1: Nail Yakupov
Oct 17, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; Edmonton Oilers right wing Nail Yakupov (64) controls the puck between New York Islanders defensemanLubomir Visnovsky
(11) and centerCasey Cizikas
(53) during the second period of a game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
During the first 15 games of the Oilers’ season, one thing has become apparent: Nail Yakupov is the odd man out. In a nutshell, his flashy, spotlight-hogging style of play does not fit with his fellow Oilers players, Head Coach Dallas Eakins, or the fans of the team. Puck control, lack of grit, and poor judgement are the main decisions that the 2012 1st overall draft pick hasn’t seen any success yet this year, and it will continue until he changes his act, or is wearing different colors. The snowball of media attention and trade speculation was at it’s peak on Friday night when the Oilers battled the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yakupov caught a pass coming out of the defensive zone, then jumped out of the way to avoid a check, giving up the puck to Steven Stamkos, who had no trouble taking it the other way for a goal. Yakupov has yet to reach his full potential as a player, because his speedy, skilled game isn’t suited for the Oilers’ gritty, two-way playing style. Markets like New Jersey or Nashville could use a player like Yakupov, as he would provide a big offensive boost to those clubs, playing with their top lines. For now, he wears the orange and blue, but it might not be for long: Nail Yakupov needs to go.
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