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.
It may not sound like a top tourist destination, but Columbus Ohio was calling my name this spring. The Edmonton Oilers were playing an afternoon game Sunday March 26th in the Nationwide Arena, and although a battle for the basement may not sound entirely enticing, perhaps that old saying that misery loves company held true. None the less, like all of the arenas I have seen so far in my travels, Nationwide holds its charms and so do the people.
“We done good” the Oilers’ second round pick Mitch Moroz said of his Oil Kings team at this year’s NHL entry draft. Three of the top 32 players selected were from the WHL champion Oil Kings team, and Griffin Reinhart being picked at #4 set a new team record.
But as happy as Moroz can be for his teammates, he was at a loss for words to describe his delight at being selected 32nd overall by the Edmonton Oilers.
There are several benefits for writing for someone like Paul. The biggest has to be that since we write online and not for a newspaper with their 9pm and 11pm deadlines we can share news, even old news, and opinions when it works for us.
And so even though the draft was a couple of weeks ago I can still at this point write up something on the players that the Oilers took. This is especially helpful since I am on vacation but I know that the dog days are summer can seem especially long and hockeyless. The Oilers may have selected these players in late June, but they are no less exciting, interesting or Oilers by mid July. I hope that you are enjoying your summer and that you might get some enjoyment from the odd articles that will be popping up in the next two weeks.
The Oilers didn’t make anything remotely close to a splash on the first day of free agency. Instead the team chose three UFAs to re-sign in Ryan Smyth, Darcy Hordichuk and Jann Danis. But there is however the signing of Justin Schultz. So maybe they did make a splash afterall, even if it wasn’t for your typical proven, veteran, UFA player.
There are a number of attractive UFA targets still remaining on the market, and there is no doubt that the Oilers are trying to land one or two of them, but the Oilers have always struggled to land the big fish.
Ryan Smyth just wanted to come home. He wanted to play where his heart was, and maybe finish his career back where it all started. The first year back with the Oilers went well, aside from him being played too many minutes to start the year, and thus being burnt out by the latter part of the season. But can you really fault Smyth for that? Of course not.
The first reports on what the Oilers were looking for, and what Smyth wanted had the two parties worlds apart. If Smyth was looking for a three year deal at north of $4M and the Oilers were looking for a deal more like what he signed today the concerns that the two wouldn’t make a deal were legitimate.
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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