With the final result, weighted now in the favour of the Edmonton Oilers, this should now put a end to the drought of a losing season in Alberta's Capital City. Adding Nail Yakupov will now give the Oilers not 3 BUT 4 Star players to play in the top 6. We know things will be slightly more confusing in regards to positions on the wings but competition like this will now really push the current players to perform at their peaks or be moved and or even put down a line.
Players like Hemsky, Gagner, Paajarvi and Hartikainen will all be pushing for those remaining 2, top 6 playing minutes. Healthy competition like this should only bring out the best in this team. The options remain many. Hall could be tested at Centre to play with Yakupov and Gagner moved to the wing or even to 3rd line centre. Maybe Yakupov has the ability to shift to LW and you could play Yakupov/Hall/Hemsky ? Maybe you change things up. What about Hall/Gagner/Eberle and a Yakupov/RNH/Hemsky line? The options are limitless. If 1 or 2 stars go down, you still have a minimum of 2 in the line up with some other good skill.
Yakupov size? Well he may be 5'11 but he is 190lbs when he entered the season in 2011/2012. This guy has strength in his legs, core and upper body like few his age. Crosby was relatively the same size coming in and Yakupov has been up against several big bodied defencemen in the OHL this year. This guy keeps his legs moving constantly and has speed to burn with incredible control and vision on the ice. He draws penalties often due to his speed and constant leg movement. Like Hall, he will have to learn to keep his head on a swivel and be careful out there against the big boys of the NHL.
Injuries? Yes, he did have a couple this year to deal with, but that can be said of several top end prospects this year including Ryan Murray, Mikhail Grigorenko, Morgan Rielly and Galchenyuk. No indication from what I know before this year, that Nail is a injury prone player.
Bad playoff in 2012 for Nail? 5 points in 6 games and it's a disappointing playoff run? He just returned from injury and was still not playing up to par if you ask his teammates and coaches and the guy was still a trooper and still played. Imagine if he was not injured and running at full throttle!
What about his high end offensive potential? Nail Yakupov rates well against the best in the last 7 years of hockey in regards to points per game. Here is a small sample how he compares to the Oilers "Big 3".
Taylor Hall 1.54 ppg
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.26 ppg
Jordon Eberle 1.22 ppg
Nail Yakupov 1.59 ppg
Even comparing Nail to a couple star players from the OHL he fares well.
John Tavares 1.75 ppg
Steven Stamkos 1.59 ppg
Nail holds his own quite well in ppg. His biggest work will be learning to play well without the puck. However this guy knows all about puck retrieval and NHL coaches can work further on that part. No way I see the Oilers moving this player whatsoever. They will lead everyone to believe they will consider it, but in the end the Edmonton Oilers will select Nail Yakupov #1 Overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in June.
Here is a video for those of you who have yet to see some of the sick moves this player can make. Is he cocky? Yup, but I say it's always nice to be able to back that up sometimes. Myself, I am getting tired of Robotic type answers that never truly express how they feel or think. As long as the player is teachable and has all-world skill and work ethic, it's worth the chance.
Things are starting to really get interesting in Edmonton. Talk about pressure to make a move this next year. Cheers Oiler fans!
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