Hockey Central: Ask the Insiders

To date, Nail Yakupov has zero points in five games and is a -4 (Darryl Dyck/CP)

Welcome to Hockey Central: Ask the Insiders where fans get to pick the topics. This week, the Insiders answered several questions including whether it’s time for a three-point regualation win, and will Yakupov still be an Edmonton Oiler after the trade deadline.

You can submit your questions by e-mailing us at or by using the hashtag #HCasktheinsiders.

DONALD ASKS: If you had to bet right now, do you think Yakupov will still be an Oiler after the trade deadline?

Jeff Marek: (@JeffMarek) Oh, I think he stays. It’s still way too soon to give up on someone with the potential upside that Yakupov possesses. What the Oilers are going through are the growing pains of a young athlete who excels at one very specific area of the game who needs to understand there is more to the game than scoring goals. Having said that goals are expensive let’s face it and teams usually aren’t in the business on giving up on players who can fill the net. So, unless the Oilers get an offer that knocks their socks off I suspect they’ll stick with the course and work on developing Yakupov.

Billy Jaffe: (@BJaffe) Depends on what they can get in return and how his relationship progresses with Dallas Eakins. I do think one of the Oilers young skilled players will be traded eventually for defensive/goaltending help just hard to say which one just yet.

Jeff Marek: (@JeffMarek) First off, I defy anyone to come up with one player in the history of the game who’s development was hurt by spending another year in junior hockey. Drouin is going to be an impact player in the NHL, nobody doubts that. He has the explosive offensive game and gifted vision. But Tampa GM Steve Yzerman sees him as a top line guy playing with Stamkos and St Louis and his complete game just isn’t there yet and Tampa is in no hurry to rush prospects. It’s a smart move if you take the long view of the Bolts. As for the other players you cite, there’s still no guarantee that Monahan is staying but the other two play an NHL-style game even at their young age. But who knows, many still think that Drouin may still be the best from his draft class, and another year of junior won’t hurt him at all. It will only help.

MARK ASKS: What is going on with the Rangers? Did we underestimate the job Torts did there?

Gord Stellick: (@GordStellick) There is no question it was time for the curtain to fall on Johnny Torts’ four plus years on Broadway. He deserves full credit for their run in 2012 and full credit for their fall last year. Joe Thornton’s innocent comment about how soft the Rangers were early in the 2011-2012 regular season was something Tortorella used to inspire his team for the rest of the season.

Fact is, there remained some merit to Thornton’s comments that we saw last season. Factor in Tortorella admittedly mishandling star player Brad Richards and then solid rather than outstanding goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist…and the Rangers are what they are and it was time for a change.

Look at Brad Richards with four goals in his first five games this season.

Scott Morrison: (@morrisonSNET) There are no shortage of issues with the Rangers. On the heels of a western trip during training camp, they start the new seasons with nine straight on the road, including a west-coast swing, which is never an easy way to start. But they were horrible in several of their games. Now they did have a nice win over LA and Washington the other night. Overall, their defensive play has not been good and that may be attributed to a change in coaches. Did we underestimate John Tortorella, I don’t think so. But we have to give Alain Vigneault a bigger body of work before we can accurately assess him. The goaltending has been average, losing Rick Nash to injury, some indifferent starts by others is what has brought the Rangers down. But it is all fixable.

MARK FEHRMANN ASKS: Are there any GM’s that are in favour of teams getting 3 points for a regulation win? Do you think this will ever happen?

Gord Stellick: (@GordStellick) Though the subject of overtime and especially the shootout continue to have their fair share of critics…I think we have all accepted they are here to stay for quite some time. The soccer system of three points for a win was introduced to see more teams “go for it” when it comes to fighting for a win. Not being a huge soccer fan, I am not really sure how that has or hasn’t worked. I don’t see any great push for this system (at least now) in the NHL.

Doug MacLean: (@DougMaclean) Every year at the GM ‘s meeting it seems to come up and a few of the GM’s are on board with it . But after discussion it is tossed. I agree we have a bizarre point system ie a point in standings for an OT loss but thats not going to change in the near future.

Billy Jaffe: (@BJaffe) I’ve liked his confidence with the puck and his decision making. Like a lot of young D-men, he is very crafty making offensive plays and I do think he will stay with the Canes all season.

You can submit your questions by e-mailing us at or by using the hashtag #HCasktheinsiders.

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