After being a healthy scratch for Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes, winger Nail Yakupov will draw back into the Edmonton Oilers lineup for tonight’s game in San Jose.
Not only will Yakupov be inserted back into the lineup, but he’ll be starting the game on the Oilers second line, skating along side Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner. If that doesn’t represent an opportunity t o get his game going, nothing will.
Recently Yakupov has been used sparingly by head coach Dallas Eakins and after outlining what exactly the bench boss is looking for from the second year sniper, the ball is now in the young Russian’s court.
The past four games Yakupov has seen less than ten minutes of ice-time and in two of those contests, he was below seven minutes of playing time. Not exactly the opportunity to help re-establish some confidence in himself and the coach, which points to this game as a ‘must perform’ for Yakupov.
With just 6 goals and 8 assists through 39 games this season, Yakupov has been the centre of much trade speculation for the better part of the year. Being used sparingly by rookie head coach Dallas Eakins hasn’t helped the matter and now to try and save his season, Yakupov will once again be the centre of attention tonight in San Jose against the Sharks. It’s not an ideal game to try and prove your worth, but it’s still an opportunity none the less. Will he take advantage of it? Time will tell.