Get to know a draft pick — Nail Yakupov

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All week leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.

Nail Yakupov (RW)

Height: 5’10 Weight: 189 Shoots: Left

Team: Sarnia Sting (OHL)

Country: Russia

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 1 among North American skaters

What kind of player is he?

An explosive scorer. Yakupov had 31 goals and 38 assists in 42 games with the Sting in 2011-12. He missed time with injuries, but nothing serious enough to hurt his ranking.

In January, legendary coach Scotty Bowman said Yakupov reminded him of Pavel Bure.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Yakupov’s agent, Igor Larionov, says his client has no interest in returning to Russia to play in the KHL: “Only one league exists for him, the National Hockey League, nothing else.”


“Yakupov’s skating is unrivaled in this year’s draft. He is blessed with a powerful stride and incredible four-way mobility that makes him a threat to score every time he touches the puck. Nail is so explosive and gets to top speed in the blink of an eye. On the offensive side of the blueline he consistently brings fans to the edge of their seats. He is a pure trigger man and is certainly NHL ready in that regard, which is something that can’t be said for many forwards in this draft.” — Matt Moran, OHL Central Scouting

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.

Flames release Ryan Wilson from PTO

Ryan Wilson, Sidney Crosby
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The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.

The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.

Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.

The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.

He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.

The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.

The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.

The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.