Do the Oilers continue to develop Yakupov or consider trading former No. 1 pick?
What should the Edmonton Oilers do with Nail Yakupov?
Do they work with him and take several steps back, consider him just a project like any other draft pick — not the first name called — and hope he finds some hockey sense to go with his hockey skill? You need both.
Or do they seriously investigate trading a 20-year-old with 111 games on his NHL resume?
Do they cut bait after taking the winger first overall in 2012 with high-end defencemen available (most notably Ryan Murray) and see what they can get for Yakupov at this June’s draft?
Creative general manager Craig MacTavish, who will be getting a draft pick in the top five, might want two, which would mean hounding Buffalo Sabres counterpart Tim Murray to see if he would want Yakupov. The Oilers would have a possible daily double — Barrie Colts defenceman Aaron Ekblad and Prince Albert Raiders’ six-foot-two, 209-pound centre Leon Draisaitl.
Buffalo has the best lottery odds for first pick overall, but could also be getting the New York Islanders’ choice as part of the Thomas Vanek-Matt Moulson trade months back.
The Sabres are open for business for the Islanders’ pick if they fork it over this June. In 2015, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, both centres, will be the top two picks and every team will want first-rounders in a much deeper pool.