For Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, this first month of the NHL season has been a roller coaster. First, he was benched by new coach Dallas Eakins as a healthy scratch due to his under-performing. This lead to whispers of Yakupov not being a team player. Suddenly, the 2012 No. 1 draft pick found his name churning up trade rumors.
Despite the fact that Yakupov’s name was associated with teams like the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers, Eakins claimed that all rumors were untrue and that Yakupov was going nowhere. However, it was reported yesterday by ESPN that the young Russian’s agent, Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov, was meeting with the Oilers front office to discuss a trade.
“We’re willing to make a move,” Larionov said. “Any team. That happens and that’s part of life.”
Exhausted yet? I wouldn’t blame you, since this has all taken place in the past few weeks.
Well, the back-and-forth is hardly over, as today we heard from Yakupov himself. Speaking through the club’s official Twitter account, the forward spoke of his love for his team and city.
“I just want to help my team win every game,” he said. “I love this city and I want to play for this team.”
Despite claiming he doesn’t want to go anywhere, Yakupov still has an issue with his lack of playing time. Eakins hasn’t kept him on the ice long during games, and Yakupov would like see his time increase by at least ten to eleven minutes a night.
It just never seems to end. Based on how this is all going, expect this story of Yakupov pledging his devotion to his team to be followed by his agent releasing a list of team’s the winger would like to be traded to.