Nail Yakupov has been in the press box for seven of St. Louis’ last 12 games, and that’s expected to become eight in 13 when the Blues host the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight.
That stat might have some wondering: Does GM Doug Armstrong regret acquiring Yakupov from Edmonton?
The answer: No. Not yet, anyway.
“I have a lot of confidence in Yak that he’s going to keep his nose to the grindstone and when he gets his opportunity, he’s just got to make the most of it,” Armstrong said, per the Post-Dispatch. “We look at it from how our team is doing, not how each individual player is doing, and our team is doing well. He’s part of our team.”
When in the lineup, Yakupov’s been fairly productive this season. He has two goals and five points through 16 games — averaging just a shade over 10 minutes per night — and there have been zero complaints about his effort, energy and attitude in the room.
In fact, everybody in St. Louis seems to be saying variations of the same thing. Yak’s a good guy, works hard, good player, etc. etc. It’s just really tough to crack the lineup right now (which is fair, given the Blues are No. 2 in the Western Conference standings and No. 4 in the league overall).
Armstrong also noted the club had no regrets about getting Yakupov out of Edmonton, noting the low price point (a third-round pick) and calling it a “worthwhile gamble.”
One has to think Armstrong made the Yakupov move in the event one of his core forwards gets hurt. Jaden Schwartz, Alex Steen and Patrik Berglund have all had injury problems over the last couple of years.