Nail Yakupov has always been a enigmatic personality in and out of the dressing room and on the ice. What makes this young up and coming star player so good is not just the skill set, it's the drive to be the best or as some say, the drive to always be improving.
Here are Nail Yakupov's PPG over the past few years in the respective leagues he has played in;
2010-2011 CHL (101pts for 1.55 PPG)
2010-2012 U18 (13 pts for 1.85 PPG)
2011-2012 CHL (69 pts for 1.64 PPG)
2011-2012 U20 (9 pts for 1.28 PPG)
2012-2013 KHL (18 pts for .82 PPG)
2012-2013 NHL (31 pts for .65 PPG)
I had predicted on twitter and believe on a blog as well the PPG production Nail would likely produce both in the KHL and in the NHL. I had estimated Yakupov could produce .65 PPG in the KHL which he fared even better and in the NHL I said I believed he would produce around the .57 PPG. I had people saying I was out to lunch and no way this player had the skills yet or the size to produce like that at the NHL level. He covered both bets for me and this year it is likely we could see him more around the .80 PPG mark by the end of the NHL season of 2013-2014.
When looking at his Jr career and comparing him at that stage , let's look how he compares to a few other notable stars.
2006-2007 CHL (92 pts for 1.46 PPG)
2006-2007 U18 (10 pts for 1.67 PPG)
2007-2008 CHL (105pts for 1.72 PPG)
2007-2008 U18 (5 pts for 1.25 PPG)
2007-2008 U20 (6pts for .86 PPG)
2008-2009 NHL (46 pts for .58 PPG)
2009-2010 NHL (95 pts for 1.16 PPG)
As we can see with Stamkos, it was his second season when his numbers began to soar. With a solid understanding of the game now and a larger sturdier frame he was better able to translate his jr career to the NHL level.
(since John was brought in as a exceptional player into the OHL I will be exempting his early year to be more in comparison with the same age)
2006-2007 CHL (134 pts for 2.0 PPG)
2007-2008 CHL (118 pts for 2.0 PPG)
2007-2008 U20 (5 pts for .71 PPG)
2009-2010 NHL (54 pts for .66 PPG)
2010-2011 NHL (67 pts for .85 PPG)
John was one of the most incredible point producing jrs in the last couple decades. Very few reach his peak yet his game did not translate in his first year and even his second as you can see was somewhat reasonable.
Let's look at 2 more comparable players he currently plays with.
2008-2009 CHL (90 pts for 1.43 PPG)
2008-2009 U18 (8 pts for 2.0 PPG)
2009-2010 CHL (106 pts for 1.86 PPG)
2009-2010 U20 (12 pts for 2.0 PPG)
2010-2011 NHL (42 pts for .65 PPG)
2011-2012 NHL (53 pts for .87 PPG)
Taylor had a tremendous jr career but also while faring well in the NHL still took time to adjust to the style and speed of the game. His second year saw a increase in production like most stars do.
2009-2010 CHL (65 pts for .97 PPG)
2009-2010 U17 (5pts for 1.0 PPG)
2010-2011 CHL (106 pts for 1.54 PPG)
2010-2011 U18 (7 pts for 1.4 PPG)
2011-2012 NHL (52 pts for .84 PPG)
2012-2013 NHL (24 pts for .6 PPG)
*Fought with bad shoulder all season that ended early
Ryan IMO would have fared much better if not nursing a injury all season long. He fought through but likely his second NHL season was one that will not be seen again.
As you can see when comparing seasons to some other great players Nail is right on course and to under estimate his production this season would be to under value him as a player. The following is a quick look at the comparison's of jr career hockey to 1st seasons in the NHL.
Nail Yakupov 1.59 PPG
Steven Stamkos 1.59 PPG
John Tavares 1.75 PPG
Taylor Hall 1.53 PPG
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.26 PPG
In looking at the PPG totals here in CHL hockey it's very clear Yakupov is on par with these players that many consider to be great. It should also be considered that both Yakupov and Stamkos did not play on a loaded team in their final year yet still produced well.
NHL 1st Season PPG
Nail Yakupov .65 PPG
Steven Stamkos .58 PPG
John Tavares .66 PPG
Taylor Hall .65 PPG
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins .84 PPG
In observing the 1st year stats of PPG in these same players career's it can not be denied that Yakupov while playing only a shortened season produced equal to his earlier comrades in the NHL and shows very well against extremely high competition.
Lastly, let's look at the 2nd years PPG production from the same players alongside my prediction of Nail Yakupov for the 2013-2014 NHL Season
NHL 2nd Season PPG
Steven Stamkos 1.16 PPG
John Tavares .85 PPG
Taylor Hall .87 PPG
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins .60 PPG
Nail Yakupov .80 PPG (My prediction)
Looking at how Nail has compared well in at the same growth curve in his career, I believe it is reasonable to say he likely will be comparable in his 2nd NHL season as well. While Stamkos hit it out of the park on his second season RNH struggled a little. Despite that, when comparing, it definitely gives a good case of optimism for Oilers fans alike this coming season.
In the meantime, Keep your stick on the Ice!