The rumor that broke earlier this week that former #1 overall pick Nail Yakupov was interested in signing with the Vancouver Canucks was not only exciting, but also felt surreal.
The Canucks are entering their 48th year of existence and also are in one of their biggest ruts in franchise history. A rut, that easily will turn into a valley with two or three more bottom three finishes in a row.
Now the question will become, are the Canucks interested in signing Nail Yakupow. I'll make Jim Benning's job easy, the answer should be yes. In fact, it should be a no brainier.
For one, he is only 23. Still has his prime ahead of him, the potential is still there with a team that didn't have many bright spots last year outside of Bo Horvat and Troy Stecher. The team needs someone who can spark the Canucks with exciting hockey again.
Furthermore, for a franchise that has never picked #1 before, when a #1 pick comes knocking, you have to listen. At this point, there is very little risk involved if any and anything above his dreadful three goals and nine assists would be gravy for a team that lacked scoring at the best of times last year.
More importantly, at 23 years old Yakupov would have a chance to be not only mentored by the Sedin twins but also mentor upcoming youngsters in the Canucks system such as, Jake Virtanen, Brock Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin, all of which expect to make the team next year.
The Canucks need a spark and if they don't address their scoring issues next year, they will only be able to blame themselves if they finish in the bottom three for a third straight year. Yakupov needs a fresh start and for an organization that can only go up, Yakupov seems to be a great fit. A player that can connect the dots on a team that didn't have any dots to connect with.
Only way to do it is close the deal on July 1st. Most fans are wanting a one year deal but that doesn't sit well with me. A one year deal might trigger a Anson Carter situation like the Canucks had in 2006 where he chases a better team in the off season in 2018. Two years will provide a bandage for the Canucks until we know what we have in the Canucks top prospects like JONATHAN DAHLEN, ADAM GAUDETTE and new draftees Elias Pettersson and Kole Lind.
At that point, we will know where those prospects are in their development and will know whether or not we need to resign Yakupov by July 2019.
The work of Jim Benning is starting to take shape despite the results being a year or two away. Everything points to this being a worth while signing. Only question remaining is will Benning be able to pull this off.