To Yakupov or not to Yakupov, that is the question: Are the Oilers wasting Yakupov’s potential?

So what is the story with Nail Yakupov? Drafted first overall, puts up 31 points in 48 games in his first season and now all of a sudden he is no where to be seen?

He has had a lackluster point production ever since and only has 3 goals so far this season, which if you ask me, is pretty terrible for a guy who was hyped up to be a goal scorer.

I hate the arguments that say he is only 21 years old, be patient. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson is 23 years old, he has had five years and where exactly is he?

Edmonton right now is a dead hockey town. How long can a team last being a bottom dweller in the league. Sometimes teams should just make trades for the sake of making trades, because what they have now right in Edmonton is an uncoordinated bunch that has no idea how to play simple hockey.

And to think Ben Scrivens was going to be the savior of the franchise. I have been watching hockey long enough to know that you cannot take a small sample size to make a proper player assessment.

For some players, you have to accept their weaknesses. The Toronto Maple Leafs accepted Phil Kessel’s lack of physicality on the ice. It is time for the Oilers to accept that Yakupov is not going to be a Selke winner and he has to make mistakes to learn.

What exactly does the team fear when he is on the ice? More goals being scored against your team? Uhm…if you haven’t noticed, you are last in the conference. Chances of your team actually making the playoffs is very slim.  Let him make mistakes, do his showboatiness and give him the opportunity.

If you do not like how he plays on the ice…well, then trade him and move on. Stop wasting a player’s talent and your organization’s assets. Of the six forwards (including Perron), Yakupov has the highest trading value without hurting your team.

Personally, if I were the Oilers, I would not want to trade him, so I understand the conflict. But I see a player just sitting there, doing nothing positive for the team and only fear he is going to be doing the same for the next 3-5 years if he sticks around. The team has no confidence in him nor does the player have confidence in himself.

If you are going to wait and see what happens, then at the very least, trade him at the draft to get that 1st overall pick if you don’t land on it. Get that sure-fire franchise player and move on. I would say go draft a defenseman but this is the only draft where I would say you have to make that forward pick in the top 2.

Then again, moving up to the first overall pick through trade is a pipe dream so staying at the bottom of the league is probably the best move in order to secure a top 2 pick for Eichel or McDavid.

Because he was the first overall pick, huge pressure is on him to produce (we are speaking 70+ points a season in a couple of years from now). Regressing for one year is bad, but not too bad. Regressing for two straight years, that is a warning sign. Trade him while you can because if he is going to become a star, it wont be with Edmonton if things are going to continue the same. It is hard to bounce back from a bad season with the same team.

Let him play and make mistakes. What exactly is few extra goals against going to do to the team standing wise? Go from 28th to 29th? Whoopdie-doo!



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