That one word has come up again….bold. Oilers’ fans heard it all summer as Craig MacTavish examined all possibilities to improve the hockey club by making that “bold” move. But time and time again the market never presented the opportunity to allow Mac-T to pull off the move.
Fast forward to October and three games into the season, MacTavish is again wanting to be, yes you guessed it, bold. Realizing that the Oilers blue line is mediocre at best, the rookie GM would like to make a splash in the trade market and land himself a stud defenceman. But would trading Nail Yakupov be too bold of a move for the Oilers to make?
High end talent will be a necessity as part of any package in order to pry a top-two defenceman from any club. The Toronto Maple Leafs have already said a high profile prospect or legitimate goal scorer must be in the deal if any team wants to acquire Jake Gardiner.
Yakupov has gotten off to a slow start by his standards this season but part of the reason could be his diminished ice-time under head coach Dallas Eakins. Every time Yakupov gets the puck and picks up a head of steam behind him, he makes something happen. Excitement fills the air. It was witnessed repeatedly last season when he was allowed to free wheel as part of Ralph Krueger’s regular lineup.
Now appearing in a more reserved role, Eakins has said that Yakupov is still trying “find himself on the ice and is battling the highs and lows.” Does that mean he’ll see more ice if his game turns around? Does his game need to turn around or does Eakins not buy the type of player he is?
Some Oilers fans feel that Yakupov could be traded this year, given he has one-year remaining on his contract after this season and the high flying Russian will be in store for a healthy raise. Whether or not he’s part of the Oilers long-term plans will remain to be seen if he sticks around this season.
Trading the first overall pick less than two years after drafting him would certainly qualify as bold. MacTavish may learn that parting ways with a talent like Yakupov is necessary if he truly wants to add that missing piece on the blue line. The old saying rings true that if you want to get something of good value you have to part ways with something of good value.
Yakupov for Gardiner, straight up isn’t worth it for the Oilers who would deserve more in the deal if they were to ever seriously think about trading number 64.
MacTavish could surely fetch a king’s ransom for Yakupov, but should the Oilers even consider trading him in the first place? He’s a pure goal scorer, a rarity to find in this league and despite his slow start this season, the ceiling is too high with him to even think about removing him from the roster.
Then again, what Mac-T considers to be bold and what the fans definition is may be two different opinions. Some felt that trading captain Shawn Horcoff was bold while others were waiting for a Cory Schneider type deal that would have cost the Oilers their top two draft picks and grade A prospect.
Trading Nail Yakupov would be bold and you could argue it would go beyond bold. Parting ways with a piece like that would help solve the blue line, an Achilles heal for this club until it is addressed.
Do you think the Oilers would be too bold if they traded Yakupov? Leave your comments below.