The drama continues between the Edmonton Oilers and 2012 1st overall draft pick Nail Yakupov. Twitter went crazy last night with news that Yakupov’s agent, Hockey Hall of Fame member Igor Larionov, will be meeting with the Oilers to discuss the future of his star client.
Larionov may be a little impatient when he says, “we’re willing to make a move. Any team.” Those are the words the former Red Wings great told ESPN writer Craig Custance.
If EDM unhappy with him, Larionov said Yak open to trade: "We're willing to make a move. Any team. That happens and that's part of life."
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) November 12, 2013
The damage has been done when a player and his agent are meeting to discuss, among other things, the possibility of a trade. Even if this is just posturing from Larionov, going public with trade comments is a great way to ruin a relationship with fans, and possibly team, as well.
This comes only days after newly appointed Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins publicly stated the club would not trade Yakupov.
Video- Eakins On Yakupov “This Kid Is Not Going Anywhere”: Edmonton Coach Dallas Eakins spoke with the media… http://t.co/Q3u8YZXMw8
— Kukla's Korner (@kuklaskorner) November 6, 2013
The entire Yakupov situation is becoming a public relations nightmare for the Oilers, who were supposed to take a massive step forward and compete for a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs this season. Unfortunately, after six weeks of hockey, the post-season looks as unlikely as a Vezina performance from Ilya Bryzgalov.
Oilers beat reporter Robin Brownlee shared his insight regarding Larionov’s trade comments:
“Whatever conclusion you draw, it’s difficult for me to believe Larionov didn’t know exactly what he was saying. I’m guessing he said it with the blessing of his client. Leverage? Sending a message? Or is something already broken that can’t be fixed? I don’t know. While ‘open to a trade’ doesn’t necessarily equate to ‘I want to be traded’ it’s just a degree or two short. Demanding a trade now, given how poorly he’s played, would be the epitome of entitlement – blaming everybody else but himself for the situation Yakupov finds himself in.”
The next few days will be interesting. If Yakupov does indeed desire a move to another NHL club, the Oilers could decide to accommodate him sooner, rather than later. If they are to have any chance at making the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs they need to sort this problem out immediately.