Tag: Nail Yakupov

Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks

Bridge built: Oilers hand Yakupov two-year, $5M extension


Nail Yakupov and the Edmonton Oilers are at a crossroads right now, so a “bridge” contract makes some sense. The team announced that they signed the young winger to a two-year deal on Monday.

The contract is worth $5 million overall, which shapes up to be $2.5 million per season. This is an affordable compromise, and maybe the first of at least two with key young players for the Oilers, as Edmonton still must take the next step with polarizing defenseman Justin Schultz.

Yakupov, 21, had just finished the final season of his entry-level contract after being the first pick of the 2012 NHL Draft. It’s been a bumpy development process so far for the Russian forward. Plus/minus is a widely derided stat, yet it might most succinctly tell the story of how tough things have been for him at times: Yakupov is a -72 for his short career, including an all-time low of -35 in 2014-15.

That’s by no means Yakupov’s fault alone, mind you.

The biggest thing is that he’s been streaky (at best) when it comes to scoring, yet the good news is that he’s shown some improvement to close out this past season. He scored 21 points in his last 31 games versus just 12 in the first 50 games.

There’s plenty of time for a breakthrough, and if it happens, the Oilers are getting a nice (short-term) bargain.

Hall returns to the Oilers lineup vs. Flyers

Taylor Hall

Taylor Hall will return to the Oilers lineup tonight when Edmonton plays host to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Hall has missed 23 games due to a foot injury.

The 23-year-old is expected to begin tonight’s game on a line with Anton Lander and Andrew Miller. He is also expected to see power play time alongside Nail Yakupov and Derek Roy.

Hall also missed five games in November due to a knee injury.

In 42 games this season Hall has 11 goals and 30 points.

Philadelphia won the only other meeting between the two clubs 4-1 on Nov. 4.

Is Nail Yakupov starting to figure things out?

Los Angeles Kings v Edmonton Oilers

Aside from being months away from grabbing yet another can’t-miss prospect, there haven’t been a lot of bright sides for the Edmonton Oilers to look on. Nail Yakupov’s last two months might be one point of optimism, though.

The team’s most wayward No. 1 overall pick has looked positively lost at times during his first three years in the NHL, inspiring at least some thoughts that maybe he was rushed to the top league. Even at 21, especially impatient observers probably were getting worried about the budding sniper.

While his possession stats argue that there’s still plenty of room for improvement, the top pick of the 2012 NHL Draft is at least starting to produce some offense lately.

Seeing a little light at the end of the tunnel?

He extended a five-game point streak last night with a goal and an assist, giving him three goals and three assists in that span. After only generating 12 points in his first 50 games this season, Yakupov now has 16 points in his last 20.

Again, it doesn’t take that long to find something to nitpick; Yakupov also has a -8 rating in his more positive last two months, giving him a -33 mark that matches last year’s troubling total. Many rightly dismiss plus/minus as a stat that often reflects the quality of one’s team (and/or linemates) more than anything else, yet more traditional-stats-minded people will use that to question how much progress the young Russian has really made.

Still, when you consider the fact that he only managed a goal in a 21-game span from November 13 – Dec. 30, generating a long stretch where he scores in almost every game is a breath of fresh air.

A feel-good story

It seems like he’s generating some positive press off of the ice, too.

There was a buzz created as word surfaced about Yakupov’s generosity toward a homeless man, but he just shrugged it off to QMI.

“I usually like to give money to homeless, guys sitting with animals, cats or dogs,” Yakupov said. “It’s a touching moment. I can’t just walk by. I always like to give them something to buy some food.”


Yakupov and the Oilers still have a long, long way to go, but at least there are finally some signs of progress for the struggling prospect.