There have been many story-lines out of Edmonton through just over a month of NHL action. Perhaps none are more intriguing than any number of topics surrounding 2012 1st overall pick Nail Yakupov. The Russian sniper is off to a poor start this year, not unlike his team who have 3 wins in 13 games. He has been healthy scratched, criticized for a his attitude, and performed unimpressively on the scoresheet.
Yakupov has 1 goal in 13 games. Hardly the numbers anyone expects from a kid who scored 17 times in 48 games as a rookie last season.
Rumours have circulated repeatedly offering up the notion that the Oilers may trade their young sniper. On October 17, the Edmonton Journal wrote a column discussing the possibility of a trade that would send Yakupov to the Buffalo Sabres for goaltender Ryan Miller. Read full article by the Edmonton Journal here.
Yakupov’s place on Team Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is in question.
In regards to Yakupov’s place with the Russian Olympic team at the 2014 Winters’ in Sochi, Russia, Olympic scout and former Edmonton Oiler, Igor Kravchuk, told Team 1200 radio in Ottawa, “He has to make [up] his mind. If he’s not going to change his game than he has no future.” Kravchuk quotes courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
Kravchuk went on to say, “Obviously, from what I see, his team game is really, really poor. He tries to do a lot of things by himself and he has absolutely no defence and that’s what really concerns [me] as a scout. Read full article by Alan Muir of Sports Illustrated here.
Yakupov is an interesting case. He clearly has explosive speed and skill. He’s a capable scorer, as well. He proved that last season.
It’s surprising that the former 1st overall draft choice scored nearly 1 goal every two games in 2012-13 and now all of a sudden can’t finish. Sophomore season’s are notoriously testing, I guess. He’s so young; Yakupov’s future as a scorer is still very promising.
Yakupov will likely figure it out and become a great NHLer, unless he’s like Alexandre Daigle. In 1993 the Ottawa Senators drafted Daigle 1st overall. He scored 20 goals as a rookie, and posted an eerily similar 16 in 47 games his second season. In the end, Daigle never developed into a superstar. He is one of the only 1st overall flops of the last two and a half decades. If you’re the Edmonton Oilers, you’re really hoping Yakupov isn’t another Daigle. But you have to admit, the league is due for a 1st overall bust. It’s been a while.