So amid the Nashlypmics, the Edmonton Oilers signed Nail Yakupov to a three year entry level contract. Excuse me while I laugh uncontrollably at this move. Is Yakupov a great talent? I sure hope so after all the build up around him. Well not really, he is an Oiler after all. But honestly, has that team learned nothing in the past few drafts?
Congratulations on getting the first draft pick, for what feels like the 10th year in a row. But don’t you know this by now? You can’t expect every number one to be NHL ready. Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins undeniably great assets to the franchise. But why would you thrust two (now three) 18 year olds into the NHL when clearly they are not that “one piece” to make the team a Stanley Cup contender? Why not give they young players a chance to grow and develop some more? Teams have two years to sign their draftees before losing their rights (thank you Tim Erixon for teaching me that one. Looks like you’re useful for something), why not take that window to let them grow? So yes, I know that the ELC isn’t a guarantee that Yakupov will start the season in Oilers colors, but history does speak volumes of the season to come.
Placing them on a team that comes up short annually must kill their self esteem. Yeah, they can stand in front of the microphones and talk about how the seasons are learning experiences and filled with moments they will never forget, but come on. You can’t tell me Hall, RNH, and now Yakupov didn’t have dreams of a better team?
Sure, the Oilers aren’t historically a bottom of the barrel team, but at the end of the day, these kids dream of the Stanley Cup and the Oilers are still a few years off from winning the Cup. My point is, why not let these kids get their strength up? Their skills fine tuned? And really bring their game to another level? Even one season before coming up to play for the Oilers would have helped slash will help the in coming rookies.
If I felt the Oilers were going to bust out next season and really make a push for the Stanley Cup, I wouldn’t be writing this post. But as an objective observer, I think the Oilers are doing a real disservice to their young players by pushing them into a full season this early.
But what do I know? I’m just a Calgary Flames fan!
Go Flames Go!