Nail Yakupov is an healthy scratch again tonight. The former first overall pick in 2012 was traded earlier in the season in exchange of Zach Pochiro and a 3rd round pick. Pochiro wasn't drafted and i'm not sure the Edmonton Oilers expect him to be on an NHL roster anytime soon, if ever.
Yakupov only saw 9 minutes of icetime in the last 16 days and yet, we haven't heard anything about him wanting to go back to Russia. Despite being considered a "bust", Yakupov is still one of the best player coming out of the 2012 NHL Draft as he ranks 4th in goals, 5th in assists and 3rd in points. Not so bad when you really think about it.
“He plays like a guy being chased by a swarm of bees,” someone once said. "All over the place, all the time". Still he managed to score 49 goals when he was just a sixteen year-old in the OHL.
Maybe here lies the key to Nail Yakupov; his former teammate with the Sarnia Sting, Alex Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk who was playing the best hockey of his career with his fellow russian-blooded, Alexander Radulov, before getting injured. Montreal is still looking to fill out the hole they have on the left wing and Yakupov would be a terrific low-risk high-reward player for them.
What would be the price anyway? A fourth round pick? Third round pick at best?
What if Yakupov becomes the player he was supposed to be, playing on Galchenyuk's wing?