Did Oilers sabotage Nail Yakupov trade?

According to Nail Yakupov, eight teams expressed interest in trading him but a potential deal fell through.

The Edmonton Oilers’ rebuild is as disastrous as rebuilds can get. How many teams can get first overall picks in four of the last six drafts and still be a bottom five team? The Oilers management hasn’t bothered to trade any of them despite having the return potentially fix their noticeable holes on defense or in net.

As it turns out, one of their first overall picks in Nail Yakupov actually requested a trade. When the Oilers were playing the San Jose Sharks last week, he told a Russian outlet (h/t Elliotte Friedman) that eight teams were interested in trading for him, but the deal fell through:

The highly touted prospect has been a bust so far and only has 19 points this year despite getting to play on a line with Connor McDavid. It’s a miracle that one team would want him, let alone eight, but they could’ve gotten something valuable in return and he probably would’ve relished the opportunity to get out of the basement that is Edmonton. After all, the one year he played in the KHL, during the lockout-shortened season, he put up 18 points in 22 games.

It’s very likely that the front office prevented this deal from going through because they view him as a “valuable piece of the core”, whatever that might mean for a team like Edmonton.

The Oilers need to stop being so stubborn and realize that trading away one of their forwards is the necessary thing to do if they want to make any progress.

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