Bit of interesting news out of Russia — per the KHL website, the rights to Oilers forward Nail Yakupov have been acquired by one of the league’s biggest clubs, CSKA Moscow.
Yakupov’s rights were acquired from Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik, the team he played for during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign. Since then, the 21-year-old has spent three seasons in Edmonton and recently inked a two-year, $5 million extension with the Oilers that runs through 2017.
The first overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Yakupov’s had some difficult times in Edmonton but seemed to turn a corner at the end of last season (which coincided with the coaching change from Dallas Eakins to Todd Nelson). He scored 21 points over his final 31 games of the season, and earned praise from both Edmonton’s coaching staff and upper management.
Since then, though, the Oilers have undergone some significant changes. Peter Chiarelli has replaced Craig MacTavish as GM and, last month, the club won the draft lottery — and the subsequent right to select Connor McDavid first overall in June.
As for the club acquiring Yakupov’s KHL rights, CSKA is home to the likes of ex-NHLers Alex Radulov, Stephane Da Costa, Evgeny Artyukhin and Andreas Engqvist, and rolled through the regular season this year with a league-high 139 points.
Updated: Replying to our inquiry, Yakupov’s agent Igor Larionov called the move a “standard rights transaction,” adding he was unaware the transaction had been made.