Nail Yakupov has been traded to a team in the Central Division, but it won’t be the Chicago Blackhawks.
Nope, instead, the St. Louis Blues landed the first pick of the 2012 NHL Draft on Friday.
Blues receive: Nail Yakupov
Oilers receive: Prospect Zach Pochiro and a conditional draft pick.
On Pochiro: The 22-year-old forward was the 112th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft. He played in one AHL game last season, spending most of 2015-16 in the ECHL (scoring 26 points in 44 contests with the gloriously named Quad City Mallards).
Cap considerations for Blues: Yakupov is under contract for one year with a $2.5 million cap hit. He’s scheduled to become an RFA after 2016-17.
Fox Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland believes Yakupov may even find his way onto the Blues’ top line. The Blues have stated that they hope to get more aggressive this coming season, and while that focus was largely on their transition game, it doesn’t hurt to add more offensive pop to that mix.
The best news, clearly, is that he’ll open the door for the return of “N64.”
It’s rumored that the Oilers might sign Kris Russell as well today, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman notes.