Stock Up and Stock Down for the Edmonton Oilers' Top Stars
While the team as a whole has underperformed, there have been some bright spots as some of the Oilers stars have enjoyed personal success on the ice.
Taylor Hall is once again establishing himself as the offensive leader on the Oilers and David Perron has been an excellent addition to the team.
Others, such as Nail Yakupov, have had a season mired in turmoil. The talented sophomore has often struggled this season as he tries to adapt to new responsibilities and a new coach.
This article will examine how the performances are trending for the top stars on the Edmonton Oilers since the halfway point in the season.
Here is a stock up, stock down report for the Edmonton Oilers’ top stars.
Nail Yakupov: Down
Nail Yakupov had a pretty phenomenal rookie season under then Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger. Registering 31 points in a lockout-shortened 48-game schedule, the talented Russian scorer managed an impressive 17 goals.
Under Dallas Eakins, Yakupov has not only been inconsistent but has often floundered, resulting in healthy scratches and an NHL worst minus-33 rating.
Yakupov has registered 24 points this season but has failed to demonstrate the scoring touch he had under Krueger last season.
This could be greatly contributed to the fact that Eakins is trying to make Yakupov a more responsible forward in his defensive zone.
Strides have been made, as Yakupov has demonstrated a willingness to back track and play a bit more of a defensive game, but he is far from a complete player in his own zone.
The apparent reluctance to accept this responsibility has resulted in Yakupov’s stock being at an all-time low, and for a former first-overall pick, Yakupov may be the first domino to fall in the Oilers organization.
Taylor Hall: Up
Taylor Hall is once again leading the Edmonton Oilers in points and has demonstrated this season that he is often the motor that drives the Oilers offense.
Hall has registered a career high of 62 points this season and has managed to stay healthy for the majority of the season, only missing a handful of games this year.
Over his last 30 games, Hall has netted 32 points with nine multi-point games for the club.
Hall’s stock is definitely on the rise, and his strong play and offensive consistency has made him as near an untouchable on the Oilers roster as they come.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Up
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is on pace to break his previous career high for points, 52 in his rookie year, thanks in large part to his ability to stay healthy this season.
It is thanks to this resilience and ability to avoid lengthy stints away from the ice, that Nugent-Hopkins has seen his stock rise within the Oilers organization and around the NHL.
The partnership between Nugent-Hopkins and Hall is undeniable, and should only strengthen as the two young forwards grow as linemates.
A cause for concern with Nugent-Hopkins would have to be his dismal minus-17 rating, though this seems to be a systemic issue in Edmonton with most of the young forwards lacking the defensive prowess to their respective games.
Nugent-Hopkins’ stock will only continue to rise as he continues to mature physically and is able improve his faceoff performance as the Oilers’ No.1 center.
David Perron: Up
David Perron is perhaps Craig MacTavish’s greatest move to date as the Oilers general manager, as the former St. Louis Blue has already registered a career high in goals, 25, and with 47 points and over 10 games left in the season, is on pace to break his previous career high in points of 50.
While the scoring has been the primary story in Edmonton, it is the tenacity for which Perron plays the game that has elevated his stock in the Oilers organization.
Perron is one of the only forwards who plays the game with a bit of grit and has the ability to throw his body around from shift to shift.
This physicality and Perron’s ability to agitate opponents is exactly what the Oilers need more of, making Perron’s stock extremely high with the Oilers right now.
Jordan Eberle: Up
Jordan Eberle’s stock should be even, due to the fact that he had established such a lofty point-per-game pace previously in his career, but is listed as up because of potential trade value that the gifted winger possesses.
Eberle has already managed to register 50 points, but will fall short of the 76 points in 78 games he registered only two seasons ago, but has been one of only consistent Oilers’ offensive threats this season.
If the Oilers were to make an organizational defining trade, Eberle, and not Hall or Nugent-Hopkins, would most likely be the asset being dealt, and while the return would be hefty, the potential for Eberle to establish himself as one of the premier players in the NHL is also a risk the Oilers will most certainly consider.
Justin Schultz: Down
Justin Schultz is an impressive offensive defenseman but, unfortunately, for the second year pro, he has no insulation on the Oilers blue line and has floundered at times this season.
He has been exposed at times while trying to contribute to the Oilers’ offensive attack and this is mainly due to the fact that he’s not a top-pairing defender quite yet, yet the Oilers are utilizing him as so.
Schultz needs some help on the back end, a legitimate top-pairing guy who can eat minutes and play a sturdy, shutdown role, thus allowing Schultz to continue to utilize his offensive talents.
Schultz is still an intriguing player, but his stock is not as lofty as it was when he first chose the Oilers as his free-agent destination.