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Oilers' Yakupov on his way out whether it is his idea or not
29 марта 2016 года. Tychkowski, Rob. The Vancouver Sun

Nail Yakupov asking for a trade out of Edmonton is kind of like Old Yeller asking the family through a mouthful of foam if maybe it's time for him to move on.

It's happening anyway, as soon as they can pull the trigger on a deal.

So word that Yakupov's camp submitted a trade request before the Feb. 29 deadline was met with a resounding blah Monday as the Oilers prepared for their third-last home game of the season.

"The fact that he did or didn't frankly for me isn't really that important," said head coach Todd McLellan, who doesn't want personal agendas taking focus away from the much larger issue here. "It's the group. We're here to take care of the group and nobody is bigger than the group and that's how it's always going to be."

This isn't to suggest they don't care if Yakupov wants out and won't care when he's traded this summer. He is a cheerful and well-liked guy in the dressing room and they all wish it could have worked out, but anybody who's been watching this team for longer than a month knows he is no longer part of the plan, whatever that plan is.

And he is far from the biggest name who'll be going.

"We'll see what happens this summer, not just Yak but a lot of guys could be gone," said winger Taylor Hall. "It's going to be tough, but that's the way it goes."

Asked about the trade request, Yakupov did his best to tap dance around an issue that's on the back burner right now because: A) It's past the trade deadline and he can't be moved this season; and B) Two more weeks and he won't have to worry about it anymore.

"The agent and the team had a discussion about it, but I don't know any details," said the 22-year-old. "That's it. I'm still here, still play for the Oilers."

Did he ask for a trade?

"I didn't go upstairs and ask for a trade."

Did his agent? "Probably they did. Probably talked about it."

At his direction? "I don't know. I don't have any details."

Would he welcome a new start somewhere else?

"We'll see. We'll finish the year and we'll have lots of time in the summer. We'll see what happens."

Since we can safely assume Yakupov's agent didn't ask for a trade out of the blue without his client wanting it or even knowing about it, we can also safely assume the kid wants a new start somewhere else, which is understandable.

The on-ice relationship between Yakupov and the Oilers has been on the decline for almost three years now, dating back to his friction with thenhead coach Dallas Eakins a week into the 2013-14 season, with both sides knowing for some time that a clean break would be best for everyone.

But, like Hall says, serious changes are coming. And Edmonton's position on Yakupov is that he is not a complete enough player to be in their bottom six, and he's not productive or dependable enough to be given top-six minutes. So Chiarelli, who had nothing to do with the drafting him in the first place, is about to close the chapter. He might have a future in the NHL, but not in Edmonton.

"Yak is a young player and he still has a lot of time in this league," said Hall. "I think he's been given some opportunities and maybe he hasn't done as well as he wanted to, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he's been a really good teammate.

"From playing on the fourth line to the first line, he hasn't changed his attitude coming to the rink."

Only about the Oilers. Asked why Yakupov might be unhappy here, McLellan wasn't biting.

"There's two sides to that pancake, if that's what he is." 

Страничка Наилья Якупова на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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