By taking Nail Yakupov first overall in the 2012 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers added another high-scoring forward to their stable of incredible youth. With Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Jordan Eberle the Oilers have a nice array of stars.
Yakupov heads to the NHL with a lot of hope and David Staples of the Edmonton Journal says the Russian reminds him of the great players of the Soviet era.
But Yakupov also shares the puck exceedingly well. The game doesn’t slow down when the puck comes to him. He doesn’t hold the puck forever, or try to deke out the entire opposing team. Instead, he quickly snaps off a fierce shot, or fires a hard pass, or he rapidly skates the puck to open ice, most often straight at the opposing net.
With his style of play and short, powerful and stocky build, his play isn’t just reminiscent of [Sergei] Makarov and [Vladimir] Krutov, he also looks like them.
If Yakupov can emulate great Russians of the past like them, the Oilers have themselves another franchise player, not to mention one that adds a bit of flavor to the roster. If you recall, Makarov won the Calder Trophy in 1990 (albeit as a 32 year-old).
Considering he’ll be either riding on the wing with Nugent-Hopkins or Sam Gagner, he’ll have the playmakers needed to fill the net.
Russian hockey lost a legend today. Vladimir Krutov passed away at age 52 due to a stomach hemorrhage this morning.
While Krutov never really staked his claim in North America in the NHL,his legacy internationally is well known.
Krutov won two Olympic gold medals and five World Championships with the Soviet Union as a member on the legendary “KLM line.” While teamed up with Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov, Krutov dominated international play with 164 points in 123 games. Those three players would combine with Vyacheslav Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov to make up one of the most dynamic five-man lineups in hockey called “The Green Unit.”
Krutov played one season with the Vancouver Canucks in 1989-1990 scoring 11 goals and adding 23 assists teaming up with Larionov. While Larionov stuck with Vancouver and ultimately won Stanley Cups with Detroit, Krutov headed back to Russia the following year. Krutov was inducted to the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2010.
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.
The Kings are offering a $50,000 reward to find the person who shot a 14-month old baby in Watts as part of community drive. (Kings)
Bob McKenzie says the Kings’ trade for Mike Richards set them on the path for success. (TSN)
Current Blues executive Dave Taylor has his hands all over building the L.A. Kings. (Post-Dispatch)
Yes, Petr Sykora is going to play in Game 4 for New Jersey. (The Star-Ledger)
This might just be Martin Brodeur’s last chance to play in the finals. (Fire & Ice)
Peter DeBoer isn’t about to go blaming anyone on his roster for being down 3-0. (Toronto Sun)
Zach Parise says the Devils, “trust each other because they have to.” (Fire & Ice)
The Kings are just looking to “reset and re-focus” to get set for a potential Cup-clinching game. (L.A. Kings Insider)
Russian legend Vladimir Krutov has passed away. (Greatest Hockey Legends)
Get to know future top-pick Nail Yakupov a lot better than some teams will take to get to know him. (Oilers Nation)
Michel Therrien cried tears of joy upon being hired by the Canadiens once again. (Montreal Gazette)
Gossip about Brian Burke’s personal life? You know it’s the offseason in Toronto when… (Toronto Sun)