Debunking the Nail Yakupov “rumor”

November 6, 2013, by

Don’t expect Nail Yakupov to arrive on Broadway

As often happens in the Twitterverse and blogosphere, a pretty harmless tweet set off a frenzy among Rangers fans over the last 36 hours.

A few writers noted that Edmonton president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, GM Craig MacTavish and special adviser Mark Messier(!) were in attendance for New York’s 2-1 loss to the Ducks on Monday night.  Rangers fans immediately began to wonder which Oilers might interest the Rangers.  Larry Brooks fed the embers gasoline with a column debating if trading for Nail Yakupov or Ales Hemsky would appeal to Rangers GM Glen Sather.  Stemming off Brooks’ post, the Edmonton Journal ran a series of articles about the possibility of a Yakupov to New York blockbuster and discussed possible packages that might interest the Oilers including the likes of Chris Kreider and Michael Del Zotto.  And the rumormongers took it from there.

Sure, it’s probably pretty likely that Sather and other members of the Rangers brass have talked about how great it would be to have a young goal-scoring talent like Yakupov, especially with New York’s offense struggling.  Sather may have even mentioned that to the Oilers contingent in attendance.  But a deal is almost certainly not going to happen.

Yakupov hasn’t been very good in Edmonton, but the #1 pick still obviously has sublime talent and hasn’t fallen so far out of favor that the Oilers are ready to just give him away.

No, any package for Yakupov would have to include defensive help for the porous Oilers.  To acquire Yakupov, the Rangers would need to give up one of Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi or Michael Del Zotto.  New York’s defensive depth is already a bit of a concern, so the Rangers really can’t consider moving any of those four, which should be pretty much the end of the story.

Of them, Del Zotto is probably the most expendable, but he has less value than the others – plus the Oilers have a very similar (only better) player in Justin Schultz.  And if the Oilers did want Del Zotto, he would only be part of a bigger package – New York would also need to include another player, maybe J.T. Miller.  Again, pretty unlikely.

Even if the Rangers deemed those players expendable for some reason, going all-in on Yakupov, specifically, doesn’t make a ton of sense.  Yakupov has already earned a reputation for being selfish and hard to coach in just his second season.  That is likely pretty concerning to an organization that has rebuilt itself around guys like Ryan Callahan, on very strong core principles.  And don’t forget, Ilya Kovalchuk may have paved the way for more Russians to return home – Yakupov’s NHL future has to be looked at cautiously.

Could the Rangers be after Hemsky?  It’s a little more likely.  Hemsky’s $5 million expiring cap hit is a concern, but under the new CBA, the Oilers (who are $4 million under the cap) can eat some of Hemsky’s money.  Hemsky has always had a hard time staying healthy, but he could provide instant offense at a much cheaper price.

So considering the Ducks were starting their third string goalie and already have Jonas Hiller, Viktor Fasth and John Gibson, doesn’t it seem a lot more likely that Edmonton was in the house looking for an upgrade over the struggling Devin Dubnyk?

"Debunking the Nail Yakupov "rumor"", 4 out of 5 based on 6 ratings.


  1. Prustyballs94 says:

    I honestly think Girardi is the most expendable. He is constantly getting pinned in his own zone due to his inability to pass or skate. Also, he is going to be a UFA after this season and as much as I like him, I really don’t want to be the team largely overpaying him, especially since he is only to get worse as he gets older. That being said, it will be very hard to replace him in the lineup…our defense would look something like this

    Staal-Del Zotto

    Not sure how that would work out.

    • Centerman21 says:

      What is it that makes everyone think Girardi is going to command such a huge contract? Only the point scoring Dmen get those big deals and McDonagh got $4.7 per last summer. I have to think with all the UFA’s the Rangers have this summer, Girardi is likely playing his final year on Broadway. I could see the Islanders paying him but he is only having trouble with the new strategy AV uses. He was always good in his own zone. He is still on the top pairing for a reason. His value has to be at a career low right now. If it continues, he shouldn’t get too much.

  2. neal says:

    Would trade for yakupov, if the package was right. Remember you have to give to get.

  3. WilliamW says:

    I agree it is more likely they were there to watch the Ducks than the Rangers

    However, bringing Yakupov in would be a major upgrade to the scoring wings, the trouble is the Rangers don’t have the depth on defense to do something like that

    The Oilers would likely start by asking for Staal/Girardi + Miller + 1st round pick (2015)

    Think that is reasonable but the lack of RDs in the system makes it a tough one to pull the trigger on

  4. Bloomer says:

    Please no Yakupov. He is soft, doesn’t backcheck and has what 2 goals this year. I doubt we will even see him in the NHL in a few years after the Oilers and other teams give up on him. Attitude is everything in hockey and Yakupov has one but not in the positive way.
    Trading for Yakupov is a step backwards for the Rangers.

  5. The Suit says:

    We should be trading for a right handed defenseman not giving one away in Girardi. This rumor is simply that.

    • RangerSmurf says:

      Hemsky’s a nice fit though, the PP desperately needs another RH shot. He might be semi-cheap to acquire, and has as much talent (when healthy) as anyone.

      • Walt says:

        Hensky is soft, and has been mentioned in trades for years, while no other team has jumped! WHY?

      • Dave says:

        $5m cap hit is a deterrent.

      • The Suit says:

        Yea the power play really needs a guy who has avg 38 games the last 5 years.

        • RangerSmurf says:

          3rd line + PP1 minutes at 50% of cost (max allowed)? I think he could provide a boost.

          I’m not saying give up anything of worth to get him, but if it costs a Bourque/Yogan/St Croix level prospect + a mid round pick, I think reward >> risk.

          • Dave says:

            Need to throw in a roster player for this to work. Some salary needs to come off the books for Hemsky’s $2.5m (if they take 50%) to come on.

  6. phil says:

    that kid has KHL written all over him….stay away

  7. Bloomer says:

    I don’t why Sather hasn’t signed any of his unrestricted free agents yet namely: Girardi, Boyle, Cally and Hank. Is it because the players are really asking too much or is Sather just dicking them around?

    The Sedins have just signed for new contract extensions each getting 4 years at 7 million per. It wasn’t a stupid contract that takes them into their 40’s like Sather signed Richards too.

    I know I keep repeating it, but the fundamental problem with the Ranger franchise is its GM and president. It’s time for a change.

    • Kevin says:

      What difference does it make? What pending UFA that the Rangers actually wanted to keep chose to go elsewhere over NY when it came down to it? Prust is about it, and the money there was crazy. Why not wait to make sure those guys are healthy and producing before investing long-term?
      It’s not an unfair way of doing business, it’s just smart.

      • Dave says:

        For most of them I agree. Cally and Hank are the two where you should break your own rules. My own opinion.

        • Kevin says:

          I’m with you, I’d absolutely do it for them too. I just don’t get why fans always want to lock everyone up so far in advance. Makes no sense.

  8. Pete says:

    Kevin, I think you’re a bit off on this post, and I was waiting for a BSB post on this particular subject.

    First I agree with Prusty that Girardi would be a better candidate and more expendable because of his age and FA status (and the probable raise he is going to look for at seasons end) and the fact that he just doesnt fit this new system well.

    Miller, while a nice young talent, shouldn’t be a roadblock for a guy like Yak. Besides, with guys like Hrivik and Kristo in the system isn’t Miller a bit redundant?

    Also, where is the “uncoachable” thing coming from? It seems like its a bit of bs. Just cuz the guy has had a rough start to year under a new coach doesn’t make him uncoachable. Was he also uncoachable when he lead the Oilers in scoring last year? Didn’t hear much on that front back then..

    Changes are going to be made, and with the deafening silence on Nash coupled with the scoring ineptitude you figure something will go down, whether its Hemsky, Yak or whomever.

    Personally I feel Yak is without a doubt a elite talent and also 20 years old! There will be some growing pains, of course, but if the team has a chance to get someone like that for a Girardi/MDZ/Miller you would have to be a over-valuing homer to say that trade isn’t a no-brainer.

    • Kevin says:

      Trade Girardi and how does the D look? It’s not that Girardi/Miller is unfair value for Yakupov, it’s that it’s a deal the team can’t make right now without crippling itself.
      Miller/Hrivik/Kristo all have very different games.

      • Pete says:

        Has Girardi been that much of a difference maker this year that the D would collapse without him? There are guys in the system that can step in and some that will step up. Do you really think the team will re-sign him at the end of the year? If you think yes, then I understand you, personally I don’t see it.

        I know Miller/Hrivik/Kristo have different games but the similarity is they are all mid-6 guys and the team has a plethora of them, which is what I was referring to…

        • Kevin says:

          Who in the system is ready to step up? Bickel? Aaron Johnson? Danny Syvret? All career minor leagues. Dylan McIlrath still very obviously isn’t ready. I don’t think Moore are Stralman have been very good at all, don’t think they are anywhere near top-4 material right now. And Justin Falk doesn’t belong in an NHL lineup.

          • Pete says:

            Conner Allen? I’m not sure but I’m willing to bet that finding a serviceable 3rd pairing D-man isn’t as hard as finding another Yak.

            • Kevin says:

              That’s the point, Girardi isn’t a 3rd pairing D. He’s at best a #1, at worst a #3. Pretty hard to find. Haven’t heard much from Allen in Hartford, I think it’s best he gets a full year of development.

    • Steven Cifuentes says:

      Agree 100% on this post. The one strength of this team is Defense. If the Oilers want NHL talent for Yak I would trade a Dman over a forward that has offensive potential (Kreider).

      If Rangers cannot survive with Mac Truck/Staal/MDZ and John Moore as a top 4 and bring a Conner Allen/Mcirath up to fill a bottom 2 role then maybe our D is not as good as we all think.

      I think the trade for John Moore makes a defensmen expendable.

      Girardi or MDZ amd Miller and a 1st Rounder for Yak and a Anton Belev or one of their bottom 2 dmen sign me up NOW.

      I am tired of 2-1 losses with Hank and D playing well just to lose as we cannot score.

  9. Walt says:


    I’d ship MDZ for an Eberle, or some other young talent, along with one of our picks, but Miller, Kreider, or any other kid would be out of the question.

    As for the Yakupov kid, he is self centered, soft, not willing to bust his hump, and a cancer, do we really need that crap in our locker room??
    Did you know they named a street after him, ONE WAY? Phil said it best, he has KHL written all over him, and I can smell it here through my computer, now that is bad!

    • RangerSmurf says:

      Eberle’s has as one-way tendencies as a player as Yakupov, but he’s Canadian, so he gets a pass from the Canadian media.

      That’s the thing to keep in mind, a lot of the Oilers beat writers are ‘good ol’ boys,’ and have been running Yak out of town since the day he was drafted. So the nonsense about him being uncoachable is very likely just that, nonsense.

      But lets say he has an issue in the locker room; Who do you think is better to set him straight, the Oilers team that’s made up of a bunch of kids his age, or the Rangers team that has solid veteran presence up and down the lineup?

      • Walt says:

        I don’t follow the Oilers, and their press, so there may some truth to what you say. I’m not keen on Russians, never have been. In the end, I liked Kovi, but he showed his true colors as well, so I’m not willing to trade for someone who may jump ship first chance he gets!

        Think about this, the Pens sign Igor to the max in terms of money, and years. He then says that someday he would like to play in New York, WTF, if your in that organization what would you think????

        • RangerSmurf says:

          FWIW, the Oilers are my “Western” team so to speak, so I follow them pretty close.

          As for Malkin, here’s what I’d think:

          • Dave says:

            I take it you aren’t a fan.

            • RangerSmurf says:

              ah, I’m saying I don’t really care what Malkin says to the media, nor should his organization in this case.

              How many players tell you they rooted for other teams as a kid? I’m sure there’s half a dozen players on the Rangers now who could say “Oh, someday it’d be nice to play in xyz city.” It means nothing in the grand scheme of things.

          • Walt says:

            So then you speak from a point of being informed about Yuk, that I respect.

      • Kevin says:

        I love everything about this comment

  10. Erixon20 says:

    I’d lose DZ plus in order to grab Yak, as long as that plus is not Chris Kreider. NYR needs scoring, end of story, and they have D to deal. With the addition of John Moore, DZ is expendable, as NYR are still icing 5 solid NHL Dmen and can find a #6 in Falk for now and hopefully McIlrath sooner than later. While I think DZ will become a very good NHL Dman, I also think he is our biggest expendable chip for the reasons stated above. The Oilers have surplus top 6 forwards, are short on D, and like DZ, so they are the perfect trading partners.

  11. Hatrick Swayze says:

    “So considering the Ducks were starting their third string goalie and already have Jonas Hiller, Viktor Fasth and John Gibson, doesn’t it seem a lot more likely that Edmonton was in the house looking for an upgrade over the struggling Devin Dubnyk?”

    ^^^^ THIS!!!

    People are too excitable these days…

    • Pete says:

      Yeah, they traveled across the country to scout Anaheim…

      • Erixon20 says:

        …good point

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Pete, I see that Kevin pretty much covered this before I could but this is Andersen’s 4th start of the year. Hiller will get his share of games. Fasth will be back from injury soon. It is not like they can get a look at Andersen any game they want. He, at best, will rotate starts until he gets sent back down after Fasth’s return. So last night was a pretty important opportunity that I’m sure they wouldn’t have passed up.

        Also, Kevin noted that they’re on a east coast trip looking at multiple players and clubs. MacTavish is doing work for Team Canada (it is an Olympic year remember) and was looking at E. Staal and Giroux last night during the CAR/PHI game.

        Alot of factors here, none of which you seem to mention or acknowledge….

  12. Dave says:

    MacT was scouting for Team Canada. Oilers need a goalie.

  13. Erixon20 says:

    Yes, probably scouting the Ducks is the most likely scenario.

  14. TxRanger says:

    Oilers want Lundqvist. Rumor is he said he’s walking, so trade me now. Oilers are putting up Gagner, Hemsky, and Yakupov to get him. Kyle Jean is being thrown in there.

    • TxRanger says:

      I’m kidding. This Yakupov guy is the new Nik Zherdev.

      • Erixon20 says:

        And DelZotto is what exactly? I still say DZ is expendable, as in NYR has D, needs O. I don’t care if it’s for Yak (I would take that risk, doubtful Edm would), but he s/b moved for some scoring. Eberle is not going anywhere.

      • VinceR says:

        That sir, was an excellent troll job (you just should have waited an extra couple of minutes to really yank the rug out 😉 )

      • Pete says:

        Thats a pretty comical statement there Tx.

  15. Gary says:

    Ref a post yesterday: “Please name the 4-6 goalies you think are better than Hank.” –Dave.

    “You hear that Dave? It’s the sound of crickets.” –Other commenter.

    Jeez, I don’t have time to monitor the blog all day. Give me chance, man. 😉

    Did not say they were better than Hank. Said he’s in the top 5-7 and over rated, i.e. hype. Rask, Quick, Niemi, Price. Okay, so Hank is in the top 5.

    It is probably the way people talk about Hank that I am reacting to. He’s a goalie, a damned good one who has not been invincible enough to win a cup. Not his fault, but LA may not have won, but for Quick. Boston but for Thomas, etc.

    I just get tired of hearing about how Hank carries the team. He has not done that so far this year and the team needs to be a team, not a bunch of middle of the roaders in front of a goalie god.

    • Dave says:

      Boston and LA were much deeper and better teams than the Rangers. Even the 2012 team was very flawed and overachieved.

  16. cheech733 says:

    “I don’t really like playing without the puck, skate all the time and do forecheck and hit somebody every shift… I don’t think it’s my game.”

    -Nail Yakupov

    no thanks on this guy

    • Pete says:

      Yeah cuz when Gaborik got here he was so known for doing all of that. Only fools were complaining when he introduced rubber to twine over 40 times, twice.

    • Kevin says:

      a 20 year old with elite goal scoring ability doesn’t like to backcheck, probably because he doesn’t know how yet, I’m shocked

  17. Al says:

    McKenzie,Dreger,Kiper, hockey night in canada hot stove and sportsnet hot stove all are reporting at Same Thing over the last 3 day! If Everybody smells the smoke there’s fire!!!!!

    • Dave says:

      Case of one person writing something and others saying that the one guy wrote about it.

  18. Steven Cifuentes says:

    So tired of the kid does not play D, the kid does not conform. The Oilers are all a bunch of kids. You think he will walk into the Rangers dressing room with Cally/Richards and Hank and try to run the show or not play hard.

    We have plenty of two way players..not every player needs to be a 2 way player. WE NEED SCORING. The kid lead his team in scoring his rookie year. Get it done Glen, I am already tired of 2-1 losses.

    • Pete says:

      Agreed, everyone wants every player to do EVERYTHING, its so comical. So now-a-days, its not enough that someone is a all world talent if he doesn’t do everything (at 20 years old non-the-less)then poo on him, he’s trash, doesnt matter that he can actually do the one thing almost everyone else cant, score. Complete joke.

  19. Al says:

    On TSN radio 1260 they are reporting that Gagner, Hemsky, Yakupov and Steve MacIntyre are all names that Sather and MacT are talking about

    • RangerSmurf says:

      Oh for the love of god no MacIntyre. He makes Mashinter and Dorsett look like Hall of Fame caliber talent.

      Gagner’s interesting as it would allow Richards back at wing full time, but his defense has fallen off a cliff the last two seasons, for reasons unknown.(beyond Edmonton sucks)

      • Dave says:

        Makes you wonder if individual stats are affected by the overall suckiness of a team.

        • RangerSmurf says:

          Teammates certainly have an effect, but the team sucked 3-4 years ago too, and he was fine.

          Kruger took a hatchet to the whole team’s development last year, so I’m willing to throw out last year, but it’s disconcerting that he hasn’t rebounded under Eakins. (although he missed a lot of camp with a new coach, so that’s possibly it as well)

    • Erixon20 says:

      no Kreider no Kreider no Kreider

  20. Walt says:

    And the debate goes on!!

    I’ll believe it when it happends, and not before!

  21. Mikeyyy says:

    Not to mention that Eklund also posted something. So we know its false.

  22. TxRanger says:

    personally, i hope we get this guy. he’s so good, and if it’ll only cost us say del zotto’s over-rated ass, then lets do it.

  23. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Kreider will have a better career then Nail Yak.Why would the Oilers trade Yak,he just got there,is their a problem?