Nail Yakupov’s agent, Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov, will reportedly head to Edmonton to discuss how his client is being used by the Oilers, according to ESPN’s Craig Custance.
What’s more, he’s also willing to explore the option of a trade if the club is unhappy with his client.
“We’re willing to make a move,” Larionov explained. “Any team. That happens and that’s part of life.”
Yakupov’s sophomore campaign in Edmonton has been filled with drama. New head coach Dallas Eakins has twice made Yakupov a healthy scratch, there’s been a flurry of trade rumors and the Russian winger’s production has fallen off — he’s on pace for just nine goals and 18 points this season, which would be a major decrease after posting 17 goals and 31 points in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign.
(Oh yeah, there was also Russian Olympic scout Igor Kravchuk telling an Ottawa radio station that Yakupov “has to make up his mind, if he’s not going to change his game, then he has no future [in the NHL],” and “from what I see, his team game is really, really poor.”)
Recently, Yakupov has seen a major reduction in ice time, getting just 10:46 in a 4-2 loss to Philly and 10:54 in a 5-4 loss to Chicago. He did score his second goal of the season against the ‘Hawks, however.
It’ll be interesting to see what comes from the Larionov meeting. Oilers GM Craig “man of action” MacTavish is clearly unimpressed with his club so far — he’s recently traded defenseman Ladislav Smid to clear space for the signing of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov — but Eakins has already gone public and said any Yakupov trade rumor is “100 percent untrue.”
As for Larionov, he’s well-respected within hockey circles but is relatively new to the agent game, having only served in the capacity for a few years.