There’s a Nick Kypreos-grade rumor going around that the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres are talking about making a big-time trade. The kind of blockbuster that we used to see every year or two a decade ago may transpire in the coming days. At the center of it all is Nail Yakupov, who was scratched recently in two consecutive games for Edmonton and wasn’t very happy about it.
Coach Dallas Eakins was quoted in the media saying that he wanted to see a more two-way game from the former No. 1 draft pick. Yakupov fired back, more or less saying that he didn’t believe that hitting and backchecking were necessary parts of his game. Those comments probably didn’t sit well with Edmonton as they try to build a winning atmosphere.
Bucky Gleason at the Buffalo News thinks that a trade between the Oilers and Sabres makes sense, even if Kypreos has backed off of his claim that Sabres general manager Darcy Regier will be fired sooner rather than later.
…there was talk Wednesday afternoon that the Sabres were working on a deal with Edmonton that would send Ryan Miller or Thomas Vanek and possibly both to the Oilers in a package that would bring Nail Yakupov and more to Buffalo. Whether it actually happens is another story. But as it stood Wednesday, the two sides had considered, or were considering, a major swap.
Talk about a good old fashioned barn burner.
The trade fills too many holes on both sides to not be at least partially based in reality. The Oilers need a goaltender, for starters. While Miller isn’t exactly the world beater that he used to be, he’d beat the breaks off of Devan Dubnyk at this point if it meant a fresh start outside of Buffalo. Rumors have been swirling that he could be traded since the trade deadline last season, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him end up in Edmonton.
Vanek would give the Oilers another outstanding forward, but one cut from a different cloth than everyone that is in the top-six in Edmonton right now. Yakupov likes to make pretty plays. So does Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall David Perron and Jordan Eberle. There are no angles to the approach of the Oilers at the moment.
No one driving to the net. No one digging the puck out of the dirty areas. Even Pavel Datsyuk requires a Justin Abdelkader, as it were.
That’s where Vanek would come into play. He’s one of the most underrated players in the NHL below the dots in the offensive zone and has been known to be a bull coming out of the corners. Vanek is outstanding in front of the net and would add a much-needed wrinkle to the attack in Edmonton.
The motivation for Buffalo to acquire Yakupov is clear. They’re trying to acquire as many disgruntled players as possible as they attempt to rebuild.
No, the Sabres desperately need more goals, and Yakupov is the kind of guy that will be able to bring them in bunches once he settles down a bit.
The deal makes sense both long-term and short-term for both teams, and it will be interesting to see what transpires in the weeks ahead.