Monday, 28 May 2012

Prospect Report: Nail Yakupov

 Player Bio:
Player Name: Nail Yakupov
Date of Birth: October.6th,1993
Place of Birth: Nizhnekamsk, Russia
Height: 5’11 Weight: 189lbs
Shoots: Left
Position: Right Wing
Team:  Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Puck Central Draft Ranking: Number 1
NHL Potential: First line Winger/NHL Superstar
NHL Comparison: Pavel Bure
The Scoop:
    Nail Yakupov  is the favorite to go first overall in this year upcoming NHL Entry-Draft. He started the season as the favorite, and despite fellow Russian, Mikhail Grigorenko, knocking at his door, he’s managed to maintain top status. He was drafted 2nd overall in the 2010 CHL Import Draft, by the Sarnia Sting. He took the OHL by storm in his rookie season by scoring 49 goals, and 101 points in 65 games, enough to lead the entire CHL in rookie scoring. To top off his impressive rookie season, he took home OHL Rookie of the Year, and CHL Rookie of the Year. Expectations were very high for Yakupov heading into his sophomore season, and draft year. For the most part he did not disappoint. He started the year hot but when he got injured during the World Juniors Championship game his season sort of staggered a bit. He would go on to suffer a couple minor injuries, which would result in missed games, and effected his play. However this hasn’t hurt his draft ranking any, but  it has made some question his durability. He still managed to score 31 goals and 69 points in 42 games this season, and he also dished out 9 assists in 6 games played at the World Junior Championships.
     Some scouts have said that Nail Yakupov is the best prospect since Sidney Crosby in 2005. He has a lethal shot,explosive skating, and slick hands, not to mention he can play a physical, North American style game. He’s highly competitive and will do anything to win, although he gets caught doing too much at times. From what I’ve seen of Yakupov, he’s capable of taking over a game by himself, and can easily control the pace of the game. He gives it his all every shift, and is usually a difference maker. He loves the sport of hockey, and that’s all he wants to do. In an interview he said that when he comes to the rink he shuts everything out, and just focuses on hockey, this is something that all the greats have the ability to do. On top of his skill he has a great personality, which makes him well liked by teammates. Also since coming from Russia a few years ago his english has improved immensely, which is a nice asset to any team wanting to draft him.
 Yakupov is an exciting player and which ever team drafts him, which will surely be at 1st Overall, will have a potential franchise player. He’s skilled enough to make an immediate impact in the NHL, and in a few short years will likely be competing for scoring titles, and major awards. He has publicly said he loves Canada and would love to play on the Edmonton Oilers (They own the 1st Overall pick right now) so I don’t think there will ever be an issue of him not wanting to play in the NHL or leaving the NHL for the KHL, so I don’t think he should be pegged with the “Russian Factor”. Expectations are high for this player but there’s no doubt in my mind, or many others, that he won’t have any trouble living up to them.
Strong Points:
• Deadly Shot
• Explosive Skater
• Game Changer
• Great Hands
• Plays Physical
• Great Vision
• Ridiculous Celly’s
• Very Strong
• Very Competitive
Weak Points:
• Not Strong Defensively
• Tries To Do Too Much
• Doesn’t Use His Teammates Enough
• Too Reckless , Which Leads To Injuries
• Isn’t Very Big
Interesting Facts:
He’s Muslim
His favorite player growing up was Pavel Bure
His agent is Russian legend,Igor Larionov
He lives with friend/teammate, Alex Galchenyuk, who is also a Top Prospect

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