In conversation today with readers and listeners, BY FAR the most popular subject was Nail Yakupov’s future. At the beginning of today’s Lowdown, I talked about the idea of trading for No. 5 overall from the Islanders—without giving up No. 3. My theory was that if Edmonton could walk away with Ekblad and a quality forward prospect, that’s a helluva haul for the draft.
Now, to get No. 5 overall from the Islanders, you’re going to have to give up something very good. A few of you I spoke to this afternoon feel Nail Yakupov is the guy to be dealt, and I wanted to explain why it’s not something I would do at this time.
- The Oilers don’t know what Nail Yakupov is yet. It’s a very dangerous thing, trading away a lottery player who hasn’t reached maturity. Kyle Turris would be a recent example of this, he’s 24 now and an absolute killer. Could Ottawa get David Rundblad and Anthony Stolarz for him today? Hell yes. The hockey world is running around today talking about Jason Spezza like he’s Ottawa’s No. 1 center, but I would invite you to look again.
- You’re moving back the cluster one more time. The Dustin Penner trade (as an example) allowed Edmonton to draft Oscar Klefbom, and these years later you’d probably want the Swede’s future over Penner’s. However, you’ve given up so much in real-time (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14) waiting for some time in the future. It’s a bad day, it’s an admission that the rebuild continues. At this point, it’s a noxious move for this reason alone.
- The organization will have dashed a wonderful new artery of talent from Russia. They’ve drafted a giant man in Bogdan Yakimov from the same town, from the same culture as Yak City, and he’s on the way. They’ve also draft Slepyshev, a brilliant offensive player who may be the finest winger in the system at this time.
Those are my reasons. That said, if the Oilers want to change Yakupov out because the fit doesn’t work, that’s something we don’t really know (because we don’t really know the culture of the team). It is very hard to see anything positive from here. The Glory Oilers had some differing lifestyles, and that’s for sure.
I am hopeful there’s room for Yakupov on this Edmonton Oiler team. This Canadian adores him.