TSN’s Bob McKenzie notes (Twitter links) that Chicago has shown some interest in trading for Edmonton Oilers right winger Yakupov but that no deal is imminent. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal recently wondered if Yakupov would find himself in the press box to start the season after a not-so-strong training camp.
Yakupov was the first overall pick of the Oilers back in 2012 but has failed to live up to the hype. His best season came in his rookie year – the lockout-shortened campaign, where he had 31 points in 48 games. Since then, he hasn’t to come close to the half a point per game mark. Last season, he had just eight goals and 15 assists in 60 games while playing a career low 14:13 per game.
The 23 year old is entering the second and final year of a two year bridge deal that carries a cap hit of $2.5MM. That makes it intriguing that the Blackhawks are showing interest as they have been perpetually cap-strapped as of late and this year will likely be no exception once they fill out the rest of their roster. (Cap Friendly has them with roughly $4.4MM in space but only 19 players on the roster.) However, Chicago is lacking in experienced forward depth and would likely be able to use Yakupov inside their top nine and there’s no denying that Yakupov has some offensive upside in him.
[Related: Blackhawks Depth Chart]
Sportsnet’s Mark Spector adds that Chicago would likely be sending AHL player(s) to the Oilers in return and would also require Edmonton to retain some of his cap charge if they can reach an agreement on a deal. Spector also notes that the belief is that GM Peter Chiarelli would like to get something done before start of the regular season next week.