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.
It appears Todd Nelson has found a landing spot.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nelson will be the next head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Detroit Red Wings have been in search of a coach for their AHL affiliate after Jeff Blashill was promoted last week.
Nelson led the Edmonton Oilers to a 17-25-9 record in 42 games during the 2014-15 season.
Edmonton gave Nelson permission to explore other opportunities after hiring Todd McLellan.
Prior to joining the Oilers, Nelson coached the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons to a 161-105-42 between 2010-14.
The 46-year-old reportedly spoke to the Pittsburgh Penguins about their coaching vacancy in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last week.
According to Peter J. Wallner of MLive.com, Nelson was the first player in franchise history to be signed to a contract by the Griffins prior to the 1996-97 season.
Nelson appeared in 236 games with the Griffins as a player over four parts of seasons scoring 11 goals and 56 assists to go along with 123 penalty minutes.
The Griffins are expected to formally introduce Nelson as the club’s head coach at a press conference later this week.
Related: Leafs fill out coaching staff, hire Hiller, Smith and Brewer
With the Edmonton Oilers currently searching for assistant coaches, former NHLer Fernando Pisani has voiced his interest in joining the club according to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal.
Edmonton fired assistant coaches Keith Acton and Craig Ramsay last week.
It was believed Todd Nelson would be considered for a role on Todd McLellan’s staff; however, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been granted permission to interview Nelson for their vacancy with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Jay Woodcroft, who was with McLellan in San Jose, is expected to join the Oilers, but there could still be room for Pisani, if the club is interested.
Pisani served as an assistant coach with the University of Alberta Golden Bears men’s hockey team during the 2014-15 season.
The 38-year-old spent parts of seven seasons with the Oilers during his playing days. Pisani played a significant role in the Oilers reaching the 2006 Stanley Cup Final scoring 14 goals and 18 points in 24 playoff games.
The Edmonton Oilers front office overhaul continued on Thursday.
The club announced it has relieved Associate Coach Keith Acton and Assistant Coach Craig Ramsay of their duties. The pair were hired by former head coach Dallas Eakins who was fired in December.
Today’s moves could pave the way for Todd Nelson to return to the club.
Nelson was given permission to explore other opportunities following the hiring of Todd McLellan.
However, hockey insider Darren Dreger reported on Tuesday that Nelson has had discussions with the Oilers about joining McLellan’s staff.
Jay Woodcroft, who was an assistant with McLellan in San Jose, is also expected to join the Oilers’ staff.
Following the Edmonton Oilers hiring of Todd McLellan as head coach, Todd Nelson was given permission by the hockey club to explore other opportunities.
Nelson led the Oilers to a 17-25-9 record after taking over from Dallas Eakins in December.
According to hockey insder Darren Dreger, Nelson could re-join the oilers as part of McLellan’s staff.
Here’s more from Dreger’s Insider Trading segment:
He still has three years remaining on his AHL contract with Edmonton and I’m told that there’s been some discussion with Todd McLellan and he could be back on the Oilers’ bench helping Todd McLellan.
Prior to joining the Oilers, Nelson coached Edmonton’s AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons, to a 161-105-42 record over parts of three seasons.