1.49
  • 5×4/60 12-13: 4.20
  • 5×4/60 13-14: 2.72
  • Corsi On 12-13: -15.22
  • Corsi On 13-14: -11.93
  • Corsi Rel 12-13:  -5.1
  • Corsi Rel 13-14: +0.6

The BTN tells us he’s well off the pace offensively, a lot of at-bats this year are groundouts and nothing rhymes. There is some good news in the shot differential, but we know it’s a process and he’s miles from being a push player at evens.

We can say with authority that Nail Yakupov has not been quick to learn the NHL game as it pertains to play away from the puck, and that makes him not at all unusual among young forwards. He does not score well in a direct comparison to Hall or Nuge at the same age, but he also has some things those two do not possess in his arsenal. I worry about his agent, about his foot speed and about his aptitude. The Oilers may need to be a little extra patient with him.

There are worse things to observe in a prospect. Indifference, laziness, lollygagging. I would suggest time and time and time is needed, and patience and patience and patience is necessary.

I know this much: the Edmonton Oilers drafted Nail Yakupov. His future is in their hands. If the situation is as Matty presents, then trading Yakupov may be under consideration. History teaches that giving up on #1 overall picks 20 months after you drafted them means there has been an incredible fracture in the relationship and massively lowered expectations as a result.

I cannot believe we’ve arrived at that place today.

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109 Responses to "OPEN SEASON ON OUR RUSSIAN"

  1. TheseColoursDontRun says:

    Screw Jim Matheson, sure he’s a hall of famer but Gretzky seemed to make a hall of famer out of lots of people. Someone his age should know better than to cut down a 20 year old kid who wasn’t even born in the country and wasn’t totally groomed in canadian hockey culture. Sorry to rant but Matty’s article stinks.

    JMO

  2. VanOil says:

    Facts on the Yak:

    1. S% explains his lack of goals. A 20 goal scorer in his first FULL year in the NHL is not a bad thing

    2. +/- is a bullshit stat and in Yaks case an incredibly low on ice SV% brings it way down.

    3. Greger is a gossip monger who knows little about the game.

    4. Matty is a bitter old man who can’t kick Hemsky anymore.

  3. Jon K says:

    “I cannot believe we’ve arrived at that place today.”

    I cannot believe it took this long for the designation of a team goat this season. Maybe it’s not a fair analysis because Dubnyk arguably was the goat, so there was a delay while the team figured who to single out next. Once that was done we get the usual MSM fellows buttering up the fan base for the departure of the aforementioned goat. Matty gets fed the new target, warms up the fanbase, Yak is gone in the offseason. We get sold more hope in the offseason, season tickets get renewed, and away 2014-2015 goes. Yay.

    This is a bad team. It’s been a bad team for many years. It will remain a bad team so long as the decisions at the top are being made by the same group. Additionally, we are slowly but surely we are starting to see that Katz is not the transformative, enlightened owner for whom we had all hoped. The Sports Illustrated article got more right than it got wrong. That should concern us more than anything.

  4. fifthcartel says:

    I think this is important to consider as well -

    “23. About any potential Nail Yakupov trade: What does Oilers owner Daryl Katz think? It’s believed he was the driving force behind the decision to draft Yakupov ahead of Ryan Murray. When things looked bleak earlier this season, there were rumours Katz wasn’t thrilled about trading him.”

    From Friedman’s 30 thoughts, and hopefully this means Katz is not in favour of any Yakupov trade barring a sizeable return.

  5. admiralmark says:

    I think 2 things are definitely going to happen with this player. 1) He is not going to be traded at the very least until next years trade deadline. and 2) He will be given the time between now and then on the 1st or 2nd line. The reason is simple.. His value is too low to trade him right now. Now i’m gonna go out on a limb and say one way or another the entire Oiler team is going to be better. The goaltending will be better, he Defense will be improved(MacT has no choice here), and something has to happen to the top 6 mix. If all these things happen Yak will improve as well. There may very well come a day when he is traded. I just don’t see it anytime soon.

  6. DeadmanWaking says:

    MacT and Eakins share a common personality trait: they’re strong-minded individuals. They give a shit about optics, but only when the games still mean something. If RNH needs an adjustment period to cope with his extra nine pounds, better now than next October, to hell with what Craig Button says today.

    There are some people who are inherently optics-captured. These people always play to the camera, no matter what the count. Some of these people are Tortorella on the outside, Princess Di on the inside.

    Pundits tend to reward the personality type who is optics-captured. It makes the pundit feel more important. The pundit can write deep opinion pieces about whether Eakins’ most recent move is cutting the mustard in March of a season that hopped the curb back in November, and hasn’t seen asphalt since.

    But only if Eakins is optics-captured. Of course, the pundit will write that his failure to become optics-captured is yet another indication that Eakins isn’t cutting the mustard.

    Problem: Eakins reports to MacT. MacT isn’t optics-captured. Okay then, MacT is the problem.

    Problem: MacT reports to Batman. Batman isn’t optics-captured, either, not even down to the smallest Seattle-junket cancelling smidgeon. Okay then, Batman is the problem.

    Problem: Batman has a billion bucks. Fuck you.

    Arrogance is no simple street. George S. Patton was arrogant, to name just one arrogant bastard who got the job done. Arrogance can also be a lonely, black tower of perpetual dysfunction.

    Arrogance isn’t even a stable function. The same arrogant bastard who gets the job done in one situation can become Captain Dysfunction at the first sea change. Schindler was a failed businessman before the war, brilliant during the war, and again a failed businessman after the war. Steve Jobs sucked at selling anything larger than a loaf of bread, but eventually he became the black turtleneck Tsar of miniature world–not until after he nearly ran a once glorious legacy of the 1980s into the ground.

    In a speech Jobs gave at Stanford University in 2005, he said being fired from Apple was the best thing that could have happened to him; “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” And he added, “I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful-tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.”

    The Buttons of Wall Street were all patting Sculley on the back when this went down.

    It’s completely vapid to parse the tea leaves on our arrogant troika until the puck drops again on meaningful games. Coming soon to the last gasp of an old barn near you.

  7. misfit says:

    Since when does Yakupov lack hockey sense?

    Also…

    Rick Nash’s first 2 NHL seasons:
    02/03: -27 (5th worst in the NHL and 2 off the green jacket)
    03/04: -35 (4th worst in the NHL and worst among non-Penguins)

    Other players to hold the NHL’s worst +/- (or at lease bottom 3):

    Joffrey Lupul
    RJ Umberger
    Mark Recchi
    Dan Boyle
    Brad Richards
    Rod Brind’Amour (twice)
    Erik Karlsson
    Jay Bouwmeester
    Zdeno Chara
    Jeff Skinner

  8. Woodguy says:

    My series of tweets to Matty.

    Woodguy ‏@Woodguy55 7h
    @NHLbyMatty Now that Hemsky is gone, turning your site on Yak eh? St. Matty trying to rid Edmonton of enigmatic Euros?

    Woodguy ‏@Woodguy55 7h
    @NHLbyMatty Why didn’t you compare RNH’s totals with Tavares, Stamkos and McKinnon? They all actually play center. Because he’s Canadian?

    Woodguy ‏@Woodguy55 7h
    @NHLbyMatty Seriously Matty. If you write that about Yak, you have to write it about RNH.

    Matty actually put a (rhetorical) question by Tyler into this latest “Ask Matty” column:

    Q: I wonder if @NHLbyMatty has noticed what the last guy he spent three years pining to get out of town has done since he left?

    (Tyler Dellow (@mc79hockey))

    Matty then defends himself, but not well.

    Matty puts this in there:

    I’m also getting the same snarky emails from readers about me wishing Nail Yakupov was gone. I don’t wish that. I do think it’s up to Nail and/or the coaching staff to get considerably more hockey sense to go with his skill-set so he becomes a trusted, productive NHL player.

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/search/Matty+Ales+Hemsky+leading+scorer+among+players+traded+deadline/9628131/story.html

    I think Matty is full of shit.

    RNH is way off the mark and not a word about him is written.

    Matty spends a ton of ink comparing WINGER Yak to CENTERS Tavares, Stamkos, but you`ll never, ever see him actually compare RNH to those players.

    The MSM in this city creates such awful narratives, and everyone picks up on them.

    Between Matty, Spector, Rishaug, Dave Jaimeson (has been awful on Yak), and the morning 1260 idiots they want every Fraser, Greene, knuckle dragger, etc and never a Euro to be had.

    Its not just Euro`s though.

    Matty used to (incorrectly) state Horcoff salary every time he`d mention him.

    `$7Million Center Shawn Horcoff won 8 faceoffs last night`

    Why doesn`t Matty write $6MM man Eberle only has 5 points in his last 13 games.

    You`ll never see it until he gets an axe to grind with Eberle, then watch out!

    Asshole.

  9. Marc says:

    This is a carryover from the last thread, but I promise I’ll follow it with a comment that links it to Yak.

    It’s time for a little reality check on Eberle.

    He is a proven top line winger – one of the 15 best RW in the league. He’s currently 12th in RW scoring. Last year he was 10th. The year before 6th. And he’s only just entering the stage where NHL forwards tend to hit their scoring peak. He’s not perfect – he’s poor defensively, but he’s also only 23 and has played his whole career on a shitty team, so it’s not like it’s set in stone that he’ll be poor defensively for the rest of his career. And he is on a long term contract that is probably fair value to slight overpay now, but likely to be good to excellent value as the years pass.

    This is a valuable player. So valuable that some are proposing to trade him to fill holes that the Oilers have at C and 1/2D.

    Top line wingers do get traded from time to time (unlike top line centers or top pairing D, who almost never do) so we can see what kind of return a top line winger is likely to bring based on what they have actually brought in the past. I’ve come up with the following such trades on a cursory search of the interwebs (feel free to add any I’ve overlooked):

    Ryan for Silfverberg, Noesen and a first-round pick
    Kessel for two first round picks and a second-round pick
    St Louis for Callahan, a first-round pick, and a conditional second-round pick
    Hossa and De Vries for Heatley
    Heatley for Michálek, Cheechoo and a second-round pick
    Havlat for Heatley
    Nash for Anisimov, Dubinsky, Erixon and a first round pick
    Gaborik for Brassard, Dorsett, Moore and a sixth-round pick
    Van Riemsdyk for L Schenn
    Penner for Teubert, a first round pick, conditional third round pick

    So what can we conclude from that list? Best case scenario – the Oilers get another winger for Eberle. Likely scenario – Eberle will fetch at best, a collection of lesser players, decent prospects and picks.

    The idea that Eberle will fetch Couturier or Erhoff is delusional. None of Heatley, Hossa, Gaborik, Ryan or Kessel (all of whom had more of a track record than Eberle has now) ever fetched a top four D or a top 2 C in a trade. The only one of the trades listed above that included the kind of player that people have been speculating we could get for Eberle is Rick Nash, who got Dubinsky. And Nash was a high draft pick who had a few seasons as one of the 5 best LW in the league under his belt.

    Anyone who thinks we should trade Eberle is either:
    a. accepting that we will accept $0.10 on the dollar; or
    b. hoping for a unicorn.

    Eberle is much more valuable to the Oilers than any return we can reasonably expect for him. He isn’t perfect, but he is very good. The Oilers would fools to trade him, because they are almost certain to lose that trade.

  10. 36 percent body fat says:

    Has anyone reminded Matheson that if Yak gets 44 points next season he is ahead of Eberle in his career development.

  11. RexLibris says:

    Some things on Yakupov.

    I think I remember reading or hearing about Larionov finding him as a player when he was about 15 years old – please, LT-ers, correct me if I’m wrong – and he was suitably impressed with his skill. Obviously the agent played a part in convincing Nail to play junior in North America in an attempt to innoculate his career against the “Russian Factor”.

    Now, if Yakupov was largely working off of skill and hard work until that age, then how much of a finished product could he have been by the time he was drafted? Three years?

    I think that what we are seeing out of Yakupov today is the result of some of this late arrival to what we would consider “cultivated game management”. Perhaps up until he went to Sarnia, and maybe even there, the sum total of his hockey coaching had been “get the puck and make something happen”.

    I see in Yakupov some of the same learning curves experienced by Hall and, perhaps mistakenly, attribute them to a young player who has accomplished a great deal on sheer skill and appears to struggle when more direct coaching schemes are applied in order to overcome the high level of play at the NHL level.

    We all love Yakupov’s spontaneity and enthusiasm (Don Cherry aside), and perhaps these traits exist as they are in part due to his nature as well as the fact that it hadn’t been coached out of him by persistent handling from the age of 8.

    He has come out of a different system and is adapting not only to a North American professional level of play but perhaps is also facing direct and detailed coaching for the first time in his career.

    What he needs most, in my opinion, is the devotion of time from an assistant coach and a player mentor to help him adapt.

  12. cc says:

    I don’t buy that he will be traded, I don’t see MacT as selling this low on a guy. I think that Dreger and Matheson are trying to make news when there is nothing there. Perhaps you are going to trade him for another struggling young player; Huberdeau or Adam Larsson, But I can’t see them giving up on the Russian experiment this early, especially with Sleppy & Yakimov in the pipeline.

    I think that it is more important to try and insulate Yakupov with mentoring player(s). Like the Penguins did with a brash young rookie in 1991 when they acquired Jiri Hrdina. Go out and acquire Nik Kulemin to play on Yakupov’s wing.

  13. Melman says:

    TheseColoursDontRun,

    I’m with you on this. Ever since Tambo froze him out and he lost his insider knowledge he’s been throwing poop against the wall until something sticks. He comes up with conjecture to fill space it seems. I mean how much newsprint mileage did he get from cherry picking reader questions “Matty, do you think Hemsky will get traded?” EVERYONE knew that Hemsky was getting traded – being correct on what was arguably the most obvious coming trade in the NHL is decidedly unimpressive. I’d like to think a “HOF writer” could lay off a 20 yr. old instead of piling on.

  14. sliderule says:

    It concerns me when Matheson writes about Yaks hockey sense and being hard to play with.

    It concerns me when Hall says that RK liked the little euro and by inference the new/old bunch without RK do not like him.

    It concerns me when coaches ,assistant coaches ,scouts ,general managers and presidents talk too much about things that should be in house.

    It concerns me because I heard similar stories about Cogliano and MPS not being man enough and you know what happened to them.

    It concerns me that Mact hasn’t put a lid on this and spoken in support of Yak

  15. 36 percent body fat says:

    Marc,

    Eberle for Ryan Johansson would be great, and is not delusional. Big second line center with defence capabilities. two things eberle does not have.

  16. Marc says:

    I would add that one of the consequences of trading Eberle would be penciling in Yak and ???? as our top two RW next season. Does a team that hopes to end a playoff drought really want to do that?

    As LT says, Yak needs patience. Depending on him to carry the team at RW next season is most definitely not the way to do that.

  17. danieldelair says:

    I feel like Matty doesn’t understand (or doesn’t want to understand) the impact of his flippancy in these kind of situations. There’s really no reason to run an article like this, besides a lack of ideas.

    Also, it strikes me that Yak is doing pretty well this year, -330685 not withstanding. His GF% is way down but his CF% is up, at least marginally, to probably around the same area as the Oilers as a team. So, is Yak going to get traded for a stat that even MSM doesn’t tend to validate these days? Can we just trade him for Ovi in that case?

  18. oliveoilers says:

    DeadmanWaking:
    MacT and Eakins share a common personality trait: they’re strong-minded individuals.They give a shit about optics, but only when the games still mean something. If RNH needs an adjustment period to cope with his extra nine pounds, better now than next October, to hell with what Craig Button says today.

    There are some people who are inherently optics-captured.These people always play to the camera, no matter what the count.Some of these people are Tortorella on the outside, Princess Di on the inside.

    Pundits tend to reward the personality type who is optics-captured.It makes the pundit feel more important.The pundit can write deep opinion pieces about whether Eakins’ most recent move is cutting the mustard in March of a season that hopped the curb back in November, and hasn’t seen asphalt since.

    But only if Eakins is optics-captured.Of course, the pundit will write that his failure to become optics-captured is yet another indication that Eakins isn’t cutting the mustard.

    Problem: Eakins reports to MacT.MacT isn’t optics-captured.Okay then, MacT is the problem.

    Problem: MacT reports to Batman.Batman isn’t optics-captured, either, not even down to the smallest Seattle-junket cancelling smidgeon. Okay then, Batman is the problem.

    Problem: Batman has a billion bucks.Fuck you.

    Arrogance is no simple street.George S. Patton was arrogant, to name just one arrogant bastard who got the job done.Arrogance can also be a lonely, black tower of perpetual dysfunction.

    Arrogance isn’t even a stable function.The same arrogant bastard who gets the job done in one situation can become Captain Dysfunction at the first sea change.Schindler was a failed businessman before the war, brilliant during the war, and again a failed businessman after the war.Steve Jobs sucked at selling anything larger than a loaf of bread, but eventually he became the black turtleneck Tsar of miniature world–not until after he nearly ran a onceglorious legacy of the 1980s into the ground.

    The Buttons of Wall Street were all patting Sculley on the back when this went down.

    It’s completely vapid to parse the tea leaves on our arrogant troika until the puck drops again on meaningful games.Coming soon to the last gasp of an old barn near you.

    MacT is not optics-captured. See Krueger, Ralph, firing of. Also Jobs’ quote was given from the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and a shit load of money. Still the same speech if he was a bum drinking methanol and O.J in the YMCA?

  19. Ryan says:

    Good Gord Lowetide!!!

    Who broke the news of the Oilers desire to trade Yakupov before Matty and Dreger right here at this very blog?

    :)

  20. Woodguy says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    The same arrogant bastard who gets the job done in one situation can become Captain Dysfunction at the first sea change

    Churchill tips his hat and drink in your direction.

  21. Woodguy says:

    sliderule:
    It concerns me when Matheson writes about Yaks hockey sense and being hard to play with.

    It concerns mewhen Hall says that RK liked the little euro and by inference the new/old bunch without RKdo not like him.

    It concerns me when coaches ,assistant coaches ,scouts ,general managers and presidents talk too much about things that should be in house.

    It concerns me because I heard similar stories about Cogliano and MPS not being man enough and you know what happened to them.

    It concerns me that Mact hasn’t put a lid on this and spoken in support of Yak

    I agree with all of that.

  22. Woodguy says:

    Marc,

    So what can we conclude from that list? Best case scenario – the Oilers get another winger for Eberle. Likely scenario – Eberle will fetch at best, a collection of lesser players, decent prospects and picks.

    Perhaps you don’t know who the people are on that list or where they were in their career arc at the time of trade or their contract status.

    To state that Eberle wouldn’t fetch Couturier after showing this list is weird.

    This list proves he could get either of those two and maybe more.

  23. Woodguy says:

    Nash for Anisimov, Dubinsky, Erixon and a first round pick

    Anisimov is a center
    Dubinsky is a center
    (2 centers I’d love to see on the Oilers btw)
    Erixon is a young Dman
    1st round pick.

    But Eberle can’t fetch Couturier eh?

  24. Lowetide says:

    sliderule:
    It concerns me when Matheson writes about Yaks hockey sense and being hard to play with.

    It concerns mewhen Hall says that RK liked the little euro and by inference the new/old bunch without RKdo not like him.

    It concerns me when coaches ,assistant coaches ,scouts ,general managers and presidents talk too much about things that should be in house.

    It concerns me because I heard similar stories about Cogliano and MPS not being man enough and you know what happened to them.

    It concerns me that Mact hasn’t put a lid on this and spoken in support of Yak

    Yes. Curious all.

  25. Marc says:

    36 percent body fat:
    Marc,

    Eberle for Ryan Johansson would be great, and is not delusional. Big second line center with defence capabilities.two things eberle does not have.

    Why would Columbus trade a a good, young, big first line center who is also their team’s leading scorer for a winger?

  26. Ryan says:

    Woodguy,

    Well ya, Eberle is only 23. I think trading Eberle gets you more than a bag of pucks too–so agree with WG here.

    Hockey trades do still happen.

    Setoguchi for Burns (who was a top 4 d at the time).

    Seguin for Eriksson (winger who was drafted in the second round for a number 2 ov)

  27. jp says:

    RexLibris:
    Some things on Yakupov.

    I think I remember reading or hearing about Larionov finding him as a player when he was about 15 years old – please, LT-ers, correct me if I’m wrong – and he was suitably impressed with his skill. Obviously the agent played a part in convincing Nail to play junior in North America in an attempt to innoculate his career against the “Russian Factor”.

    Now, if Yakupov was largely working off of skill and hard work until that age, then how much of a finished product could he have been by the time he was drafted? Three years?

    I think that what we are seeing out of Yakupov today is the result of some of this late arrival to what we would consider “cultivated game management”. Perhaps up until he went to Sarnia, and maybe even there, the sum total of his hockey coaching had been “get the puck and make something happen”.

    I see in Yakupov some of the same learning curves experienced by Hall and, perhaps mistakenly, attribute them to a young player who has accomplished a great deal on sheer skill and appears to struggle when more direct coaching schemes are applied in order to overcome the high level of play at the NHL level.

    We all love Yakupov’s spontaneity and enthusiasm (Don Cherry aside), and perhaps these traits exist as they are in part due to his nature as well as the fact that it hadn’t been coached out of him by persistent handling from the age of 8.

    He has come out of a different system and is adapting not only to a North American professional level of play but perhaps is also facing direct and detailed coaching for the first time in his career.

    What he needs most, in my opinion, is the devotion of time from an assistant coach and a player mentor to help him adapt.

    There has definitely been talk that Yakupov was allowed to run free in Sarnia too (sorry, don’t have the source, but I’m sure some others will remember). But yeah, as LT said, patience is needed here.

  28. Younger Oil says:

    This may be a massive reach, but could Eberle+Musil/Gernat/Simpson (if he won’t sign) bring back Josi and Wilson from the Predators? They definitely need a RW and have tons of D depth.

  29. Ryan says:

    jp: There has definitely been talk that Yakupov was allowed to run free in Sarnia too (sorry, don’t have the source, but I’m sure some others will remember). But yeah, as LT said, patience is needed here.

    I agree that patience is needed, but I also think with Yakupov one of these things is not like the others relative to # 1 ov’s.

    Take a look back for yourself…. Is Yakupov the first swing and a miss since Stefan? I’m not saying he is, but it’s within the realm of possibility.

  30. VanOil says:

    Woodguy:

    But Eberle can’t fetch Couturier eh?

    I think either Eberle and Yakupov could fetch fantastic returns. But why pay such a high price? Unless the Oilers climb out of the top 4 picks a 2nd or even 1st line Center of the future is available for free. Discounting the suffering this Oilers team has put us through as fans the only cost I could see is suffering through 2 more years of a sub-par but not horrible Gagner as the rookie develops.

    The Defense can be fixed this summer by trading the 2015 1st round pick for Kulikov and signing a UFA like Fayne. Adding those two would give the Oilers a respectable if not world beating defense. A respectable defense would be a godsend after the last few years. Given time one of Schultz, Marincin, Nurse, Klefbom, Simpson or Gernat might exceed expectations and become a world beater lifting the whole squad. Mind you I don’t know if i would entrust a respectable defense to Steve Smith.

  31. frjohnk says:

    I don’t know if Yak has been put on the block, but really what is his value, or put another way what would other teams give up for him right now?
    A second pairing Dman?
    A mid 6 forward?

    Yeah, we can talk about “potential”, and this kid could score 40 one day, but he could also be in Russia in two years at the other end of the spectrum if the oilers jerk around this kids development.

    I also think the KHL factor ( warrented or not) would definitely be a sticking point for any potential trading partner for the oilers with Yak. I think this would drive his value lower.

    Putting him on the block, would seem like desperation and panic. And this would definitely push back the rebuild.

    So I hope they keep the kid, be patient with him, and work hard with him to succeed. And with his work ethic and the right development, it could work out fine for this kid.

  32. russ99 says:

    Anyone who says Yak has no hockey sense hasn’t been watching Oilers games lately.

    Besides, this shouldn’t be about where Yak is currently in his development as a hockey player, it should be how he was hung out to dry by the absolutely worst possible coach an enigmatic offensive player could have in his vital second NHL year of adjustment – one that all players go through. Even Renney sheltered Hall and Eberle, picked spots and didn’t try to reinvent how they play the game.

    Especially seeing how well he did under a coach that understood him and knew how to best utilize him last season. Sure, Oilers, just trade this kid (alienating what’s left of your fanbase) when his value is at an all-time low, just to see him turn the corner with a coach not shoving his philosophy down every players’ throat.

    We’re all still waiting on that “get to know each player and what makes them tick” line you fed us in training camp, Dallas…

  33. book¡je says:

    Woodguy: I agree with all of that.

    Ditto – we should start coordinated twitter-bombing these guys when they start spinning these narratives.

  34. Marc says:

    Woodguy,

    Gotta go to bed now, but will try to respond more in the morning.

    Basically I think the lack of examples of young top line wingers being traded at all indicates that GM’s aren’t willing to trade the kind of players ie. young good centers, established top pairing D, that would make such a deal worthwhile for the team with the winger, so the team with the winger ends up keeping them.

    I’m willing to be convinced otherwise though. Can you find any examples that show GMs trading a player like Couturier or Erhoff for a player like Eberle?

  35. Ducey says:

    When they put you in the Hall of Fame, you should be smart enough to walk into the sunset before they decide to change their minds.

    Yak:

    2012-13 48 games 17 14 31
    2013-14 63 games 11 13 24

    Huberdeau (the Calder trophy winner):

    2012-13 48 games 14 17 31
    2013-14 66 games 8 19 27

    Both have taken a step back. The difference between them is 3 pts in 3 more games. That likely would be made up had Yak not gotten a bunch of tough love early in the year.

    Is anybody talking about Huberdeau as a bust/ tradebait?

  36. delooper says:

    Younger Oil:
    This may be a massive reach, but could Eberle+Musil/Gernat/Simpson (if he won’t sign) bring back Josi and Wilson from the Predators? They definitely need a RW and have tons of D depth.

    Tons of good D prospects isn’t quite the same of tons of D depth. LA and Chicago have D depth. The oilers have a thin film of D, with many good prospects.

  37. Woodguy says:

    Marc:
    Woodguy,

    Gotta go to bed now, but will try to respond more in the morning.

    Basically I think the lack of examples of young top line wingers being traded at all indicates that GM’s aren’t willing to trade the kind of players ie. young good centers, established top pairing D, that would make such a deal worthwhile for the team with the winger, so the team with the winger ends up keeping them.

    I’m willing to be convinced otherwise though. Can you find any examples that show GMs trading a player like Couturier or Erhoff for a player like Eberle?

    Your examples are full of players who were near the top of the heap when traded.

    As good as Couturier is, he’s not in that category.

  38. The Great One says:

    Ducey:
    When they put you in the Hall of Fame, you should be smart enough to walk into the sunset before they decide to change their minds.

    Yak:

    2012-13 48 games 17 14 31
    2013-14 63 games 11 13 24

    Huberdeau (the Calder trophy winner):

    2012-13 48 games 14 17 31
    2013-14 66 games 8 19 27

    Both have taken a step back.The difference between them is 3 pts in 3 more games.That likely would be made up had Yak not gotten a bunch of tough love early in the year.

    Is anybody talking about Huberdeau as a bust/ tradebait?

    Huberdeau wasn’t selected 1st overall.

    The expectations are different.

  39. Lowetide says:

    Ryan: I agree that patience is needed, but I also think with Yakupov one of these things is not like the others relative to # 1 ov’s.

    Take a look back for yourself…. Is Yakupov the first swing and a miss since Stefan?I’m not saying he is, but it’s within the realm of possibility.

    Johnson in St. Louis was a far bigger whiff than Yakupov will ever be imo.

  40. The Great One says:

    Lowetide: Johnson in St. Louis was a far bigger whiff than Yakupov will ever be imo.

    Erik Johnson is leading the Av’s D in TOI/g at 22:51.

    He’s playing the toughest competition and coming out ahead.

    http://www.behindthenet.ca/nhl_statistics.php?ds=20&f1=2013_s&f2=5v5&f4=D&f5=COL&c=0+1+3+5+4+6+7+8+29+30+32+33+34+45+46+63+67+11+12+13+14+15+16+17+18+19+20#

    He’s also managed to post 8G 25A 33P +7.

    That’s no “whiff”.

    That’s a bonafide top pairing D in the NHL.

    It took awhile but defensemen often do,

  41. anonymous says:

    Anything from the eastern media about Yakupov is b.s. they don’t watch, I have heard Dreger, Cox and others comment on Yak and the first thing they say is LAZY. That’s all I need to hear. They’re idiots who have to have an opinion on everything.

    Eakins is the only problem Yak has, any other team with a number one overall works with the player. I don’t see this. Probably a lot of it has to do with the Larionov visit earlier in the season. I’m sure Eakins took that as a challenge and let his ego take over. I wouldn’t doubt a lot of that had to do with Yak’s dad and the fact that Yak represents a very big client to an agent relatively new to the business.

  42. Simmer24 says:

    LT, it is as you always say . . . “Get good players, keep good players”.

    I think we are focusing far to much on outcome for this young player right now and not on the process. No player is the same in their development curve, but as a coach, if you can focus on the process with the player, you start to see glimpses of hope in their development. I am a believer in Nail and feel he will arrive. I only hope it is as an Oiler. I even look at his willingness to support his teammates in recent games as a small sample size to a kid turning the corner. If we were to start hearing about him as a distraction in the dressing room (and not about his agent), then I would be more concerned.

  43. steveb12344 says:

    Ryan: I agree that patience is needed, but I also think with Yakupov one of these things is not like the others relative to # 1 ov’s.

    Take a look back for yourself…. Is Yakupov the first swing and a miss since Stefan?I’m not saying he is, but it’s within the realm of possibility.

    Ever hear of “The sophomore slump”

    It’s a real thing, and it happens.

    Yak needs another year at least before you can even think about writing him off like that.

    Galchenyuk: 12G 15A 27P -11

    Yak: 11G 13A 24P -33

    Yak’s not the only Russian top 3 pick from his draft class to have been struggling a bit in his second year.

    Yak has played 9 more games than Gally, but Gally’s been pretty much a fixture on Mtl’s scoring lines, while Yak has had to crawl through quite a bit of sewer with only recently seeing the bright sunshine of the top 6.

  44. steveb12344 says:

    The Great One: Erik Johnson is leading the Av’s D in TOI/g at 22:51.

    He’s playing the toughest competition and coming out ahead.

    http://www.behindthenet.ca/nhl_statistics.php?ds=20&f1=2013_s&f2=5v5&f4=D&f5=COL&c=0+1+3+5+4+6+7+8+29+30+32+33+34+45+46+63+67+11+12+13+14+15+16+17+18+19+20#

    He’s also managed to post 8G 25A 33P +7.

    That’s no “whiff”.

    That’s a bonafide top pairing D in the NHL.

    It took awhile but defensemen often do,

    As a first overall pick, I’d say the expectations are higher. Wouldn’t you?

  45. Ryan says:

    Lowetide: Johnson in St. Louis was a far bigger whiff than Yakupov will ever be imo.

    I forgot to qualify with forwards drafted #1 ov, sorry.

  46. The Great One says:

    steveb12344: As a first overall pick, the expectations are higher.

    Higher than a #1D on a playoff team?

    Basically tied with Drew Doughty in scoring?

    While having a HUGE bubble in the upper left quadrant?

    http://www.extraskater.com/team/colorado-avalanche/2013

    Pray tell, what is higher?

  47. Woodguy says:

    steveb12344: As a first overall pick, the expectations are higher.

    Boom!

  48. The Great One says:

    Woodguy: Boom!

    Bust!

    :)

  49. Ryan says:

    steveb12344: Ever hear of “The sophomore slump”

    It’s a real thing, and it happens.

    Yak needs another year at least before you can even think about writing him off like that.

    Galchenyuk:12G 15A 27P -11

    Yak:11G 13A 24P -33

    Yak’s not the only Russian top 3 pick from his draft class to have been struggling a bit in his second year.

    Yak has played 9 more games than Gally, but Gally’s been pretty much a fixture on Mtl’s scoring lines, while Yak has had to crawl through quite a bit of sewer with only recently seeing the bright sunshine of the top 6.

    I’m not writing him off, but look at the comparables: of forwards drafted number 1 ov:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_first_overall_NHL_draft_picks

  50. steveb12344 says:

    Ryan: I’m not writing him off, but look at the comparables: of forwards drafted number 1 ov:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_first_overall_NHL_draft_picks

    You may indeed be right, but my point is that it’s still too early to tell.

    Other than Mckinnon, everyone on that list is older than Yak and have had more time to establish himself.

  51. digdeepnbleedblue says:

    Trade Yakupov? Not in my imaginary world.

    There’s skill here. Not sure where this lack of skill theory comes from. There’s defence too. Right now it’s just a bunch of wires, nuts and bolts strewn on the floor. Somebody needs to pick up the instructions.

    I fucking hate Ikea instructions….

    Kid’s got a pocket rocket! He’s got a set too. It shows when he gets his nose dirty. I see a fuck of a lot of upside here. Be a damn shame to trade this cat. Damn shame.

    One would hope the better angle is the org. is looking at other players to trade. Eberle and Gagner have less possibilities and come attached with a lot less grit. That’s where I start.

    Maybe there’s some kind of fracture here. My response? Suck it up ladies!

    We ALL want skill that can muck it up. A “coke machine” with a forty pounder in it. Well, this is the cat.

    Of course, it really depends on the return…

  52. stevezie says:

    I think TGO one is completely right on the Johnson front. He is for sure a good NHLer on one team, and the team that drafted him got Shattenkirk and Stewart out of it. That’s no whiff.

    I believe Yak can beat this, but he hasn’t yet.

    Unless you meant in comparison to who was taken after him, which case Johnson is a bigger whiff than Stefan (who came out of the worst 1st round in recent history). In that case, it’s too early to call Nail’s draft year, but he doesn’t go first in a redraft.

    (Who does? Trouba? Hertle? Lindholm? Nah, way too soon to call.)

  53. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The Great One: Higher than a #1D on a playoff team?

    Basically tied with Drew Doughty in scoring?

    While having a HUGE bubble in the upper left quadrant?

    http://www.extraskater.com/team/colorado-avalanche/2013

    Pray tell, what is higher?

    “What is, having a big BLUE bubble?”

    “I’ll take goalie facts from the same draft year, Alex.”

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/draftsearch.htm?year=2006&team=&position=G&round=1

    4 gs in the first round. is that a record?

  54. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    meanwhile. Van down 4-1 with 10 to go in the 3rd.

    Now for them to go on a late season run to get them right to the edge of the playoffs and secure that worst possible position.

  55. The Great One says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: “What is, having a big BLUE bubble?”

    “I’ll take goalie facts from the same draft year, Alex.”

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/draftsearch.htm?year=2006&team=&position=G&round=1

    4 gs in the first round. is that a record?

    I think I’ve been pretty clear that I would NEVER draft a D in the top 10 unless he was a guaranteed impact #1D right out of the chute.

    But calling Johnson a whiff is just wrong.

    He isn’t

    He would be the Oilers best defenseman by a wide margin at this point.

    BTW, no one on the Av’s has a blue bubble and I’m pretty sure ranking D by Corsi or Fenwick is about as useful as a rocking chair….gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.

  56. steveb12344 says:

    Did you guys watch the practice-raw today?

    http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=4&id=579220&lang=en

    Some pretty positive verbal today. Nice to hear for a change.

    Hendricks is a beauty, and anyone who can’t see how much of a positive influence he’s been on the group just doesn’t want to see it. He’s full value for the letter Big D pinned to his chest.

  57. Lowetide says:

    It’s about Katz, but don’t tell him.

    http://www.puckrant.com/slapshot/INTERFERENCE

  58. The Great One says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    meanwhile. Van down 4-1 with 10 to go in the 3rd.

    Now for them to go on a late season run to get them right to the edge of the playoffs and secure that worst possible position.

    Based on their schedule, I think the Canucks will be picking 6th or 7th overall…pending the lottery.

  59. Woodguy says:

    book¡je: Ditto – we should start coordinated twitter-bombing these guys when they start spinning these narratives.

    We do.

    You on twitter yet?

  60. G Money says:

    Yak is a shooter. In order to shoot, you have to get into the offensive zone with possession.

    When the Oilers figure that part out, Yak’s going to shoot the lights out.

    It’ll be a few years before he’s able to make that happen on his own.

    Until the Oilers can actually enter a zone, stupid and/or xenophobic people will line up in droves to slag the poor kid for being an enigma and a failure.

  61. delooper says:

    G Money:
    Until the Oilers can actually enter a zone, stupid and/or xenophobic people will line up in droves to slag the poor kid for being an enigma and a failure.

    Or he’ll get a couple of highlight-reel goals before the end of the season and everyone will forget everything they ever said about him, too embarrassed by their (in hind-sight) spaz attacks.

  62. vangolf says:

    36 percent body fat:
    Marc,

    Eberle for Ryan Johansson would be great, and is not delusional. Big second line center with defence capabilities.two things eberle does not have.

    You don’t think this is delusional??? I like ebs just fine, but this crazy talk.

  63. B S says:

    Thanks for dedicating a thread to this LT, I usually post a handful of comments, or a single rant and then leave it alone, but this has been really frustrating listening to people with broad audiences spout off like this on a young player who is basically 30 games into his second season, with his second NHL coach. The worst part is the typical lazy A-hole “analyst” like Dreger out east who is going to take Matheson’s word as a valid assessment of the situation rather than watching or asking others about Yak. Add to the fact that two-bit caveman OCHO sports journalists like Spector eat this stuff up because it fits their 1950-esque world view of those lazy commie europeans, and rather than fact checking (like, you know actually seeing if he’s first off the ice, or standing around during drills, or say… backchecking hard to turn a 2 on 1 into a 2 on 2).

    Also, He’s not posting Hall numbers, but the kid is doing ok on an absolute train wreck of a team (and season). I also agree with whoever posted it above (and others who have mentioned it before): we also need a veteran to take Yak under his wing, because whine and moan about Horcoff, but he worked hard to keep Ebs and Hall covered. Their growing pains were kept in check because there was someone else to cutoff the turnover, or take the heat if things went wrong.

    Personally I say they should convince Ryan Smyth to take Yak under his wing, not just on the ice, but vouch for him off it. The Edmonton MSM wouldn’t dare question Smyth for fear of eternal harrassment (or worse) by their “loyal readers”, and MacT can avoid losing face if he does end up losing every mental faculty he has and trades Yak.

    Also people talk about meaningful games, but the Oilers have been playing against teams like Minnesota and Detroit that are in tight to get to the playoffs and LA and St. Louis who are looking for high seeds. Scrivens has been stealing wins for us, but I do think that any observations on the play of Oilers can be made with the assumption that the opposition is playing hard and playing well against them, i.e. outplaying a line isn’t because the opposition stopped caring, unless it’s 6-1.

  64. Cameron says:

    @Lowetide

    “I worry about his agent, about his foot speed and about his aptitude.”

    - I get worrying about his agent, especially one as smart as Larionov.

    - Is it his ‘aptitude’ or ‘attitude’ you are concerned about? If it is ‘aptitude’ do you mean his ovreall skill-set? Or just Hockey sense?

    - I always saw-him-good as a legit speedster with high-end wheels, was I mistaken? (this would not be the first time)

  65. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The Great One: I think I’ve been pretty clear that I would NEVER draft a D in the top 10 unless he was a guaranteed impact #1D right out of the chute.

    But calling Johnson a whiff is just wrong.

    He isn’t

    He would be the Oilers best defenseman by a wide margin at this point.

    BTW, no one on the Av’s has a blue bubble and I’m pretty sure ranking D by Corsi or Fenwick is about as useful as a rocking chair….gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.

    who are you talking to here?

  66. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Cameron:
    @Lowetide

    “I worry about his agent, about his foot speed and about his aptitude.”

    - I get worrying about his agent, especially one as smart as Larionov.

    - Is it his ‘aptitude’ or ‘attitude’ you are concerned about? If it is ‘aptitude’ do you mean his ovreall skill-set? Or just Hockey sense?

    - I always saw-him-good as a legit speedster with high-end wheels, was I mistaken? (this would not be the first time)

    Pretty sure he meant aptitude as in ability to learn, which is a bit of a fudge on the word, but that’s how I read it.

  67. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The Great One: Based on their schedule, I think the Canucks will be picking 6th or 7th overall…pending the lottery.

    That would be a big accomplishment for them. I wish them no luck.

  68. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    It’s about Katz, but don’t tell him.

    http://www.puckrant.com/slapshot/INTERFERENCE

    What if he’s the only one keeping MacT from trading “Yak for Clarkson” or something equally stupid?

  69. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: What if he’s the only one keeping MacT from trading “Yak for Clarkson” or something equally stupid?

    Does that sound like a MacT move? He’s been fairly responsible as a GM thus far. We know from many previous reports that someone got involved in the Yak pick. for me, that’s between the GM, scouting director and the scouts.

  70. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Pretty sure he meant aptitude as in ability to learn, which is a bit of a fudge on the word, but that’s how I read it.

    Yes. It’s a touch subject, learning ability. As someone who has issues in this area, I can relate but also realize it impacts value.

  71. B S says:

    Lowetide: Does that sound like a MacT move? He’s been fairly responsible as a GM thus far. We know from many previous reports that someone got involved in the Yak pick. for me, that’s between the GM, scouting director and the scouts.

    Supposedly he tried to outbid the leafs on truculence during the offseason. MacT has made some good moves this season, but he’s had some near misses too. Active and hardworking I would agree, not so much “responsible”, not for a least one more offseason.

  72. Snowman says:

    Yak is a gamebreaker. The kid lives for big goals. He’s more passionate about hockey than probably any of us probably are about anything. He’s got skill. I would not bet against Yak in a million years. He is going to be a monster. It might take him more time than some others but he is going to get there.

    It will be a sad, sad day if Yak goes. He’s going to score some huge playoff goals. I can feel it. I sure as hell hope its for us. Betting against Yak before he’s got 200 games under his belt is foolish.

  73. nycoil says:

    Things I have learned today from reading this post:
    1) Had Yak been drafted 3rd overall 3 years ago and won the Calder Trophy, he would be held to a lower standard than a first overall pick who is younger.
    2) Hall doesn’t like Yak
    3) The most praise Yak has gotten all season has been when he acted like a good Canadian boy and came to Hendricks’ aid, when none of the other good Canadian boys on the team has been doing that much of this year, either.
    4) Matheson is past his “best by” date.

    I know there has to be a reckoning after a season like this one, but the good goaltending now vs. the atrocious goaltending early on have shown us what this team really is. It needs one more strong C, two more strong actual dmen, and better coaching on special teams and structure to be a contender for a wild card next year. Is the West tough? Yes. Are they playing for maybe 2 slots with Minny, Dallas, et al? Yes. Will they get over the hump? Who knows.

    I am frustrated as much as anyone, but the time to be having the soul-searching questions about trading Yak and Eberle for this and that, is next season if we are still in the same boat, I reckon. Am so glad the trade deadline is past us and nothing can come of this witch hunt by some until at least the summer. I hope Yak goes on a similar hot streak to end the year like last year and scores 20 for the year, and then maybe people will get off the poor kid’s back. Am going to be so pissed if the media run Yak out of town like they did, finally, with Hemsky.

  74. G Money says:

    B S: Supposedly he tried to outbid the leafs on truculence during the offseason. MacT has made some good moves this season, but he’s had some near misses too. Active and hardworking I would agree, not so much “responsible”, not for a least one more offseason.

    There’s a world of difference between trying to sign a needed player on an overpay (overpays are part of parcel for Oil Country, and will be for a while) and trading a #1 ov early in his career for magic beans.

  75. B S says:

    Lowetide: Yes. It’s a touch subject, learning ability. As someone who has issues in this area, I can relate but also realize it impacts value.

    Maybe he needs an english tutor.

    Remember, him getting these instructions would be like you moving to Mexico and writing in Spanish for the rest of your life. I have friends who know english as a second language and speak it well enough that you don’t think about it, but ocassionally a subject or a discussion will start up and I’ll realize that they’ve been unable to follow many of the points touched on, just because of the speed and foreign concepts being discussed.

    Eakins has been talking about his way, but If Yak has no prior experience with the words that Eakins is using to describe his systems or expectations (or at least not in that context) he will get very confused and have to think through many of his actions, both in practice, and in game (making him look lazy or uncertain while he’s trying to figure out whether he’s supposed to cover high or check along the boards for example).

  76. G Money says:

    nycoil,

    No, you’ve missed on point #1. The lower standard only applies if you’re a Good Canadian Boy(tm). If you’re an Enigmatic Euro(r), you’ll always be held to a higher standard and found wanting. Fair’s fair.

  77. nycoil says:

    G Money: There’s a world of difference between trying to sign a needed player on an overpay (overpays are part of parcel for Oil Country, and will be for a while) and trading a #1 ov early in his career for magic beans.

    Agreed. I can see MacT pursuing Callahan this summer for similar reasons to Clarkson. I’d be happier we overpay on the former, rather than the latter, but still wish it wouldn’t be so at the price he will command.

    I don’t mind overpaying on whoever shakes loose from the Colorado centre tree, or on Markov on a short-term basis (he knows how to run a good power play at the very least and can teach Schultz), but am leery of any contracts longer than Ference’s (4 years) on an overpay on a 30+ yr old player.

  78. nycoil says:

    G Money,

    Ah, my mistake. I was referencing Dee Ess Eff’s comment about Huberdeau on that one. I must have been led down the wrong rabbit hole….so to speak.

  79. B S says:

    G Money: There’s a world of difference between trying to sign a needed player on an overpay (overpays are part of parcel for Oil Country, and will be for a while) and trading a #1 ov early in his career for magic beans.

    admittedly playing devil’s advocate here, but would MacT offer Yak $7 mil./year to infinite?

    I’m not suggesting magic beans, but does MacT value Yak highly enough to avoid trading him for the next *powerforward to have great, but singular season? A player that signs the big payday then drops off the planet isn’t what the Oilers need, but it is what MacT seemed to want, I’m still holding him to it until he’s shown he’s learned his lesson (I’d also point to Ference, but admittedly the pickings were slim and everyone agreed the Oilers needed a solid Dman out of FA).

    I suppose the other question is whether “responsible” is going to get this team to be a contender.

    edit: *don’t know why I originally wrote FA there.

  80. Bushed says:

    Matheson’s writing over the years has been mostly vanilla drivel vetted by the Oilers organization year after year, in exchange for a few “inside” bits of info along the way.

    Insight? Objectivity? Journalism? Ha.

    He never had much credibility before, and his petty attacks on Yak because of his refusal to meet with the HHOF “journalist” at the world Juniors is pathetic.

    Grow up, Matheson. He’s a kid with more backbone and grit than you’ll ever have. Is that what’s really bothering you?

  81. delooper says:

    I had a lot of fun reading Matheson when I was 10 years old, back in the 1980s.

  82. B S says:

    Bushed:
    Matheson’s writing over the years has been mostly vanilla drivel vetted by the Oilers organization year after year, in exchange for a few “inside” bits of info along the way.

    Insight? Objectivity? Journalism? Ha.

    He never had much credibility before, and his petty attacks on Yak because of his refusal to meet with the HHOF “journalist” at the world Juniors is pathetic.

    Grow up, Matheson. He’s a kid with more backbone and grit than you’ll ever have. Is that what’s really bothering you?

    What killed me about the WJC media ‘fiasco’ was that he didn’t want to because he was focused on making sure his team won hockey games. If a Canadian captain had given that excuse they would’ve been gushing hormonally imbalanced school girls. Yak isn’t in it for the media attention, he’s in it to win.

  83. nycoil says:

    B S: Maybe he needs an english tutor.

    Remember, him getting these instructions would be like you moving to Mexico and writing in Spanish for the rest of your life. I have friends who know english as a second language and speak it well enough that you don’t think about it, but ocassionally a subject or a discussion will start up and I’ll realize that they’ve been unable to follow many of the points touched on, just because of the speed and foreign concepts being discussed.

    Eakins has been talking about his way, but If Yak has no prior experience with the words that Eakins is using to describe his systems or expectations (or at least not in that context) he will get very confused and have to think through many of his actions, both in practice, and in game (making him look lazy or uncertain while he’s trying to figure out whether he’s supposed to cover high or check along the boards for example).

    I think that it cannot be summarily dismissed that Yak’s ethnicity, cultural and religious background, and the package that comes with that plays a part in his “alienation” from the team, or at the least, as a key factor in that discourse that attempts to create a perceived alienation.

    When I was trying to teach myself guitar (badly), I would want to jump in and play my favourite Jimmy Paige or Eddie Van Halen riff, rather than learn the basic chords. I could bullshit/noodle my way through a couple of faked solos and such, but I wasn’t really learning how to play the instrument properly. I feel like these high end draft picks may have some parallels to deal with. They’ve always been the man, the go-to guy, etc. in junior. So they could ad lib. It does take time to learn all the chords to go with your solo riffing. Okay, so this is a failed analogy on my part because I never even had one iota of talent on the guitar, whereas these guys have tremendous hockey talents, but I hope you get the picture.

    In the case of Hall or Nuge, they get a pass because they are better able to vocalize what they are working on. “I want to become a better playmaker.” “I want to know how to improve my corsi.” “I want to play a more two-way game and improve my strength.” All of which have led to mixed results. I’m not even going to touch on what Gagner has improved upon in his 7 years, because I don’t honestly know. But with Yak, terms like “enigmatic” or “aloof” are always going to apply.

    Maybe being the Muslim kid who doesn’t drink but just loves to play hockey means he can never really fit in unless he is a big contributor on the ice, and this year it has been hard. He has had to learn how to play rhythm guitar first before the coach ever lets him get to rip off a solo playing for a one-timer on the 1PP. And he doesn’t go out with the boys to commiserate over another loss.

    I do think that underneath the prickly exterior, Eakins does get that he can’t let Yak fail. And I do believe that MacT knows he can’t let Yak slip through the cracks. They know he is different, but they can’t give up on him because of it. I think they recognize it is their greatest test as hockey men to help see this young man through. And so, I hold out hope still, that whatever the media may want, they will do right by Nail. Would it help if the GM went on a rant to deflect the criticism a la Gretzky in Salt Lake? It might. But even if he doesn’t, as long as he and Larionov and Eakins are on the same page, and can keep Yak’s chin up, I think they will come through this together, not apart.

  84. G Money says:

    nycoil,

    Agreed. Drafting Ekblad and signing O’Reilly would change the complexion of this team radically.

  85. G Money says:

    B S,

    That’s a good point. Magic beans is obviously bad, but trading for a good and needed player (even if it’s not the best player in the trade) makes assessing the trade tougher.

    Then again, I am of the school that no player is untouchable – it’s just a matter of what you get back. I’d trade Hall for Malkin straight up, yes I would …

  86. Cameron says:

    Woodguy: Your examples are full of players who were near the top of the heap when traded.

    As good as Couturier is, he’s not in that category.

    All of the things that make Couturier a tempting target for the Oil in trade are the very same things that make it highly unlikely he would ever be traded.

    Despite still being a very young player Couturier is routinely charged with handling the toughest assignments in the league, and in particular has developed a strong reputation for being Malkin’s ‘kryptonite’.

    Do the Flyers have a guy in-house ready to take over that role? (I don’t think Brayden Schenn is that guy, but I’d be willing to hear the argument). If they had a guy knocking at the door to be a tough-minute center (Scott Laughton?) they might feel like they could move Couturier for a winger, but I have to say I don’t the logic for such a deal.

    What’s more, the Flyers have shown a habit of trading for a different kind of winger (Simmons, Voracek, B.Schenn leap to mind), bigger-bodied possession types, rather than skinny scoring types (though what category Schenn falls into could be argued about).

    I’m not saying it’s impossible to conceive of the Flyers dealing a; young, two way C, on an affordable contract, who can check the elite, for an expensive, one dimensional scoring winger, but it does strike me as extremely unlikely.

    The smarter play would be to send J.Schultz in a package for him. The Flyers actually need D-men, and a young offensive blueliner like Schultz is almost as hard to find as a young 2-way C.

    Then flip Eberle for a young defender and you are good to go.

  87. nycoil says:

    Cameron: All of the things that make Couturier a tempting target for the Oil in trade are the very same things that make it highly unlikely he would ever be traded.

    Despite still being a very young player Couturier is routinely charged with handling the toughest assignments in the league, and in particular has developed a strong reputation for being Malkin’s ‘kryptonite’.

    Do the Flyers have a guy in-house ready to take over that role? (I don’t think Brayden Schenn is that guy, but I’d be willing to hear the argument). If they had a guy knocking at the door to be a tough-minute center (Scott Laughton?) they might feel like they could move Couturier for a winger, but I have to say I don’t the logic for such a deal.

    What’s more, the Flyers have shown a habit of trading for a different kind of winger (Simmons, Voracek, B.Schenn leap to mind), bigger-bodied possession types, rather than skinny scoring types (though what category Schenn falls into could be argued about).

    I’m not saying it’s impossible to conceive of the Flyers dealing a; young, two way C, on an affordable contract, who can check the elite,for an expensive, one dimensional scoring winger, but it does strike me as extremely unlikely.

    The smarter play would be to send J.Schultz in a package for him. The Flyers actually need D-men, and a young offensive blueliner like Schultz is almost as hard to find as a young 2-way C.

    Then flip Eberle for a young defender and you are good to go.

    I actually agree that although the value might be fair, I don’t think Philadelphia trades Couturier for Eberle straight up. Not considering Simmonds’ similar production + physical game on wing vs. Eberle’s at a lesser salary. They have much more need for a shutdown C to go against Crosby, Stamkos, Malkin, Tavares, than Eberle.

  88. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    It is tough to be assessing this player at this age, but any way you cut it, his impact in the NHL to date has been underwhelming. I can accept that Eakins may be ‘over coaching’ him but he has to atone for his time on the ice.He is given top two line visibility pretty regularly. Its up to him to make it happen now.

    My impression of watching him play is that he is a prideful, determined man and given the situation he finds himself in after his first two seasons in the NHL, I fear the decision on him staying with the Oilers may be his. Who likes being the whipping boy? I do wonder if the rumors of ‘offering’ Yak has something to do with the dynamics with his agent and the very real risk he leaves for the KHL if he deems his future truly bleak with the Oilers. At least consider this possibility. If not traded this summer and he is struggling mid season next year, it gets interesting. Also factor the KHL flight risk into another GM’s offer in a trade. If I were a GM on the phone with MacT, this becomes part of the dialogue.

  89. Ducey says:

    The Great One: Huberdeau wasn’t selected 1st overall.

    The expectations are different.

    You mean putting up the same stats as a guy who won the Calder, was third overall in the previous draft and therefore is a year older?

    If you are on par with that guy you must be doing something right.

  90. The Great One says:

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic:
    It is tough to be assessing this player at this age, but any way you cut it, his impact in the NHL to date has been underwhelming. I can accept that Eakins may be ‘over coaching’ him but he has to atone for his time on the ice.He is given top two line visibility pretty regularly. Its up to him to make it happen now.

    My impression of watching him play is that he is a prideful, determined man and given the situation he finds himself in after his first two seasons in the NHL, I fear the decision on him staying with the Oilers may be his. Who likes being the whipping boy? I do wonder if the rumors of ‘offering’ Yak has something to do with the dynamics with his agent and the very real risk he leaves for the KHL if he deems his future truly bleak with the Oilers. At least consider this possibility. If not traded this summer and he is struggling mid season next year, it gets interesting. Also factor the KHL flight risk into another GM’s offer in a trade. If I were a GM on the phone with MacT, this becomes part of the dialogue.

    Best post of the thread.

  91. 719 says:

    Has anyone thought that this could be a 2 way street? Maybe Yak wants out, and the Oilers want him out.

    I was reading the piece on the reasons Patrick Roy left Montreal in 1995 on tsn.ca and one part of the interview stuck out. He said the coach was very hard on him compared to his teammates. He specifically points to Damphousse showing up late before a game and not being reprimanded. This made Roy think there was a double standard regarding discipline.

    Could Yak be thinking the same thing? He watches Eberle, Gagner and Hall still not play the defensive side well and wonders why they are not getting benched/scratched. He may think the team is harder on him for whatever reason and want out. I believe his agent said to the effect “we will welcome a trade anywhere”.

    There is also an obvious rift between Eberle and Yakupov. It is evident to anyone who watches the games. No way does this team trade a “good Canadian boy” like Eberle, MacT said earlier this year that as far as management is concerned “Eberle is an Oiler for life”.

  92. justDOit says:

    Hockey Sense – is that next to Bed Bath & Beyond at the big mall? Because if that’s all that a HoF writer can come up with when critiquing Yak, it tells more about the journalist than it does the player. It’s just one of those bullshit phrases that media people through out there, that makes them look like they know what they’re talking about, and is easily repeatable around the water cooler at work. But what does it mean?

    For crying out loud, you can pin that label (lack of hockey sense) on a number of Oilers this year, but it’s Yak who gets it from this birdcage liner hack? This team has been like a box of chocolates with a turd in it – it might look good at first, but you notice very quickly that something stinks. Well, let’s pin it on the Russian then. Right.

    You know, as much as I loathe sequels, I think Bobcat needs to make a God Bless America II. But this time, instead of vapid, talentless, attention whores getting it, he should target blowhard, idiot sports journalists. He might have trouble keeping under a 180 minute run time though.

  93. B S says:

    719,

    While it’s easy to assume the Oil management are completely retarded and want nothing more than to lower the trade value of an asset prior to trading it, this seems unlikely to me, therefore I would suggest that this line of argument (not to single you out 719, others have made this argument on numerous occasions) doesn’t explain why hockey analysts are tearing apart Yakupov, especially now seeing as how his overall play has actually improved recently. I’m just pointing out that if the goal is to trade Yak, then MacT should be doing what he can to shut-up people like Matheson, and squash these narratives.

  94. stevezie says:

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic,

    This is pure projection on my part, but if I were a Tatar I would grab the opportunity to get my family the fuck out of Russia and throw two middle fingers behind me as I left.

    I’m not sure he is a flight risk. Total conjecture, but then this is the Internet.

  95. Hammers says:

    nycoil:
    Things I have learned today from reading this post:
    1) Had Yak been drafted 3rd overall 3 years ago and won the Calder Trophy, he would be held to a lower standard than a first overall pick who is younger.
    2) Hall doesn’t like Yak
    3) The most praise Yak has gotten all season has been when he acted like a good Canadian boy and came to Hendricks’ aid, when none of the other good Canadian boys on the team has been doing that much of this year, either.
    4) Matheson is past his “best by” date.

    I know there has to be a reckoning after a season like this one, but the good goaltending now vs. the atrocious goaltending early onhave shown us what this team really is. It needs one more strong C, two more strong actual dmen, and better coaching on special teams and structure to be a contender for a wild card next year. Is the West tough? Yes. Are they playing for maybe 2 slots with Minny, Dallas, et al? Yes. Will they get over the hump? Who knows.

    I am frustrated as much as anyone, but the time to be having the soul-searching questions about trading Yak and Eberle for this and that, is next season if we are still in the same boat, I reckon. Am so glad the trade deadline is past us and nothing can come of this witch hunt by some until at least the summer. I hope Yak goes on a similar hot streak to end the year like last year and scores 20 for the year, and then maybe people will get off the poor kid’s back. Am going to be so pissed if the media run Yak out of town like they did, finally, with Hemsky.

    I do agree with your assessment . Reminder people Sophmore jinx isn’t just for Canadian players . It could be that simple . We won’t know until Dec . Trading him this summer would be dumb unless you got a great return . Now most agree after nearly 7 years what Gags problems are but after 100 + games . LT says you don’t know until they have 200 games played . Maybe at year end LT can do a write up on the 200 games + kids .

  96. hoser313 says:

    A few comments:

    1) Yakupov really needs to keep his feet moving. 10x a better player when he skates instead of glides around. I think Perron was even quoted on this – not sure where I read that, might have been here.

    2) Gagner and Yakupov (if coaches are determined to play them together) desperately need a Paajarvi or similar type of player to cover for them. I wonder how many of those Yakupov minuses Gagner was ‘also in the frame’ for?

    3) I’m not sure I buy the narrative, but if the kids really don’t like Yak, then don’t give those kids the “C”. Leadership means you find ways to win with the assets that you have on your team and you don’t just stand there and let good assets fall through the cracks.

  97. delooper says:

    stevezie:
    This is pure projection on my part, but if I were a Tatar I would grab the opportunity to get my family the fuck out of Russia and throw two middle fingers behind me as I left.

    I’m not sure he is a flight risk. Total conjecture, but then this is the Internet.

    As far as I can tell, Tatars in Russia feel assimilated and mostly okay with day to day things, at least as much as ethnic Russians do. But given how things are, I think all Russians are a little weirded-out by current events. That’s not saying much as things have been weird in Russia since the times of the Kieven Rus. Given what’s going on in Crimea nowadays, maybe there’s a tad more apprehension than normal, but I doubt it. If Crimean Tatars start stirring up a fuss then maybe things start changing.

    Personally I think most of the talk about Yakupov by people like Matheson is just racist flatulence. I haven’t seen anything from Matheson that made me think he had any interesting insights in decades.

  98. art vandelay says:

    This thread needs more ellipses. And anonymous quotes from Bruce McGregor.

  99. dsr29 says:

    jp,
    Talked to a Columbus scout at a junior game a couple weeks ago. He said ‘he just doesn’t care’ when discussing yakupov. also said Columbus wasn’t taking him first or second in the draft. My POV, easy for him to say when they never had the chance to draft him. But it is one scouts voice, maybe the same one Dreger talks to. Anyway, not trying to stir the pot just sharing a conversation.

  100. Andy P says:

    The only rational reason I can see MacT letting Yak go is if he is refusing to play here next year.

  101. book¡je says:

    What if Yak has demanded a trade. Perhaps the Oilers are just trying to soften the blow on local fans ?

  102. theres oil in virginia says:

    book¡je:
    What if Yak has demanded a trade.Perhaps the Oilers are just trying to soften the blow on local fans ?

    Send him to Hershey! Double-quick.

  103. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: Does that sound like a MacT move? He’s been fairly responsible as a GM thus far. We know from many previous reports that someone got involved in the Yak pick. for me, that’s between the GM, scouting director and the scouts.

    Not this year no. And, not last year either. But that was a trade actively pushed by various EDM media folks last year.

    And the return is going to be “equally stupid” more of less if he trades Yak. If Katz keeps him from that, I’ll be glad for it.

    art vandelay:
    This thread needs more ellipses. And anonymous quotes from Bruce McGregor.

    Hi Art!

  104. rickithebear says:

    hoser313: Gagner and Yakupov (if coaches are determined to play them together) desperately need a Paajarvi or similar type of player to cover for them. I wonder how many of those Yakupov minuses Gagner was ‘also in the frame’ for?

    Stast.hockey Analysis;
    Yak with this season

    Gagner
    W/ 318 min 13GF 21GA -8
    without convered to 320 minutes
    WO/ 320min 10GF 14GA -4
    As a referecne a move to 320min with and without

    RNH 204min 8GF 17GA -9
    W/ 320 min 12,5GF 26.5GA – 14
    WO/ 13GF 13GA Even

    Perron 175 min 9GF 8GA +1
    W/ 320min 16.5GF 14.5GA +2
    WO/ 14.5GF 12.5GA +2

    Eberle 170.5min 9GF 22GA -13
    W/ 318min 17Gf 41GA -24
    WO/ 12.5GF 9.5GA +3

    Hemsky 126min 2GF 5GA -3
    W/ 320min 12.5GF 31.5GA -19
    WO/ 13.5Gf 13.5GA even

    Hall 111.7min 6GF 7GA -1
    W/ 320min 17gf 20Ga -3
    WO/ 14Gf 14GA even

    Arco 103min 3GF 7GA -4
    W/ 320min 9.5GF 21.5GA -12
    WO/ 11.5GF 10.5GA

    Smyth/Jeonsuu/Gordon/ Gazdic
    178 min 0GF 12GA -12
    W/ 320min 0GF 21GA -21

    No one of any minutes is better with Yakupov

  105. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: But that was a trade actively pushed by various EDM media folks last year.

    Say no more.

  106. FastOil says:

    Marc: Why would Columbus trade a a good, young, big first line center who is also their team’s leading scorer for a winger?

    Who knows. The thing is it happens every year based on preferences of GM’s, how teams perceive their needs, how they perceive Eberle. If Eberle is still carrying cache then trading him (a very good player) for a centre or D not too old who is also a good player helps the Oilers. Win win.

    We know Eberle, he is at his potential. We don’t know Yak fully, and he is already nearly as good as Eberle and brings more tools including an attitude. I can’t see him getting pushed around through his career. He is more the ‘your spleen on my stick’ kind of guy. That is something the MSM misses mentioning about Russian players, I haven’t noticed very many or any at all getting bullied.

    The Oilers need that right now, especially in their top six. I also think Yakupov will stand up for his team mates once his place is solidified. In fact I can seem him seeking retribution.

    Basically if Gagner is moving also, trading Eberle and Gagner and getting a good D and C makes the Oilers a much better team. Their type of offense and style of play is replaceable. Trading game breakers like Hall or Yak, or the only young centre in the system with a high ceiling would make the team worse in the long run. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to trade Perron unless the choice was him or Yakupov or they know he has health issues.

    Basically Eberle and Gagner are replaceable. Actually Eberle might be pushed down fairly soon if one of the bigger or more gritty players now in the system can play in the top 6, unless he starts scoring a lot again. Medium offense with no physical game and average defensive play makes him vulnerable on the roster. On any roster.

    Now I think they have to trade him.

  107. magisterrex says:

    I don’t know which is worse: the ridiculous anti-Yakupov narrative by the MSM or the ridiculous Eberle is easily replaceable narrative found on this blog.

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