Everyone that follows the game of hockey knows that Toronto is considered by many as the center of the hockey universe. It’s also the home of some opinionated main stream media who loath the Toronto Maple Leafs despite their best efforts to hide their extreme favoritism. Enter Darren Dreger, a highly regarded opinion and hockey insider of TSN. Or so he used to be.
What Dreger said about Nail Yakupov and how it correlates to the Maple Leafs was just down right absurd, disturbing and mind numbing.
Allow me to paraphrase what Dreger said, courtesy of the Edmonton Journals’ David Staples, who caught the interview on TSN 1050 radio with host Dave Naylor.
Naylor asked Dreger if the Leafs would consider trading James Reimer for Nail Yakupov, straight up given the Oilers struggles and highly regarded concerns in goal. Dreger replied with the following:
I don’t think so because I don’t know that Toronto or any team in the National Hockey League, including Edmonton, is sold on Nail Yakupov. And that sounds like a pretty stinging indictment of this young man, first overall in 2012, but he just hasn’t developed to a point yet where you’re going to spend an asset that you can trust to take a shot on this guy.
As Yaseen AC, a staff writer here at Oil on Whyte said in his last post, “allow me to lose my dinner.” If Dreger thinks for a second that Reimer is worth more than Yakupov straight up, he’s either having the worst day of his professional life or he’s so bias by the strong start the Maple Leafs have jumped out to that he can’t see his nose in spite of his face.
You’d be hell bent to find any Oilers fan that would trade Nail Yakupov for James Reimer straight up given that Edmonton’s asset is worth a helluva lot more than a netminder who has had one good year and still hasn’t done jack in the playoffs. Please note that Dreger’s comments were made prior to Reimer’s injury on Thursday night but I still felt the need to reply to his obnoxious dialogue.
If Reimer is so valuable then why did Dave Nonis acquire Jonathan Bernier this off-season? Why didn’t the Leafs run with Reimer as their number one netminder, the one who is going to lead this team to the promised land?
Allow me to answer. Because he’s not a proven number one netminder and may never be just that. Sound familiar? In other words, why would the Oilers trade for a goalie who’s ceiling may not be much higher than Devan Dubnyk‘s? Let alone trading a first overall pick for him a goalie of that caliber.
Like Yakupov, Reimer hasn’t played in many NHL games throughout his young career, just 108 to date. Last year he carried the majority of the mail for the Leafs, playing in 33 of the 48-regular season games. Prior to that, his season high was 37 games back in his rookie year 2010-11.
A 4th round draft pick (99th overall) who has shown promise but failed to deliver in the playoffs last season is not worth a 1st overall pick and unless Reimer miraculously turns into the next Martin Brodeur, he will never bring that type of value in return.
Dreger has some merit in saying that Yakupov hasn’t developed yet to his full potential. That’s fair, but to counter that point, the kid has only played in 54 regular season games over the span of two seasons (albeit this year is still early). But you don’t get drafted first overall by accident. Rather it’s because you’re so loaded with talent and potential that any team would love to have you on their club.
Of course every team would be willing to part ways with different assets if given the chance to acquire Yakupov, but don’t think for a second that the Leafs wouldn’t love to have this kid on their roster. Would they give up James Reimer for him? Darren Dreger doesn’t think so but he’s so blinded by his hometown team racing out of the gates that he can’t see the forest through the trees.
Let’s hope this is a deal that isn’t even discussed because if you were to ask every Oilers’ fan around, Dreger is right; Yakupov isn’t worth trading for Reimer. He’s worth so much more that we don’t have time here to mention all the players that Edmonton should receive in return for number 64.