According to the Edmonton Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins, forward Nail Yakupov is not being shopped on the trade market. Eakins addressed the media following the Oilers practice on Wednesday that saw the coach hold a lengthy side conversation with the 20-year old and let everyone know what exactly they talked about, courtesy of the Oilers official website.
“The conversation with Yak was simple. I see him trying to hard to be better defensively and to learn this defensive system that we’re trying to implement. I thought he made a couple of good plays defensively yesterday. I saw the process go through his head on the ice. That was encouraging for me. I wanted to also let him know that these reports in the media, the people that are making trades for him are absolutely, 100% untrue. This kid is not going anywhere.
Furthermore, Eakins reinforced the point that despite Yakupov’s struggles this season, the Oilers believe in him and will work through the low point in his career to help make him a better hockey player.
Eakins referenced Steven Stamkos and Joe Thornton as two players who also struggled early on in their NHL career and have turned out to be two of the biggest stars in the game. The coach reminded Yakupov that it’s ok to struggle, reinforcing that he will get past this. He wants the young Russian to know that this team is behind him despite the wild trade rumors centered around the former first overall pick.
The latest rumor has the Oilers looking at the New York Rangers to make a deal that would send Yakupov to the bright lights of broadway for presumably a top tiered defenceman. That’s the basic platform of a deal as it stands in the media and around Oil Country, albeit it’s all speculation at this point.
Earlier today we learnt that the Oilers would prefer to move Ales Hemsky before having to trade Yakupov which now makes sense if in fact Craig MacTavish is not even remotely considering dealing number 64.
Stay tuned folks, this one is just getting going and there is surely to be more on Hemsky and Yakupov in the coming days.