Despite what his agent said yesterday, Nail Yakupov says he doesn’t want to be traded. He wants to play for the Edmonton Oilers.
“I just want to help my team win every game,” the 20-year-old said today, per the club’s Twitter account. “I love this city and I want to play for this team.”
As mentioned, that flies somewhat in the face of remarks his agent, Igor Larionov, made in an interview with ESPN.
“We’re willing to make a move,” Larionov said. “Any team. That happens and that’s part of life.”
Then again, Yakupov wasn’t entirely acquiescent in his comments today. He wants to play more than the 10 or 11 minutes he’s been logging in recent games, and he thinks he deserves to.
The first overall pick in the 2012 draft, Yakupov has been the subject of intense trade speculation as both he and the Oilers have struggled out of the gate. Suffice to say, his agent’s comments only added to that speculation.
Our take? Even if Larionov was only being realistic — after all, trades do happen in pro sports — he didn’t exactly make Yakupov sound committed to the Oilers. And for a kid whose “team game” has been called “really, really poor,” well, parallels are bound to be drawn.
Edmonton hosts Dallas tomorrow.
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.