Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov has gone public with who he thinks the Oilers should take first overall at the upcoming draft — OHL scoring sensation Nail Yakupov.
“They’ve got to start to make the playoffs and start to play better as a team and be more consistent,” Larionov told TSN 1050. “I think Nail would be the perfect candidate [for them]. He can get right in the line-up and play hockey with all those young guys.”
Coincidentally, Larionov is the agent representing Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk, another projected top-10 pick.
(Which I’m sure has nothing to do with this.)
While the Oilers are interested in Yakupov — Larionov said his client would visit Edmonton after the NHL Draft Combine — adding talent up front isn’t an immediate need. The club already has the likes of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (19 years old), Taylor Hall (20), Jordan Eberle (22) and Sam Gagner (22) in its top six and desperately needs help on defense.
Ergo, the club might consider taking Everett blueliner Ryan Murray, who Oilers president Kevin Lowe has raved about.
While the prospect of adding Murray is enticing, Larionov says an Edmonton team with Yakupov in the mix would be something special.
“It’s fun to watch them and it kind of reminds me of the Edmonton Oilers of the early 80s and the Red Army team after Lake Placid,” he said. “There were so many young guys and we were very successful because [we] had hockey sense and skill and speed and desire to be successful.”
John Tortorella had no time for questions after blowout loss (Video)
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Former NHL defenseman Zarley Zalapski has died at age 49, according to the Calgary Flames. No cause of death was given.
Zalapski, a native of Edmonton, played 637 NHL games for Calgary, Pittsburgh, Hartford, Montreal and Philadelphia from 1987 to 2000.
He was with the Flames from 1993 to 1998.
“We are proud that Zarley wore the Flames jersey, made Calgary his home following his playing career, represented our alumni executive and we will always remember him as a member of the Flames family,” Flames president and chief executive officer Ken King said Tuesday in a statement.
“This is a terrible loss of a man with great character who truly loved the game of hockey. We express our sincere condolences to the Zalapski family.”
Zalapski was a member of the Canadian team that finished fourth in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
He had 99 goals, 285 assists and 684 penalty minutes in the NHL. Zalapski was named to the all-rookie team in 1989 and participated in the NHL All-Star Game in 1993.
Zalapski played stints in Austria and Switzerland after his NHL career and appeared in 11 games for the United Hockey League’s Kalamazoo Wings in 2004-05.
He was the fourth overall pick by the Penguins in the 1986 entry draft.
Taylor Hall puts on a show as Devils end Kings’ winning streak
The New Jersey Devils put an end to the Los Angeles Kings’ eight-game winning streak on Tuesday night with a rather convincing 5-1 win.
The Devils dominated in pretty much every aspect of the game, limiting the Kings to just 17 shots on goal and scoring five goals against a team that had not allowed more than two goals (and never more than three) during its winning streak.
The star of the game for the Devils was most certainly forward Taylor Hall.
Hall continued what could be a career year with a pair of goals, including this highlight reel play in the second period that saw him force a turnover, split through the Kings’ defense (including Drew Doughty!), then beat Jonathan Quick with a backhander.
With that performance on Tuesday Hall is now up to 11 goals and 31 total points on the season.
His first year with the Devils wasn’t quite what he or the team wanted, but he has bounced back in a big way this season. His performance, along with the development of young players Nico Hischier, Will Butcher, and Jesper Bratt have the Devils back on track to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season.