Saturday’s deadline looms, and there isn’t much hope on the horizon. The Edmonton Oilers are split down the middle; guys who can’t afford to miss a year’s salary because they are in the final half of their careers, and guys who just starting their career and who can’t get rusty. And so none of the players look forward to any kind of work stoppage.
Currently, only Nail Yakupov has come out and said that he will play in Europe, the KHL more specifically should the NHL season be cancelled. The rest, many are preparing to receive an assignment to the AHL and the Oklahoma City Barons.
Cross another name off of the list of young players that the Oilers need to ink up long term as Lady Byng candidate sophomore Jordan Eberle has signed his extension. While Eberle’s agent may have gone into negotiations with the intentions of signing Eberle to more money than Hall based on their current production to date, Eberle has in fact signed a deal quite similar to his roommate, teammate and friend Taylor Hall, 6 years $36 million.
First overall 2012 draft pick Nail Yakupov is once again the headline in several Edmonton news stories, but not for his phenomenal play at the Perry Pearn’s 3 on 3 hockey camp. No, that’s not the Oiler way these days. It seems that Yakupov sustained a treadmill injury, quite simply we are told that he fell off after losing his balance. The first report of this story said that he received scrapes to his shin and unfortunately, but reasonably the cut inflicted by the treadmill, or hitting the floor became infected.
With all of the sweat and bacteria living in health clubs between cleaning it’s easy to understand how a minor injury can get a little more complicated, but the story itself seems to be getting a little more complicated after the Edmonton Sun reported that the Oilers say that Yakupov is in fact not recovering from anything and has resumed training once again.
Yakupov’s tweet last night seems to confirm that everything is in fact alright “Guys !) I’m ok !))) don’t worry !)))))))))))))).” So it’s back to CBA and contract extension watching we go.
The first of the young guns have re-upped with the Oilers, telling the world that they like the direction the team is taking, and believe that there is a future there. Or at least believes that he signed a contract that the Oilers wouldn’t have any trouble moving, should he request it. But since every Oiler fan hopes and prays that day never comes, it’s time to celebrate a great contract extension.
It’s a familiar story, a player’s junior number is not available with their NHL team. What is a kid to do? Of course, he picks something different. For Nail Yakupov his familiar number 10 from the Sarnia Sting is currently in use by Shawn Horcoff, who is also the team captain. And so, according to reports from the Perry Pearn’s 3 on 3 tournament where Yakupov is currently representing the Oilers along with Ladislav Smid, Darcy Hordichuk and Tyler Fedun, we learn that Yakupov will be sporting the number 64. If you can’t remember the last time an Oiler wore 64 you’re forgiven, but most Oiler fans do remember one particular player who did.
The question has been on everyone’s minds for years; are Nail Yakupov and other high profile Russian born players a flight risk? Repeatedly Yakupov has answered no. But as circumstances around the NHL have changed, the question has continued to pop up. Still, Yakupov has said nothing other than “I want to play in the NHL.”
Well, one RFA that is. With the contract extensions signed for defenceman Alex Plante and centreman Chris VandeVelde Thursday morning, the Oilers only have the much talked about Linus Omark left to sign. Or move. But the suggestion that this team may be done making moves couldn’t possibly be an accurate reflection of the state of the team. Whether or not moves actually come through however, will be what remains to be seen.
The wait was worth it. The deal is done. And the 2012 first overall draft pick Nail Yakupov has signed his entry level deal with the Edmonton Oilers. The deal is of course, completely as expected, the standard 3 year entry level deal with this year’s maximum allowable salary ($925,000) and bonuses (performance $2,850,000 and signing $92,500) all adding up to a cap hit of $3,775,000. And while Yakupov is now the third first overall pick signed by the Oilers in as many years, he is the one most likely to hit his targets and earn his bonuses, simply because he has a better team around him than poor Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
I may be the only person thinking this, but the Oilers re-signing centreman Sam Gagner may have been one of the bigger “meh” moves of the summer. Yes, Gagner has played 366 NHL games and is only 23 (in August). Yes, Gagner also had an 8 point night last season. But what of his not just cold, but ice cold 20 plus game streak?
Daniil Zharkov may have been drafted last in the third round, but he has the confidence of a first rounder. And not just any first rounder, Zharkov is friends with Nail Yakupov and is going to make it his goal in life to be better than his new rival. Oh, and he also has a great sense of humour. Even if he doesn’t make the team for another few years, he may be a new fan favourite.
About Oil Patch
Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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