Fantasy Impact: The Oilers trade Nail Yakupov to the Blues and sign Kris Russell.
The Blues get: A former #1 overall selection and reclamation project who is still only 23 and entering his fifth season in the NHL.
The Oilers get: Zach Pochiro, an ECHL prospect who likely was included just to balance contracts coming in and out. A third round pick, which could become a second round pick if Yakupov scores at least 15 goals. A highly divisive player in Russell who has the name power of a top-four defenseman but the analytics value him as more of a bottom-pairing type.
Fantasy Players Impacted: Yakupov is not the first lottery pick reclamation the Blues have taken from the Oilers. The last one, Magnus Paajarvi, hasn’t been more than a depth player shuttling between the end of the bench, the pressbox and the minors. Yakupov projects to be more impactful, at least for fantasy owners. A fresh start has to be seen as a positive though perhaps you’ll view losing the potential of playing with McDavid as a negative here.
As the above indicates, Yakupov will likely play more of a depth role, as even after the injury to Jaden Schwartz the Blues are still loaded up front. Yakupov’s addition likely blocks Ty Rattie from making the leap however. You may also want to watch for Yakupov fading to the fourth line once Schwartz returns from injury. We’ll have to see how he acquits himself. This also hurts Ivan Barbashev who was cut from the Blues yesterday.
In Edmonton, moving Yakupov clears a spot on the roster for Kris Versteeg who has played well but remains on a tryout contract. The Oilers suddenly have legitimate top-nine forward depth. This move also brings rookie Drake Caggiula closer to his NHL debut since the Oilers were likely to find room for Versteeg one way or another.
Adding Russell provides more depth for the Oilers’ blue line. He is the shot block king and will now join a team that has spent the past decade getting horribly outshot. This can only help him in leagues counting blocks. He also offers 30-point upside for offense though he won’t hinder options like Oscar Klefbom or Adam Larsson ahead of him on the depth chart.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order: