These evenings lately feature a former Oiler on most every channel. Kyle Brodziak—sent away because he lacked grit—doing yeoman’s work for the St. Louis Blues. Oilers sent him away eight summers ago and he is still playing in the NHL. I remember Brodziak well as a player, he improved his skating enormously and was the talk of training camp 2007—he effectively passed all of the other prospects in a summer—and arrived as an NHLer. When you send away a perfectly useful roster player for 10 cents on the dollar, you suffer, and that’s for sure.
Russian coach Oleg Znarok calls Yakupov's absence at the Worlds "addition by subtraction." #Oilers
— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) May 22, 2016
First of all, Oleg Znarok should shut his festering gob, the tit. Last time I checked, these men represent their country on a volunteer basis. Extremely poor behavior by Mr. Znarok and that kind of thing reflects poorly on the entire coaching community. This is not a club player, this is a three week volunteer. For this to be the story in a tournament that basically represents our goodbye to Pavel Datsyuk is a pure shame. Testimony I guess that true class and true asshattery know no borders and can live side by side.
You didn’t ask, but I will tell you exactly what Sam Pollock would do with this player. Yakupov did have some success with various centers (50.5 Corsi for percentage 5×5 with Leon Draisaitl (259:30), 51.9 with Connor McDavid in 205 minutes). The line of Pouliot-McDavid-Yakupov was almost 52 percent in possession according to Corsica.hockey.
Sam Pollock would put Yakupov on a strong line until Christmas, hoping for 10 goals and a good stretch of games. A veteran center might be the ticket, but 97 had success and he is a teenager.
- Ralph Krueger during the lockout: “To have been able to watch Nail has been nothing but a pleasure. He’s a shooting machine! To have double digit goals in that Russian league already is nothing short of outstanding. He’s second in the league in shots on goal — in the whole league — it’s really phenomenal. He exudes so much confidence. And those Russian teams play so defensive. They play such a structured defensive game. And to top it all off, Nail is not on such a good team.” Source
Nail Yakupov shots-per-game by league and season:
- 2012-13 KHL: 3.4
- 2012-13 NHL: 1.7
- 2013-14 NHL: 1.9
- 2014-15 NHL: 2.4
- 2015-16 NHL: 2.1
Nail’s 3.7 shot attempts per game this past season (he was 4.16 per game in 2014-15) is good, not great. Taylor Hall posted 5.78 shot attempts per game this past season, Alex Ovechkin 8.74. The Oilers need a sniper, Nail has that skill in his toolbox. A team acquiring him will probably get a veteran C with him and work on Nail’s aim.
Most people are down on Nail today, and there is little doubt we are dealing with a flawed player. That said, my bet is that a smart GM will bet on him. Is that GM Peter Chiarelli?
.@FlaPanthers GM Tom Rowe confirms firing of Scott Luce, longtime director of scouting/player personnel. 'We wanted a different voice'
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) May 23, 2016
I am seeing a lot of comments (twitter, some in the LT section) saying Edmonton should hire Scott Luce. I wonder if this is too soon—Bob Green has had one draft, folks—but Luce is a bona fide scouting director and Peter Chiarelli will no doubt continue to put his stamp on things. For me, I think the Oilers scouts did a good job with the 2015 selections PC did not trade. Interesting development, I would probably stay the course with the amateur side.
— EP Transfers (@ep_transfers) May 23, 2016
— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) May 23, 2016
Jon wrote an interesting item on the Leafs and Mark Fayne-for-Tyler Bozak idea we talked about here last week. One thing we should always keep in mind: Our own biases about players like Mark Fayne (or Nail Yakupov) may not be shared by some or all of the 29 general managers. I believe Mark Fayne has real value, many who comment here and elsewhere do not. How many GMs feel Mark Fayne can help them? My guess is many.