Nail Yakupov

Russian sensation tops Central Scouting list once again

The NHL’s Central Scouting Service is all about the “Fail for Nail” campaign.

CSS has Nail Yakupov, the talented scorer from the CHL, listed as their top overall prospect for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft once again. Yakupov topped their preseason rankings as well making him the favorite to be taken first overall at the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh this summer.

Trailing Yakupov is fellow Russian forward Mikhail Grigorenko with defenseman Ryan Murray, Czech forward Radek Faksa, and defenseman Morgan Reilly rounding out the top five. Seven of the top ten prospects on the CSS list are defensemen making this a great time to be in need of a future cornerstone blue liner.

The top-rated American skater is defenseman Jacob Trouba. Trouba was the youngest player for Team USA’s World Junior team this year. If goalies are your thing, the top rated netminder is none other than P.K. Subban’s little brother Malcolm.

There will be one more list from CSS before the draft in late June, but unless Yakupov’s injury he suffered during World Juniors turns out to be a bigger problem for him, it’s hard to see him being unseated as the top prospect before then.

Another Sabre hurt: Gionta (lower body) day-to-day

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On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.

Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.

The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.

There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.

Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.

Blues put Berglund on LTIR, use savings to sign Gomez

Scotte Gomez
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As was the case last season, Scott Gomez accepted a professional tryout offer because he went unsigned over the summer and once again he has used that opportunity to extend his career.

The St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed Gomez to a one-year contract. They didn’t disclose the financial terms, but it’s a two-way deal that comes with a base salary of $575K at the NHL level, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

In order to free up the space necessary to sign him, St. Louis moved Patrik Berglund to the long-term injured reserve list. Berglund had shoulder surgery in August and isn’t expected to be available until January.

Gomez, 35, is coming off of a resurgence campaign where he recorded 34 points in 58 games on a Devils’ team that finished near the bottom of the pack offensively. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be bringing more than a 1,000 games worth of NHL experience to St. Louis.

He’s not the only veteran forward to make the team off of a PTO as the Blues signed Scottie Upshall on Monday.