Nail Yakupov is not going to be traded. Nail Yakupov is not going to be sent to the press box tonight in Tampa Bay to be replaced by Linus Omark. The Edmonton Oilers are going to take all the time in the world to develop the Russian sniper. The 20-year-old is going to be cuddled and coddled with equal measures of tough love mixed in here and there. Hear this. Hear this. The Oilers believe in Nail Yakupov and his future here and are going proceed to try build his spirit rather than kill it. If you needed GM Craig MacTavish to climb to the top of the Empire State Building and proclaim it, he probably would have done so. MacTavish talked to agent Igor Larianov and Yakupov himself by phone Wednesday morning from Manhattan where his presence with Kevin Lowe at a New York Rangers game led to rumors out of the East that the Oilers brass was there to trade Yakupov. Coach Dallas Eakins talked to Yakupov on the ice at practice in Tampa Bay so the Russian who was selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft could hear it from him in person. “When we drafted Nail it was because we believed he’d be a dynamic, electric, exciting player and that hasn’t changed,” MacTavish said from New York. “We were not expecting him to become all that in the first 70 games of his career,” MacTavish added of the winger who has 18 goals and 16 assists in his first 64 games, including a mere one goal and two assists in his first 14 this year. Yakupov has a plus-minus of minus-13, which is 711th, dead last in the league. “We very much believe Nail will evolve to become that dynamic, electric player — become one of the most entertaining guys in the game. I told that to Igor. And I told that to Yak.
Oilers GM Craig MacTavish refutes trade rumours surrounding Nail Yakupov
Edmonton Sun | Nov 7