Edmonton (1-4-1) lost both games without Yakupov in the lineup, 6-5 in overtime to Toronto Saturday and 4-2 Sunday in Washington.
The decision by Eakins to scratch the 20-year-old former first overall pick has led to all sorts of conjecture, from the chances of a trade to even the possibility that Yakupov returns to Russia to play in the KHL.
In reality, Yakupov was first scratched after four games in which he failed to register a point. Then, after the Oilers played well enough to win versus the Leafs, Eakins scratched him again for the Washington game.
We won’t completely discount the chances of a trade down the line, if only because the Oilers have so many talented young forwards and are weak in other areas. But for now, let’s see how Yakupov does tonight in Pittsburgh against a Penguins side that could fill the net if Edmonton doesn’t get some halfway decent goaltending.
Dallas Eakins says Yakupov will play tonight.Jesse Joensuu injured and is going back to Edm.Sent Phillipe Larsen down. Recalled Ryan Jones
It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.