After being taken by the Edmonton Oilers with the first overall pick of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, it’s no surprise that Nail Yakupov doesn’t want to return to OHL Sarnia. However, as the National Post reported, Yakupov doesn’t plan to play there even if the NHL season is delayed because of a lockout.
“Just for a visit, you know?” Yakupov said when pressed after flatly stating that he wouldn’t go back to Sarnia. “I have a lot of friends there, and I have my second family. I want to see (them) … I’ll go have a couple days with the family, and go to the rink and see my GM, my coaches, who helped me, who supported me for two years. The fans in Sarnia, they’re amazing, you know? I loved the fans. And probably, they loved me, too.”
That being said, when it comes to his alternate options, Yakupov is keeping his cards close to his chest. His agent suggested that he’d play in the KHL if there’s no NHL season, but Yakupov wouldn’t confirm that.
“Nobody knows,” Yakupov said. “Nobody knows. And I don’t know, too.”
For now, Yakupov is focused on getting ready for Edmonton’s training camp. When a new CBA is signed, Yakupov will be joining a talented group of young forwards that includes fellow first overall picks Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.