Every Monday, Oilers radio colour analyst and Oilers Now
host Bob Stauffer answers questions submitted by fans about the team.
- What is it going to take to turn around Yakupov? First unit PP time as the one timer seems like an easy answer? — John in Lloydminster
I am a firm believer that a player is responsible for at least 75% of his situation, but that there are other factors that play into a player’s success or failure.
The Oilers knew when they drafted Yakupov #1 back in 2012 that he was a shooter, a finisher, and that there would be some trials and tribulations along the way in his development.
The decision by then-Head Coach Dallas Eakins to healthy scratch Yakupov four games into last season was a perplexing one to me, and am I not sure Yakupov has really been the same since.
He has an opportunity to get a fresh start with Todd Nelson, but he needs to improve on sharing the puck with his linemates, doing a better job of reading and reacting on the ice, and hopefully his confidence will come and he will get the results that warrant increased ice time. What is in the water in Oklahoma City that the team seems to do well year after year despite their roster? How have they won 7 in a row and made it look so easy? — Mike in Edmonton
The OKC Barons have had success — on the ice — for a number of reasons.
The Oilers have placed good AHL veterans (Alex Giroux, Brad Moran, Ryan Keller, Josh Green, now Jason Williams) in Oklahoma City to help support their younger developing players.
The Oilers have had continuity in their staff in OKC with Todd Nelson and current Head Coach Gerry Fleming there all five seasons, and they built a competitive environment.
The Barons have consistently had solid special teams, again a reflection on the coaching. And the Barons have had pretty good goaltending as well. With Draisaitl assigned to juniors, how do you think it will improve his game? What kind of player should he be expected to be at the start of next season for the Oilers? — Blake in Red Deer
Leon Draisaitl will see a significant increase of on-ice minutes and hopefully play in every situation, be it on the power play, penalty kill or with increased time at even-strength.
The key for Draisaitl will be to work on his quickness and his compete level.
If he does indeed end up in Kelowna, Draisaitl will be practicing with and against two members of Canada’s “D”: Madison Bowey and Josh Morrisey and playing for a loaded Rockets team that has been known for its strong defensive structure and process for the last several seasons.
I would expect a more well-rounded, more confident Draisaitl at next fall’s training camp. Bob Stauffer is Colour Analyst on the Oilers Radio Network and Hosts “Oilers Now” each day Noon to 2:00 PM Monday thru Friday on 630 CHED and you can follow him on Twitter at @Bob_Stauffer