According to a report from KHL insider Igor Eronko, former first overall NHL Entry Draft selection Nail Yakupov is done with the NHL and is expected to sign a new contract with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL:
Per @Boogaard_2 Nail Yakupov is set to sign with SKA of the KHL
Earlier this offseason, Yakupov was named, amongst dozens of others, in a huge list of NHLers expected to sign with the KHL later this offseason. According to anonymous KHL blogger Patrick C, Yakupov is headed to the 2017-18 Gagarin Cup champion Ak Bars Kazan.
Check it out:
Yakupov’s agent at the time, NHL legend Igor Larionov addressed, the rumors at the time, saying of his client, “he’s a grown man, and he will decide what’s best for him."
Yakupov subsequently fired Larionov after failing to find him an NHL contract. Yakupov’s one year, $875,000 contract with the Colorado Avalanche expired on July 1st, 2018 after he was not given a qualifying offer from the Avs. Officially, he’s still listed as an unrestricted free agent and is eligible to sign with any NHL club. But, evidently he has other plans.
Regardless of whether or not he is officially done in the NHL, Yakupov has already established himself as the biggest draft bust of the past decade. Selected 1st overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the 24 year old winger has just 62 goals and 136 points in 350 NHL games, despite being billed as a high scoring, high octane offensive player. The thing is, Yakupov’s NHL career started with such promise after he put up 17 goals and 31 points in 48 games during his rookie season. The following season Yakupov’s offensive production would take a nosedive under new head coach Dallas Eakins, however. Since then Yakupov has bounced around a bit, getting traded to the St. Louis Blues before signing with the Avs last offseason.
In 58 games with the Avs in 2017-18, Yakupov managed just nine goals and 16 points, despite receiving opportunities to play with other skilled players like Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Alexander Kerfoot. At this point, it’s hard to argue that Yakupov hasn’t had good opportunities to establish himself in the NHL. Unfortunately for him, he just hasn’t been able to capitalize on his opportunities. So long, Yak?
UPDATE: It's official, Nail Yakupov is DONE in the NHL:
Source: Igor Eronko
Photo Credit: Zuma Press