The Edmonton Oilers traded Nail Yakupov to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a third round pick and Zach Pochiro, who has played 44 games in the ECHL!
This reaches an absurdity level almost as close as the Taylor Hall trade. The Oilers never truly gave Yakupov a real opportunity. He often found himself on the third line, and after a year of speculation, he’s traded to a Western Conference competitor in the St. Louis Blues.
At only 23 years young, Yakupov is a special talent, and will probably excel with the Blues. Yakupov scored 31 points in the lockout shortened season, and hasn’t been able to find an offensive production near that level in a full season.
Expect to hear some comments from Yakupov that he was never truly believed in. And rightly so.
Imagine if Yakupov played a full season alongside McDavid in 2016-17. You could argue that Yakupov should be able to produce on his own, but it goes back to the Taylor Hall concept. The Oilers should have surrounded Yakupov with the right players in order for him to succeed, and now the new management has bailed on him.
The Oilers continue to make questionable decisions. They’re expected to sign defenceman Kris Russell to a one-year, $3.1M deal, after they already have a bottom pairing defenceman in Andrej Sekera locked up for five more years at a 5.5 million-dollar cap hit. So much for leaving room for Darnell Nurse and Brandon Davidson.
Look out for Yakupov to have a good season with the Blues.