Yak and Gags … hey, that kind of sounds like what they’ve been doing out there.

Hard luck linemates Nail Yakupov and Sam Gagner have been retching up a lot of statistical hairballs this season, with Gagner minus 9 in the Boston, Vancouver, Anaheim and Los Angeles set and Yakupov still dead last, 784th out of 784 NHL players, at minus 22 for the year.

Like all statistics in a game where there are five skaters out there contributing to each other’s totals, plus-minus isn’t a black and white indicator of how a season is going. Unless, of course, you’re dead last, or 781st out of 784 players, like Gagner’s minus 16 in 23 games has him, then it’s pretty safe to say that things are going badly.

“You do care,” said Dallas Eakins, when asked how much stock he puts in those ugly totals. “I think that’s an embarrassing thing for a player to have it sitting there like that.”

There are other aspects and statistics the coach looks at when making evaluating a player’s contribution, but even if their combined minus 38 is only partially accurate, Gagner and Yakupov have certainly been on for a lot more bad than good.

“We’re trying to put them in the right spots to get success,” said Eakins. “We’re trying to give them more offensive zone starts to keep them more on the offensive size of the game. We continue to teach by communication and video in the hope that they’ll be better.

“But it’s no secret that guys like Yak, Gags, and we have others, who need to get better at keeping offensive zone time going. And when we do get in our own zone, finding responsibilities.”

Putting two defensive weak links on the same line doesn’t appear to be helping, either. But, again, these are the Oilers, and that means limited options. The hope was that their offensive abilities would take the stress off their defensive shortcomings, but it hasn’t worked out that way.