Oilers’ third-round pick thinks he can be better than Nail Yakupov

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You may not know much about Edmonton third-round pick Danil Zharkov, but he wants you to know he thinks he can be better than his potential future teammate and No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov.

Zharkov tells Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal he believes he’s got the talent to be the better of the two Russians Edmonton selected in this year’s draft.

“It’s my goal to be better than Yak. It doesn’t matter if he’s my friend or not,” said the winger after he had been drafted by the club in the third round (91st overall). The Oilers had selected Yakupov with the first pick less than 24 hours earlier.

Well if he’s that good, how is it he wound up going that late? Easy. Zharkov says teams avoided him because he’s Russian.

“In my opinion, I dropped down this year. I think because I’m Russian; the NHL teams are really scared I will go to the KHL, but I’m not going to do that,” he said. “I’m going to try and make the team.

“If not, I’ll go back to Belleville.”

Give the kid this, at least he’s confident in himself but there may be something to what he’s saying. Zharkov was ranked as the No. 32 skater in North America by Central Scouting. Falling all the way to 91st overall means something was up with what teams saw in him. Zharkov’s late season scoring drought likely didn’t help much.

PHT Morning Skate: In which Matt Duchene is a real team guy

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Matt Duchene apparently took a two-year contract so as to motivate himself and help the team. What year is this again? (All Things Avs)

Stars owner Tom Gaglardi says there won’t be anything holding him back in free agency this summer. (Dallas Morning News)

Lubomir Visnovsky might stay in Europe rather than play for the Islanders? Hoo boy. (Islanders Point Blank)

Oilers third-round pick Danil Zharkov thinks he can outplay first overall choice Nail Yakupov. Well then. (Edmonton Journal)

The Blue Jackets fired four scouts. I didn’t think their draft was that bad. (Columbus Dispatch)

Jeremy Roenick was a big fan of Chicago’s draft. The Hawks picking his nephew may have something to do with that. (Chicago Tribune)

The Blues’ draft this year saw them go big. Like everyone being 6’2″ or taller big. (Post-Dispatch)

Damien Cox sees some headaches in trying to get Roberto Luongo to Toronto. (Toronto Star)

Rick Nash apparently won’t waive his no-trade clause to go to Ottawa. Welp. (Senators Extra)