The agent for Nail Yakupov took to the media to vent his frustration over the way his 20-year client is being utilized by the Edmonton Oilers recently.
Igor Larionov, the Hall of Fame member who represents Yakupov has aired his concerns through the media and now has openly stated that he and his client would welcome any and all trades.
The main concern of Larionov is the ice-time that the young Russian is receiving as of late. Over the last four games, Yakupov has played more than twelve minutes only once. The last two games, he’s been under eleven minutes despite bulging the twine against the Chicago Blackhawks.
It’s no secret that the sophomore is struggling beyond anyone’s wildest imagination this season. Two goals and two assists in seventeen games played is all he’s been able to muster to this point and his defensive struggles have been escalated given the teams’ overall struggles.
Head coach Dallas Eakins has expressed concern over Yakupov’s game shortly after the puck dropped on a new NHL season back in October and went as far as to make the 20-year old a healthy scratch for two consecutive games. The coach used words like “lost” and “confused” when describing Yakupov’s play, especially in his own end. But remember, this is a kid who hasn’t played in a full season when combining last year’s abbreviated schedule and the first month and a half of this season. It’s going to take time to develop his game to where Eakins feels he’s best suited for the Oilers.
Now Larionov wants answers from the Oilers organization as to why his client is being used sparingly and not necessarily allowing him to live up to his full potential.
The Russian agent stated he was coming to Edmonton and is seeking answers. He plans on watching Yakupov in the Oilers upcoming games beginning with the Dallas Stars and has a simple request for the Oilers regarding his client, courtesy of ESPN.com.
“Let the kid play, enjoy the game. He’s a hard-working kid. He’s not lazy. He’s got to be part of that team. You have to understand he’s only 20 years old, he needs some support,” Larionov said. “He’s a goal-scorer. You’ve got to understand that and let the kid develop and play.”
Eakins has reiterated with Yakupov that he’s not going anywhere despite the swirling trade rumors lately but Larionov doesn’t appear to be satisfied with the news.
Larionov would like to sit down with Eakins after already discussing the possibility of trading Yakupov with GM Craig MacTavish. Whether or not the Oilers will oblige to the former player’s demands remains to be seen.
One thing can be sure. Larionov isn’t necessarily doing his client any favors by creating a storm in the media over the way Yakupov is being handled. The Oilers will do what they feel is best for the team whether we or Larionov agrees. It’s not up to us or him to dictate how Eakins or Mac-T use Yakupov. If it were we wouldn’t be sitting here writing this blog, but rather coaching somewhere in the NHL. Dare to dream Arnold.
Is Larionov crossing the line when it comes to the agent and team relationship? Some might say yes, while others might feel he has every right to vent his concerns through the main stream media.
Regardless, given the Oilers struggles, having this side show circus won’t help the Yakupov watch as it continues. If the kid were scoring goals like crazy no one would be calling for him to be traded and his ice-time would be up where it was last year. Then again, if he were scoring goals the Edmonton Oilers might not be struggling as bad as they are.