REPORT: First overall pick under pressure to leave NHL and join KHL

His rights have been already been traded, is he bolting for more money in Russia?

HockeyFeed
REPORT: First overall pick under pressure to leave NHL and join KHL

So long, Nail Yakupov, we hardly knew ye. If the rumors are the be believed, it appears that the Nail Yakupov experiment may be over in North America. The former 1st overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft has struggled to find consistency since first joining the Edmonton Oilers and hasn’t fared much better since being traded to the St. Louis Blues.

Despite being hyped as a dynamic offensive winger with game breaking, goal scoring ability, Yakupov has failed to produce even a single 20 goal season in the NHL and, as a result, may have played his last game in the world’s best hockey league.

Yakupov’s KHL rights were acquired early this morning by CKSA Moscow and its expected that they’ll make a strong push to acquire his services for next season and beyond. The team already boasts former NHL players like Valeri Nichushkin and Vladimir Zharkov and could use Yakupov’s speed and determination on the forecheck.

It’s important to note that while Yakupov’s agreement with the Blues expires this summer, he’ll still be a restricted free-agent (RFA), which tethers his options in North America. Should he decide to seek employment elsewhere, the KHL may be his best option.