NailYakupov


Should Yakupov owners be worried?


Yakupov: Coach, am I playing tonight?


Eakins: You’re in Nail.......but first, would you mind telling me now how many goals will be scored against us tonight while you’re on the ice………it helps me prepare.


Yakupov: I’m thinking I will go…….just minus one tonight coach.


Eakins: Great, what period are you thinking of gracing us with your minus?


Yakupov: I was thinking my last shift of second period coach, hopefully while we are on power play…..there is nothing like giving up timely short-handed goal to bring us down. But thinking it over more, how about you start me and we just get it over with first shift of game.


Eakins: I like how you think Nail. Good idea, I like a challenge.


Yakupov: You like challenge coach? Is it okay if I go minus two then?


Eakins: No, I already told Dubnyk he could let two soft ones in tonight. But, I’ll talk to Kevin and Craig and get back to you on that.


Yakupov: They are busy coach, you have to make decision.


Eakins: Busy doing what??????


Yakupov: Making sure all polar bears are out of city, Bryz is still scared.


Eakins: %*%*&*^%%$^&*&^*&


Yakupov: Thanks Coach.


The Final Straw

 

Yakupov’s performance against Toronto in late October has a lot to do with his significant drop in ice time recently.

 

An evaluation of Yakupov’s previous six games suggests that the home game against the Maple Leafs is the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. Yakupov was minus-four that evening while his TOI was a generous 21:34. Yakupov played superstar minutes and rewarded his coach with a dud performance. If one was to hazard a guess, Eakins wasn’t too thrilled about being embarrassed by the team representing his former employer (MLSE) and has since put Yakupov on notice. Since that game against the Leafs, Yakupov’s TOI has steadily declined from 21:34 to just 10:54 per game with minimal power play time.

 

Below is a snapshot of Yakupov’s most recent six games with an emphasis on the Toronto game from October 29th. Notice the incredible drop in ice time since that game.

 

Last Six Games

 

Date

OPP

G

A

P

+/-

PIM

S

PPG

PPP

SHP

PPTOI

%PP

TOI/G

%TOI

Nov 10

@CHI

1

0

1

0

2

2

1

1

0

00:17

16.7

10:54

18.2

Nov 9

@PHI

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

01:26

23.4

10:46

17.9

Nov 7

@T.B

0

0

0

-1

0

0

0

0

0

00:00

0.0

11:08

18.6

Nov 5

@FLA

0

0

0

-1

0

2

0

0

0

01:04

19.8

12:47

20.6

Nov 2

DET

0

0

0

-2

0

0

0

0

0

02:39

44.2

15:06

25.2

Oct 29

TOR

0

0

0

-4

2

3

0

0

0

01:01

50.8

21:34

35.9

 

Rock Bottom

 

Suggesting that the Edmonton Oilers and Yakupov have hit rock bottom is an understatement. The team had high hopes going into this season and Nail Yakupov was supposed to be one of the major reasons for their optimism. The sophomore winger was coming off of a decent rookie season and appeared ready to improve on his first year in the league that saw him in the Calder conversation for most of the year. Yakupov missed the Calder cut, but he finished last season leading all rookies in goals and tied for first overall in points (with Jonathan Huberdeau) – a very impressive accomplishment for a player that received just north of 14 minutes per game.

 

Courtesy of Frozen Pool, here are Yakupov’s statistics from 2012-2013 that saw him finish first overall in the rookie scoring race.

 

2012-2013 Regular Season

 

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

Pace

+/-

PIM

Shots

GW

PPG

PPP

SHG

SHP

PPTOI

%PP

%SH

TOI/G

%TOI

48

17

14

31

0.65

53

-4

24

81

2

6

10

0

0

02:29

43.7

0.1

14:34

23.9

Frozen Pool, check out his rock bottom statistics this season.

 

2013-2014 Regular Season

 

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

Pace

+/-

PIM

Shots

GW

PPG

PPP

SHG

SHP

PPTOI

%PP

%SH

TOI/G

%TOI

17

2

2

4

0.24

19

-14

8

31

0

2

2

0

0

02:19

44.4

0.6

15:28

25.5

With just two goals and two assists in 17 games and the worst plus/minus in the league – it is hard to believe that Yakupov has been given the opportunity to average over 15 minutes per game with just over two minutes of PP TOI. Sadly, he’s managed to post these numbers while playing with quality line mates Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, and less frequently David Perron. In Yakupov’s defense, Nugent-Hopkins is currently sitting at -12 for the year, but most of the negative attention seems to be on the team’s most recent number one overall pick.

 

Below are Yakupov’s most frequent even strength line combinations this year.

 

Even Strength Line Combinations (2013-2014)

Freq

Line Combination

44.3%

EBERLE,J - NUGENT-HOPKINS,R - YAKUPOV,N

17.6%

NUGENT-HOPKINS,R - PERRON,D - YAKUPOV,N

15.2%

EBERLE,J - GAGNER,S - YAKUPOV,N

12%

ARCOBELLO,M - SMYTH,R - YAKUPOV,N

10.9%

GAGNER,S - SMYTH,R - YAKUPOV,N

This season Yakupov has lined up over 75% of the time with Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Gagner, and Perron. This is a nice upgrade over the most frequent line combinations from his rookie season which saw him mostly play with Gagner, Horcoff, Hemsky, and Paarjarvi as outlined below.

 

Even Strength Line Combinations (2012-2013)

Freq

Line Combination

36.1%

GAGNER,S - HEMSKY,A - YAKUPOV,N

29.4%

GAGNER,S - PAAJARVI,M - YAKUPOV,N

17.9%

HORCOFF,S - JONES,R - YAKUPOV,N

A decent rookie season to build on, more time on ice, higher quality line mates – the stars were aligned for a solid sophomore campaign. Instead Yakupov has hit rock bottom and his owners are right there with him – wondering if his current situation is going to escalate into a trade or even worse – eventual flight to the KHL. Right now the young Russian’s value is as low as it will ever be.

Reason For Hope #1 – The Conclusion of 2012-2013

 

Earlier we focused on Yakupov’s most recent six games that saw him score just one goal with a combined minus eight. Before hitting the panic button again, let’s take a look at a more optimistic time. Below is a snapshot of Yakupov’s final six games from 2012-2013 that catapulted him to the rookie scoring title.

 

Last Six Games

 

Date

OPP

G

A

P

+/-

PIM

S

PPG

PPP

SHP

PPTOI

%PP

TOI/G

%TOI

Apr 27

VAN

3

0

3

2

0

6

1

1

0

04:11

66.8

18:47

31.3

Apr 26

@MIN

2

0

2

3

0

4

0

0

0

01:06

55.0

17:08

28.6

Apr 24

CHI

1

0

1

1

0

3

0

0

0

05:28

68.3

16:37

27.7

Apr 22

ANA

0

0

0

-1

0

1

0

0

0

01:45

29.2

16:00

26.7

Apr 21

ANA

0

0

0

-1

0

2

0

0

0

02:49

39.5

14:05

23.5

Apr 19

@COL

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

02:51

35.6

15:53

26.5

Yakupov scored six goals and finished plus six in his final three games last year. When young players go through rough stretches like the one Yakupov is going through right now, it is important to remember that the media circus and terrible trade offers will go away after a couple of solid performances by the young Russian. It may not happen this week, but soon Yakupov will have the break out game and the consistent month that will put all of the current negativity to rest.


Reason for Hope #2 - Comparing the Number Ones

 

When comparing the statistics of Edmonton’s trio of first overall draft picks, Yakupov’s numbers are on pace or close to his first overall predecessors.

 

Here are Taylor Hall’s rookie statistics from 2010-2011 which saw Hall play 65 games and finish with 42 points.

 

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

Pace

+/-

PIM

Shots

GW

PPG

PPP

SHG

SHP

%PP

%SH

%TOI

65

22

20

42

0.65

53

-9

27

186

4

7

10

0

0

44.8

0.5

30.0

Here are the numbers for Nugent-Hopkins during his respective 2011-2012 rookie season which saw him play 62 games and finish with a very respectable 52 points.

 

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

Pace

+/-

PIM

Shots

GW

PPG

PPP

SHG

SHP

PPTOI

%PP

%SH

TOI/G

%TOI

62

18

34

52

0.84

69

-2

16

134

3

3

23

0

0

03:01

57.4

0.5

17:36

28.9

In his first 65 NHL games, Yakupov has 35 points (19 Goals and 16 Assists).

 

Yakupov’s numbers are slightly lower than those posted by Taylor Hall in Hall’s first 65 games. However, Hall had the benefit of playing consistently with Eberle as the two have great chemistry. Hall also played an average of 18:12 per game which is over three and a half minutes more than Yakupov’s first year TOI of 14:34.

 

In his first season in the league, Nugent-Hopkins had the benefit of playing enormous minutes with Eberle and Hall for a large portion of his rookie campaign. Nugent-Hopkins played an average of 17:36 per game during his rookie year – again three full minutes per game more than Yakupov’s TOI as a rookie.

 

With the current situation surrounding Yakupov it is hard to believe he will ever take the next step, but critics also had their doubts about Hall. Heck – take a look at the rookie statistics for these two guys.

 

2009-2010 Regular Season (Tavares)

 

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

Pace

+/-

PIM

Shots

GW

PPG

PPP

SHG

SHP

%PP

%SH

%TOI

82

24

30

54

0.66

54

-15

22

186

2

11

25

0

0

63.6

0.9

29.4

2008-2009 Regular Season (Stamkos)

 

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

Pace

+/-

PIM

Shots

GW

PPG

PPP

SHG

SHP

PPTOI

%PP

%SH

TOI/G

%TOI

79

23

23

46

0.58

48

-12

39

181

2

9

17

0

0

02:50

42.0

1.6

14:56

24.4

Yakupov’s pro-rated rookie season had him on pace for 53 points last year – which is more productive than Stamkos’ rookie season of 46 points. In fact, Yakupov’s rookie season is essentially on par with the 54 points that Tavares scored as a rookie. During his rookie season, Yakupov posted a better plus/minus than what Hall, Tavares, and Stamkos did during their respective rookie years.

 

Despite all of the recent negativity, history suggests there are many reasons to hang onto Yakupov or aggressively pursue him in your league before the window closes.


Final Forensics Note

 

Last season Yakupov played over 65% of his even strength shifts with Sam Gagner. Assuming that Eakins reunites them, expect Yakupov’s statistics to improve during the first half of the season as Gagner gradually gets better after missing the early part of the year with a broken jaw.

 

Yakupov has only registered 112 SOG in 65 games – averaging less than two shots per game over his short career – surprising stat for a supposed sniper.

 

Yakupov was only minus-four over 48 games last year on a bad Oilers team. Expect to see improvement in his league worst plus/minus while the team adapts to Eakins system.

 

It’s doubtful, but if the Oilers end up shopping him, they will showcase him during the latter part of the season with heavy minutes to set up an offseason trade.

 

During the second half of the season, expect a 60 point pace from Yakupov (30 points in the last 40 games).  


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Comments (7)add comment

MolsonX said:

MolsonX
... @ Shift Disturber - Thanks for the feedback, glad you liked the article. When using Frozen Pool, the categories do show on the stat lines. For some reason when the articles get posted, the headings are gone. I will ask Steve about this - hopefully it's an easy fix for the next one.

Thanks again!
November 16, 2013
Votes: +0

MolsonX said:

MolsonX
... @ Isle B - All great points, and agreed they were playing better to start and end last season. More entertaining last year - no question. I'm not sure what's going on this season - it could be learning a new system, it could be issues/dynamics in the locker room. Overall it's frustrating as an Oilers fan, and if I had Yakupov on my fantasy roster I would be hoping he gets traded. Yakupov will be fine no matter where he ends up, but in Edmonton he seems to be 4th fiddle after Eberle/Hall/RNH.

As for the Isles - they are one of the teams I cheer for in the East. It was great seeing them in the playoffs last year despite Nabokov's average play in round 1.

Cheers.
November 16, 2013
Votes: +0

Shift Disturber said:

Shift Disturber
... Thanks - great analysis. It would be helpful though if you could put headings on the stats lines.smilies/cheesy.gif
November 16, 2013
Votes: +1

Isle B. said:

Isle B.
... @MolsonX

To the contrary. The Isles and Oilers are mirror images of one another (Similar colors, great history, a lot of indignities ever since except for '93 and '06 respectively) and, because of that, they are one of the 'other' teams I root for.

I liked the way the Oilers were playing at the beginning and end of last season. Thye had a bad slump in the middle but were one of the more entertaining teams in the league and they were scoring some highlight-reel goals. Most importantly, their young guns were mostly thriving so the coaching change was all the more puzzling. Now they are completely out of playoff contention and have been for weeks and every one of their core players have taken a step back (a leap in Yak's case).
November 16, 2013
Votes: +0

MolsonX said:

MolsonX
... @newfcollins - Thanks for the compliment, and nice find on the 15 points in 14 games.

@ Isle B - Good point about the fact they won't change coaches anytime soon, but the team won't move Yakupov. Are you still mad at the Oilers because of 83-84'?
November 16, 2013
Votes: +0

Isle B. said:

Isle B.
... Maybe it is Dallas Eakins' "system" that should adapt to the players. He took a team whose young core were mostly thriving (especially Hall, Yakupov, Schultz, Gagner) and has completely trashed whatever momentum the team had from a strong finish to last season by burning a quarter of a season and counting by trying to implement a "system." And now, simply because the Oilers have been so trigger happy in their firing of coaches recently, they will stick with this genius for "continuity"'s sake for way longer than they should and probably end up getting hosed on some desperate sell-low deal involving Yakupov for a 3rd line grinder more suitable to Eakins' "system" as a kicker. What a mess. This team was a lot of fun to watch last season and now they are bad AND boring.
November 15, 2013
Votes: +2

newfcollins said:

newfcollins
... Nice writeup. Interesting side note, last year he went through a tough time as well. At one point, he had four points in 14 games. He then got 15 points in his last 14 games. It might be as simple as the fact he's a streaky player, but we need to wait a bit longer for that theory to prove itself right or wrong.
November 15, 2013
Votes: +2
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