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\Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Yakupov  is not going anywhere

Dallas Eakins took the time yesterday to squash the constant trade rumours that have followed the Oilers since Yakupov was benched earlier this season.

"“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.”“Guys like Joe Thornton. The kid here [Stamkos].  Those guys struggled early in their careers and, boy, they turned out to be pretty good players. Nail Yakupov is not being shopped. He’s not going anywhere and I wanted him to hear that from me – look in my eyes and let him know that we’re attached at the hip. We’re going to make him a better player. It’s okay to struggle.”"

I wrote about those rumours in an earlier blog and my opinion has not changed. https://oilonwhyte.com/2013/10/29/vultures-circling/.  There may be a time that trading Yakupov or another young stud makes sense for the Oilers.  Now is not the time to trade Yakupov.

Obviously if a trade offer came in that knocked the Oilers socks off then you make that trade but I don’t see that happening for Yakupov now.  Ask yourself this question; if you are another teams’GM would you offer a huge return on Yakupov now?

Does sending Yakupov to the minors make sense?

Would I consider sending Yakupov to the minors?  Sure. Yakupov is 20 years old. Not all players develop at the same rate.  It is easier to learn a defensive system in the AHL than the NHL.  He could build confidence from scoring at the AHL level that is missing at the NHL level.  I would rather see him develop in the minors than sit in the press box.

As Yakupov is still on his entry-level deal, he can be sent to the minors and be recalled without clearing waivers.  It certainly merits consideration, and if it happens it is not a punishment but a developmental tool and should be considered that way.

Dubnyk is not an NHL number 1 goaltender

I expressed my doubts about Dubnyk as an NHL goaltender earlier this season. https://oilonwhyte.com/2013/10/15/dubnyk-elephant-room/.   I am now convinced that Dubnyk is not the answer as a number one goaltender.  It is true that the Oilers defence is awful, but Dubnyk is letting in a bad goal or two almost every game.

The 3rd goal against the Florida Panthers is a prime example: there was no traffic in front; the puck was not tipped; it was a knuckler from the blue line; it was a puck that needed to be stopped.  If this was one example every 5 to 10 games, you laugh it off. I am not laughing. Dubnyk has been awful this season and it is time to face the reality that it is time to turn the page on Dubnyk. The Oilers need to acquire a legitimate number one goalie before the trade deadline as they do not have one in the organization.

Linus Omark gets the call

Honestly I am not convinced that Omark is an NHL player or an Oiler fit.  That being said, he does have 8 goals and 4 assists in 12 games and does merit an Oiler look.  His minus 8, tied for the worst on the Barons, is a concern. I have no problem with him getting a game or two until Hall and Joensuu are healthy.  Perhaps you interest another organization in him. Maybe he surprises and warrants more games. Either way, I see little downside in giving him a game or two.

The only question I have, do you give Omark the shot if it is at the expense of  Yakupov? See our poll on this in Derek’s article and give your opinion.

Jordan Tootoo on waivers

Many wonder if the Oilers would have interest in Jordan TootooTootoo is a 4th line player and makes 1.9 million this year and next.  I would be very surprised if the Oilers claimed Tootoo on waivers at that cap hit.

Baby Steps

I have heard from multiple fans that the Oilers and its fans should just ignore a win against Florida as it means nothing.  Hogwash!  I checked the NHL standings and surprisingly the Oilers were awarded 2 points the other night.

We are all aware of the hole the Oilers have dug for themselves and the work they need to do.  Does that mean we have to be constantly negative?  Not a chance. Was there any Oiler fan that didn’t smile when Fedun scored his first NHL goal?   Is there an Oiler fan not rooting for him?   How many of you were giddy to see Arcobello who leads the team with 10 assists pop a couple?

The Oilers played a very simple defensive game, limited their mistakes and for the most part kept the crease clear. Yes, they have LOTS of work to do, but they took some baby steps yesterday and got a win.  Enjoy it!

Next stop on the Oilers road trip is Tampa Bay!