The 2012 NHL Entry Draft was the weakest in a long time, there wasn’t a consensus #1, there were three players; a winger, a center, and a defenseman. Now I’m not saying that we picked wrong as hindsight is 20/20, I am saying that Edmonton’s previous management had an incorrect mindset when picking players. They elected to always take the best player available instead of drafting/trading down to fit organizational need.
Enter Nail Yakupov who played for the Sarnia Sting, along with the 3rd pick Alex Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk’s presence was an important factor to Nail’s development he complemented Yakupov almost as well as McDavid does. This was due to Nail’s playing style, it’s unique, I most often heard him described as a water bug player. A guy that doesn’t have full grasp on positioning, so he tends to play all over the place. A guy like Galchenyuk who has extremely good hockey sense can provide a balance for players.
If Edmonton were to make a trade however, they would require a defenseman in return. Nail Yakupov right now has low value, so in a sense Montreal could fleece Edmonton. They know what Yakupov can do though if with the right teammates. Chiarelli wouldn’t move him unless he knew for sure that the return would help the Oilers.
Could a deal be done for perhaps Alexei Emelin? A big, hard hitting defenseman who could help in Edmonton.
Yakupov could fit in Montreal, complimenting Pacioretty and Galchenyuk on the first line.