Jason Brough

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 25:  Nail Yakupov #10 of the Edmonton Oilers reacts after a missed chance to score during the third period of a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on February 25, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Where will Yakupov end up? (Because he’s probably getting traded)


Whether it happens today or in the summer, nobody will be surprised if Nail Yakupov is traded.

The Edmonton Oilers have already moved out one of their “players who have underachieved and may need a new venue,” as GM Peter Chiarelli put it the other day. On Saturday, Chiarelli sent defenseman Justin Schultz to Pittsburgh.

Yakupov, the first overall pick in 2012, has just five goals in 42 games this season. The 22-year-old has 47 goals in 234 career NHL games.

The Montreal Canadiens are one team that’s come up in speculation. Yakupov was a junior teammate of Habs forward Alex Galchenyuk, who went third overall in 2012. The Sabres and Devils have also reportedly shown interest.

Despite Yakupov’s less-than-impressive offensive numbers this season, and despite his less-than-stellar defensive reputation, there will be teams who see a talented player that could possibly be turned around, just like the Pens saw with Schultz.

What’s unclear is a potential return. On the one hand, this is a guy who not long ago was deemed the top prospect in all of hockey. On the other, so was Alexandre Daigle when he was Yakupov’s age.

Yakupov is signed through next season for a cap hit of $2.5 million, after which he can become a restricted free agent.

Trade: Kings bring back Scuderi, send Ehrhoff to the Blackhawks

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11:  Rob Scuderi #7 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates with the Stanley Cup in the locker room after the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game Six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at the Staples Center on June 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings won the series 4-2. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI/ Pool/Getty Images)

It’s official — the Los Angeles Kings have acquired defenseman Rob Scuderi from the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Christian Ehrhoff.

The Kings announced the deal this afternoon. To make room for Scuderi on the 23-man roster, they assigned d-man Kevin Gravel to AHL Ontario.

Scuderi won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012, when he played all 20 playoff games and logged an average of 21:44 in ice time under head coach Darryl Sutter.

Of course, that was then and this is now. Scuderi turned 37 in December. He’s already been traded twice this season, first from Pittsburgh, and now from Chicago. Earlier this month, he cleared waivers and was assigned to the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate in Rockford.

The Blackhawks also announced the deal; however, they did not share their immediate plans for Ehrhoff, 33. Like Scuderi, he cleared waivers and was sent to the AHL earlier this month.

No word yet on any salary retention in this deal. Scuderi is signed through next season for a cap hit to the Kings of $2.25 million. Ehrhoff is a pending unrestricted free agent with a cap hit of $1.5 million.


Flyers could get Giroux back Saturday, but now Voracek is hurt

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux

Jakub Voracek has a lower-body injury and will not play for the Flyers Saturday versus the Coyotes, the club announced this afternoon.

The 26-year-old winger will be re-evaluated on Monday.

Voracek had one assist and logged 18:59 of ice time in yesterday’s 3-2 victory over the Wild, but he was reportedly limping after the game.

For the player, it means the end of a 286-game iron-man streak that dates back to Mar. 13, 2012. For the team, it means the loss of their second-leading scorer during a stretch of home games that could determine whether they make the playoffs.

The good news for the Flyers is that captain Claude Giroux could be back Saturday. He practiced with teammates today after missing the last three games with a suspected concussion.

“There’s a chance he’ll play tomorrow,” GM Ron Hextall told reporters.

Blackhawks and Kings reportedly working on Scuderi-for-Ehrhoff trade

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, right, stops a shot as teammate Christian Ehrhoff, of Germany, and Columbus Blue Jackets' Scott Hartnell watch during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, in Los Angeles. The Blue Jackets won 3-2. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly in the process of acquiring veteran defenseman Christian Ehrhoff from the Los Angeles Kings in return for veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi.

One might actually call this an AHL trade, since both Ehrhoff and Scuderi cleared waivers earlier this month and were sent to the minors.

Assuming the transaction goes through, it’s not clear what either club has planned for its respective new blue-liner. Will he be called up? Will he stay buried? We don’t know yet.

Scuderi, of course, won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012.

For the Blackhawks, the move does have the potential to clear some cap space for next season:

But according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, we’ll have to wait on all the details:

So…we’ll wait.

Related: Blackhawks waive Scuderi; will Bowman try to add a d-man?

Armstrong won’t keep Steen, Elliott on LTIR for cap space

Martin Brodeur Retirement Press Conference

Blues GM Doug Armstrong has no plans to keep Alex Steen and Brian Elliott on long-term injured reserve until the end of the regular season, even though doing that could free up cap space to add players prior to Monday’s trade deadline.

“We want to get them back as quick as possible,” Armstrong told reporters yesterday (video). “I want to get Steen playing — and he wants to play — so if and when we make the playoffs he’s going to be up to form.

“Same with Elliott. He’s probably the best goaltender, statistically, over the last two months. We don’t want his first game back to be a playoff game, with six or seven weeks off.”

Last year, the Chicago Blackhawks kept Patrick Kane on LTIR until the postseason. He broke his clavicle Feb. 24; his first game back was Game 1 of the first round against Nashville on Apr. 15. In between, the ‘Hawks were able to add Kimmo Timonen, Antoine Vermette and Andrew Desjardins.

Chicago, of course, went on the win the Stanley Cup.

Armstrong was asked if he thought the Blues — if they don’t add at the deadline, but if they can get healthy by the playoffs — were a contender.

His reply was cautiously optimistic.

“The reality is you get to the playoffs and you need health, and you need your good players to play well,” he said. “But you have to go through a murderers’ row here in the Central, that’s just the reality of it.”

St. Louis has lost three straight years in the first round, so Armstrong is quite familiar with that reality.

Related: ‘Let’s live to fight another day’