Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov has gone minus-54 this offseason.
Yakupov, the first overall selection at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has ditched the No. 64 he wore for his first two seasons in the NHL in favor of Shawn Horcoff’s old No. 10, per the Edmonton Sun.
Yakupov grew up wearing 10, but it was not available in his first season with the Oilers, taken by then captain Shawn Horcoff.
“Yeah, I’ve always played with the No. 10, it’s my favourite number,” said Yakupov, making a stop at the Oilers hockey school in St. Albert on Tuesday. “Horc said I could wear No. 10, so I’ll take it. If I have a chance to change it I will.
“I don’t want to say too much about it, it’s not like I think changing the number is going to change my game or something, it’s just a number. There may be a different number on my jersey, but the last name is going to be the same.”
The 20-year-old Russian, who experienced the dictionary definition of a sophomore slump last season, scored just 24 points in 63 games and occasionally sat as a healthy scratch, leading to friction with head coach Dallas Eakins. Yakupov also struggled with various injuries, finished a ghastly minus-33 (hence that killer lede) and, as is too often the case with slumping Russian players, got tagged as enigmatic/mercurial/aloof.
This was, of course, before he switched to No. 10. Everything should be great now!