Rumor Roundup: Oilers’ Yakupov thrust back into trade talk

Nail Yakupov

Just when the recent trade rumors about Edmonton Oilers winger Nail Yakupov had finally died down, his agent stirred them up again.

Hall of Famer Igor Larionov, who represents Yakupov, told ESPN.com’s Craig Custance of his unhappiness regarding his client’s playing time. Larionov’s headed to Edmonton this week to take in a couple of Oilers games and to meet with the organization to discuss the situation.

Larionov reportedly told GM Craig MacTavish if the Oilers weren’t happy with his client he would accept a trade to any team. That comment rocketed around the league Tuesday, rekindling the Yakupov trade rumors.

Custance’s report drew a sharp rebuke from MacTavish, accusing the reporter of manufacturing the story while maintaining Yakupov wasn’t going anywhere.

Last week, MacTavish and coach Dallas Eakins dismissed trade rumors involving Yakupov, following reports linking the 20-year-old to the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.

Yakupov told the Edmonton media on Tuesday he loves Edmonton and playing for the Oilers, but he did expressed unhappiness over his limited playing time. Eakins acknowledged this, but he said playing time had to be earned.

It’s no secret MacTavish is seeking help for his floundering club and Yakupov would be one of his most attractive trade chips. The youngster would fetch more to help the Oilers than winger Ales Hemsky and his $5-million salary, but MacTavish continues to resist that temptation.

The Oilers were reportedly talking trade late last week with the Philadelphia Flyers.

They were believed to be trying to land gritty winger Wayne Simmonds, with the Flyers reportedly expressing interest in winger Jordan Eberle. Neither player seems likely to move, but if the Oilers seek a veteran defenseman, Luke Schenn could be available.

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson claimed the Flyers were “vigorously” shopping Schenn and Andrej Meszaros, but their respective contracts are difficult to move. Schenn is earning $3.6 million per season while Meszaros (an unrestricted free agent this summer) has a cap hit of $4 million.

Having shipped Ladislav Smid’s contract (with its annual cap hit of $3.5 million) last Friday to Calgary, the Oilers have room to add salary. Schenn’s salary would fit nicely into their payroll, though it remains to be seen if they believe he could be a good fit on their blueline.

CAMMALLERI GETTING INTEREST
Mike Cammalleri has attracted some attention around the league. After missing the opening seven games with a hand injury, Cammalleri’s has eight goals and 11 points in as many games for the Calgary Flames.

He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and it’s believed the Flames will try to move him by the March 5 trade deadline. If the talented, but oft-injured, Cammalleri can remain healthy and productive throughout the season he could fetch a decent return for the Flames near the trade deadline.

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector recently reported 10 NHL GMs were keeping an eye on the 31-year-old winger. Most of the GMs could be from low-scoring clubs, like the Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets.

With Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos sidelined until at least March with a broken right leg, the Calgary Sun’s Randy Sportak wondered if the Bolts might have interest in Cammalleri.

Complicating things is Cammalleri’s $7-million salary ($6-million cap hit) and limited no-trade clause. Unless the Flames are willing to absorb part of his salary, it could take some time to move him.

WILL THE SENATORS TRADE A DEFENSEMAN?
The Ottawa Senators have carried eight healthy defensemen of late, leaving them alternating Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba as health scratches, while Joe Corvo has yet to get into the lineup this month.

Mark Borowiecki, called up during a recent spate of injuries, is making the case to remain in the lineup with his solid play.

If the Senators decide to shop a defenseman, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun recently cited a league source claiming eight-to-10 teams were in the market for blueline help.

Should the Senators opt to trade a blueliner, it’s a safe bet Erik Karlsson, Chris Phillips, Jared Cowen and Marc Methot aren’t going anywhere. The odd man out could be Corvo, though his value has significantly declined in recent years. The easist move, however, could be simply to return the waiver-exempt Borowiecki to their American League affiliate in Binghamton.

Rumor Roundup appears weekdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

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