Throughout last season, Edmonton Oilers right wing Nail Yakupov was frequently mentioned as a potential trade candidate. Entering this off-season, speculation persisted the 2012 first-overall draft pick would be dealt at some point.
Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli was certainly busy in recent weeks, shipping left wing Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson and inking free-agent winger Milan Lucic. As speculation persists over other possible moves by Chiarelli, forwards Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are mentioned as possible trade chips.
Yakupov, however, scarcely received mention until earlier this week. On Tuesday, Sun-Sentinel.com's Harvey Fialkov took to Twitter to shoot down a rumor claiming the Florida Panthers might deal defenseman Alex Petrovic to the Oilers for the young Russian forward.
The Edmonton Journal's Jonathan Willis speculates Yakupov's struggles with the Oilers is just one factor adversely affecting his trade value. Another is next year's expansion draft, as any club acquiring Yakupov must protect him in that draft or risk losing him for nothing. Willis also thinks the Oilers aren't in the best bargaining position to get a decent return, especially after giving up a top-line forward like Hall for a second-pairing blueliner like Larsson.
Those factors still don't mean Yakupov can't, or won't, be dealt before the start of training camp in September. However, they do indicate finding a trade partner willing to take a chance on him won't be easy.
TANEV VALUABLE TRADE CHIP FOR CANUCKS
Speaking of the Taylor Hall-for-Adam Larsson deal, The Province's Jason Botchford cites it in a piece speculating whether the Vancouver Canucks should trade blueliner Chris Tanev for a scoring forward.
Botchford believes the 26-year-old Tanev is not only a better defenseman than Larsson, but also among “the most reliable defenders in hockey.” He cites the blueliner's rise to fifth in the league in shot suppression. That places him among the league's elite blueliners, albeit one who doesn't produce much offense.
With the Canucks among last season's lowest-scoring teams, Botchford wonders if Tanev could fetch a scoring forward. He suggests the blueliner's contract ($4.45-million per season over the next four years) and right-handed shot could make him attractive on the trade market.
If Tanev could attract a first-line scorer like Hall, Canucks GM Jim Benning wouldn't hesitate to make that deal. However, just because his peer in Edmonton overpaid for Larsson doesn't mean other clubs interested in Tanev will part with one of their top offensive forwards.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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