Yakupov arrives in Edmonton: “It’s time to start work”


The Nail Yakupov era is officially underway in Edmonton.

After scoring four points in four games for Team Russia during the Canada-Russia challenge, the first overall selection at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft flew to Alberta and began setting up in advance of the 2012-13 season.

More, from Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal:

Last month, he signed his three-year entry level contract and said then that his mom and sister would relocate from Russia, as they did when he played in Sarnia, Ont.

Finding a place to live in Edmonton is now on the agenda, as is a jump into a training regime with the players already in town.

“It’s time to start work,” he said. “I’ll start working out with the guys, get my place.”

Assuming Yakupov makes the big club — which seems a foregone conclusion, given new head coach Ralph Kruger’s already talked about using him on the power play — he’ll be the third consecutive No. 1 overall pick to jump right into the Oilers lineup.

Taylor Hall, the top pick in 2010, scored 22G-20A-42PTS in 65 games as a rookie before a high ankle sprain ended his season.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the top pick in 2011, scored 18G-34A-52PTS in 62 games as a rookie while dealing with a series of shoulder issues.

So…you can guess what the concern will be for Yakupov in his first pro campaign.

Not that he’s focused on the possibility of injury.

“I can’t wait for the start of camp,” he said, “so I can play games with the Edmonton Oilers.”