If Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini can improve his team, and improve it now, he’s willing to trade the Oilers’ first overall pick.
Which is to say, he’s willing to trade Nail Yakupov.
“We’ll be listening to other teams’ ideas,” Tambellini said, as reported by Postmedia. “I’m excited. I’ve been thinking about this for a lot of hours now. We have a wonderful opportunity where we’re accumulating some elite players and we can leave this draft with a significant piece or package.
“If I have an option to get a solid pick and someone to help the current club, I have to strongly look at that. You listen to comments from players post-season. I think Taylor Hall was saying, ‘Yeah, we’ve got these good young kids, but I want to win. I want to show we can win in this city now.’ That’s leadership.”
For all the young talent the Oilers boast up front, they’ve got gaping holes on the back end. And if the Oilers want to start winning now, they might not want to draft a defenseman and wait for him to develop if they can get an established top-four defender. Or, at least a prospect that’s a little further along.