The Oilers traded Nail Yakupov, a first round draft pick, to the St. Louis Blues because that’s what the Oilers do. Namely, acquire top end talent and then squander it to the extent that it’s now worth just about nothing and must be unloaded at clearance prices.
This might be the best thing to ever happen to Yakupov for a number of reasons. One, he might actually win something with the Blues one day. Two, he escapes the frozen wasteland of Edmonton, Alberta. Three, he might have something resembling a support structure. You know, something that might help a Russian playing in North America.
Not convinced? Check out this quote from Yakupov last night. I’ve embedded the tweet and retyped the quote below so it’s a little more readable. Someone teach this nice man how to take a screenshot on his computer.
Yakupov: I tried. Honestly, it was really tough this week because it’s not that easy. Doesn’t matter what team you’re on. I know Blues are a really good team, really good guys that are really friendly. It’s a really good family here. When you’ve been away for a long time, live in different country, different city and different friends, you pretty much have nothing outside. It’s really good here, but as soon as you go outside after practice, you’re just alone. You’re lonely those kind of things get into your brain and in your mind and you have to fight that. I’m fighting, and now it’s going to be much easier. I’m happy to get two points tonight and it’s going to be much easier for me to sleep tonight.
Yakupov’s situation may be unique with the OIlers given his status as a non-North American, but good grief if you’re not offering support to a No. 1 draft pick who are you offering it to? I know we joke about the Oilers a lot around here because they don’t know how to run a hockey team, but I didn’t think they also didn’t know how to be human beings.
Or maybe we should have expected this. Hell, given all the dysfunction that has seeped out of that front office over the years nothing should surprise us at this point. Yakupov may not have lived up to expectations in Edmonton, but it also appears that the Oilers didn’t even make an effort to meet him halfway and help him feel more comfortable in their wintery wasteland.
That’s a shame, because I’m sure Yakupov wanted to succeed in Edmonton and I’m ... pretty sure the Oilers didn’t want to sell their No. 1 draft pick for some magic beans. Instead, the Blues get a chance to revitalize the image of Yakupov while also getting a pretty good hockey player for cheap.
I’d say Edmonton might learn something from this, but it’s the NHL. Nobody learns.