Tag: Nail Yakupov

Derek Roy, Nail Yakupov

Yakupov’s a little too young to take McDavid under his wing


Compared to rookie sensation Connor McDavid, Nail Yakupov is a relative veteran of the NHL. Considering his bumpy path through three seasons, it’s no surprise that he’s uncomfortable with the idea of showing McDavid the ropes.

“I don’t think I’ll be a teacher. I’m too young for that,” Yakupov told the Edmonton Journal. “We’ve got lots of old guys to tell him things.”

Actually, judging by his interesting interview with the EJ, the 21-year-old may feel a little wistful that his substitute teachers won’t return to his side in 2015-16.

Yakupov acknowledged the chemistry he eventually developed with Derek Roy, a UFA sitting on the sidelines this summer.

“Especially a guy like Derek, who has played in the league for 10 years. He’s seen everything in the game. He could help a young kid like me,” Yakupov said. Soon as Derek got the puck, I was trying to get open for a shot.

“He gave me so much support and I was happy to be playing hockey again.”

Let’s highlight that last phrase: “I was happy to be playing hockey again.”

Just spit-balling here, but Roy could probably be had for a cheap price, and you could pair Yakupov with him for a third scoring duo outside Taylor Hall – Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle. The veteran and his pupil don’t represent the same threat that those other duos pose, yet they could enjoy some success against lesser opponents.

With Yakupov also needing to adjust from one Todd (Nelson) to another (McLellan), you almost get the impression that the Russian winger got the rug taken out from underneath him.

It’s a fascinating situation to watch, as he’s still very much in a sink-or-swim phase.

Derek Roy’s agent ‘can’t believe nobody in the NHL will sign’ his client

Edmonton Oilers v Pittsburgh Penguins

Derek Roy’s agent understands why his client wasn’t re-signed by the Edmonton Oilers, but he “can’t believe” that one of the other 29 NHL teams won’t give the 32-year-old forward a contract.

“When (Oilers GM) Peter Chiarelli looks down the middle, he’s pretty small there with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, (Connor) McDavid’s not that big, Derek’s not that big, especially playing in the West. But I can’t believe nobody in the NHL will sign Derek,” Rob Hooper told the Edmonton Journal.

Roy started last season with Nashville before he was traded to Edmonton in December. In 46 games with the Oilers, he had 11 goals and 11 assists while earning partial credit for Nail Yakupov’s improved production.

“I was waiting for a center for three years,” Yakupov said in March. “It’s the first time I’ve had a really good center and I’m really happy for it.

“It’s easy to play with him. He can move the puck and he’s really smart. All I have to do is try to get open for a shot.”

Though Hooper concedes it’s “been very quiet for Derek,” he believes that some of that lack of interest can be attributed to the “cap issues” facing a number of teams.

Roy’s salary was just $1 million last season.

The Next One? Oilers take McDavid first overall

2015 NHL Draft - Top Prospects Media Availability

SUNRISE — On Friday night, the Oilers cashed their winning lottery ticket.

Edmonton did the expected to open the 2015 NHL Entry Draft at the BB&T Center, picking OHL Erie wunderkind Connor McDavid with the first overall selection.

In McDavid, Edmonton gets a franchise center that’s routinely drawn comparisons to Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby. McDavid dominated the OHL this season and went on an amazing run during the playoffs, scoring an eye-bulging 21 goals and 49 points in 20 games and put together a highlight reel of goals.

The Oilers won the right to draft McDavid — dubbed a “generational talent” — after winning April’s NHL draft lottery. It marked the fourth time in six years the Oilers earned the right to pick first; previously, they drafted Taylor Hall in 2010, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011 and Nail Yakupov in 2012.

A dynamic player with elite-level skill and speed, it’s expected that McDavid will make an immediate impact in Edmonton next season — and the Oilers will need it. The club has struggled mightily over the last 10 years, failing to make the playoffs while struggling through a number of regime changes.

But the McDavid selection caps off what’s been a summer of transformation. There’s a new GM (Peter Chiarelli), a new head coach (Todd McLellan) and new hope for an organization that hasn’t been to the playoffs in an awfully long time.

Click here to read PHT’s McDavid draft profile.

‘Very quiet’ on Derek Roy-Edmonton front, says agent

Edmonton Oilers v Pittsburgh Penguins

Not a huge surprise, but there hasn’t been much contract talk between Derek Roy and the Edmonton Oilers.

“Nothing to report,” Roy’s agent, Rob Hooper, told PHT on Wednesday. “Very quiet to date.”

It’s easy to understand why. Few teams have undergone more front office changes than Edmonton this offseason — Bob Nicholson was brought in as CEO, Peter Chiarelli was hired as GM and former Sharks bench boss Todd McLellan became the team’s new head coach.

So it stands to reason that, with all this changeover, Edmonton’s decision-makers haven’t had a ton of time to reach out to free agents. With that said, it’ll be interesting to see how the conversation goes once — or, if — they reach out to Roy.

The 32-year-old did enjoy a bounce-back campaign after getting traded to the Oilers in late December. Roy scored 11 goals and 22 points in 46 games, averaged nearly 17 minutes per night and developed some good chemistry with Nail Yakupov, who assisted on eight of Roy’s markers.

“I was waiting for a center for three years,” Yakupov said of playing with Roy, per the Edmonton Sun. “It’s the first time I’ve had a really good center and I’m really happy for it.

“It took us a couple of games to get used to each other and now we’re pretty comfortable. It’s easy to play with him. He can move the puck and he’s really smart. All I have to do is try to get open for a shot.”

Of course, all of this occurred under the Oilers’ old regime. Roy was acquired by now-assistant GM Craig MacTavish — it’s still unclear how big a role he’ll have under Chiarelli — and thrived playing for interim head coach Todd Nelson, who will reportedly explore other head coaching gigs now that McLellan is aboard.

Roy’s efforts also came prior to Edmonton winning the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery, which meant winning the rights to OHL Erie superstar Connor McDavid — who, like Roy, plays center. Edmonton also has 19-year-old center Leon Draisaitl, currently starring with WHL Kelowna at the Memorial Cup, looking to get back to the NHL next year.

Should he head to free agency, Roy would be in a class loaded with veterans. It would be curious to see how much his mini-revival with Edmonton sparked interest league-wide, especially after disappointing stints in St. Louis and Nashville.

Yakupov’s KHL rights acquired by powerhouse CSKA (Updated)


Bit of interesting news out of Russia — per the KHL website, the rights to Oilers forward Nail Yakupov have been acquired by one of the league’s biggest clubs, CSKA Moscow.

Yakupov’s rights were acquired from Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik, the team he played for during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign. Since then, the 21-year-old has spent three seasons in Edmonton and recently inked a two-year, $5 million extension with the Oilers that runs through 2017.

The first overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Yakupov’s had some difficult times in Edmonton but seemed to turn a corner at the end of last season (which coincided with the coaching change from Dallas Eakins to Todd Nelson). He scored 21 points over his final 31 games of the season, and earned praise from both Edmonton’s coaching staff and upper management.

Since then, though, the Oilers have undergone some significant changes. Peter Chiarelli has replaced Craig MacTavish as GM and, last month, the club won the draft lottery — and the subsequent right to select Connor McDavid first overall in June.

As for the club acquiring Yakupov’s KHL rights, CSKA is home to the likes of ex-NHLers Alex Radulov, Stephane Da Costa, Evgeny Artyukhin and Andreas Engqvist, and rolled through the regular season this year with a league-high 139 points.

Updated: Replying to our inquiry, Yakupov’s agent Igor Larionov called the move a “standard rights transaction,” adding he was unaware the transaction had been made.