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Yakupov wants to prove he deserves a spot in Edmonton

Jul 7, 2012, 1:52 PM EDT

Nail Yakupov Getty Images

Nail Yakupov is going to be a fascinating kid to watch next season. It’s assumed he’s going to have a spot waiting for him in the Oilers lineup when the season starts, but he’s not taking anything for granted.

Yakupov tells Andrey Osadchenko of Oilers Nation he wants to prove he belongs.

“So far I just want to make the team. I want to prove with work and the way I play that I deserve to be on the team. I want to get as much ice-time as I can. I want my team to win. I want to get a lot of points. I want to feel comfortable on the team. I don’t want to be in the limbo. I want to be a part of the team. I don’t want to be an up-and-down guy. And I want to be the best (laughs).”

Given the Oilers’ poor play for the past few seasons, finding a place for a kid with as much talent as Yakupov shouldn’t be hard, especially with Taylor Hall possibly missing the start of the season following a shoulder operation.

Now if they can get Yakupov to help the defensemen and goalies, then he might be even better than the Oilers imagined. Landing the Russian Reggie Dunlop would be pretty sweet.

  1. ray2013 - Jul 7, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Remember just a few weeks ago, some people were saying don’t draft Russians in case they run back to Russia? This kid sure seems like he wants to run home to Mother Russia.

  2. sergeikremlin - Jul 7, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    This kid has an infectious work ethic and personality. He has a high compete level in terms of going hard to the net and into the dirty areas. He’s not shy on the ice or in front of the camera. He’s going to be a star for the Oil from day one, bringing the fans out of their seats.

    One thing Nail needs to be aware of at all times though, is that he is a target. A lot of players don’t like Russians, young cocky players, and high draft picks. They want to teach them a lesson. It’s a troika that puts Yakupov in the danger zone.

    He needs to keep that head up, because if he thought Mike Halmo hit hard, wait until he runs into the Kronn-Wall.

  3. ray2013 - Jul 7, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    In Edmonton, they keep talking about wanting to emulate the Red Wings style of player development. Let the younger players develop at their own pace, either in juniors, college or the minors. Call them up after they’ve had a chance to work on deficiencies and taken the time to learn the team’s system.

    When they drafted Taylor Hall, it didn’t make sense to send him back to juniors, because he had won back-to-back Memorial Cups, and there was nothing more he could really do. Bringing Hall up the the NHL made sense. When they drafted Nuge, there were a lot more murmurs to send him back to juniors because of his slight build. Give him the chance to work on key areas and then bring him up in a year. But they bowed to pressure from some fans and media to let him play. He did well, but at the same point, it would not have harmed him to wait a year to delay his ELC and RFA status.

    They do have Eberle and Hemsky (who they signed for $10 mill/2 years D’oh!) to play in their top six. Would they send him back to juniors? It’s not like they’re planning to win the Cup this year. I’d send him back to juniors. It was definitely beneficial for Eberle.

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