The Edmonton Oilers drafted Nail Yakupov at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Did they acquire a dominant shooter?
Since the lockout, Edmonton’s best (single season) shots on goal totals have been:
- Taylor Hall (11-12) 207
- Petr Sykora (06-07) 206
- Dustin Penner (09-10) 203
- Dustin Penner (07-08) 201
These are good totals, but many miles from the all-time number (Phil Esposito 550 shots in 1970-71) and the best post-lockout number (Alexander Ovechkin 528 shots in 2008-09). The all-time mark for an Oiler (Wayne Gretzky 369 shots in 1981-82) is 30 years old and unlikely to fall anytime soon.
GET TO THE YAK ALREADY!
We are extremely limited in terms of what shot totals are available for a player Nail Yakupov’s age.We do have WJ totals over many years; it is a very small sample size but here’s a look at recent Oiler draft picks and their single season performances at the world juniors:
- Jordan Eberle (08-09) 26shots/6games 4.33per game (6 goals)
- Taylor Hall (09-10) 21shots/6games 3.5per game (6 goals)
- Nail Yakupov (11-12) 21shots/7games 3.00per game (0 goals)
Now the ages are little bit all over the place but it is interesting to see the three wingers side by side. Yakupov’s 0 goals was a topic of discussion at the time but he was all around the offense and the scouting reports have him as a terrific shooter.
SAW HIM GOOD
I’m a follower of math as it relates to hockey, but numbers should be used to confirm what the eyes see. We should question our belief in specific things when math refuses to confirm what the eyes are seeing. ‘Math’ and ‘saw him good’ are a perfect match when it comes to Nail Yakupov, but math trails the video because junior leagues don’t track things like shots on goal and time on ice (please, Baby Jesus. In my lifetime would be wonderful).
The other major math item: Yakupov was tracking ahead of Taylor Hall in the OHL last season before his injury, and the year before Yakupov had a stunning rookie season with Sarnia in 10-11.
- First 26 OHL games in 11-12: 21-32-53 2.04ppg
Stu MacGregor: “He’s extremely fast, he’s creative, he can score goals. One of the things that really impressed– whenever he got in all alone on a goaltender, he didn’t miss, he put it in. He has the potential — and I want to say potential — to score 30 goals or even more."
Yakupov’s impressive showing at the Oilers development camp right after the entry draft including some impressive moments and loud sounds of clanging iron as the phenom beat the goalie and met the crossbar. His goal in G1 of the Canada-Russia series was breathtaking. Holy hell this kid can shoot the puck.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I honestly think we’re (as a fanbase) overlooking this guy. It is understandable, he’s never played in a game as an Oiler and he’s the third #1 overall selection in a row. Maybe we think that after Taylor Hall and the Nuge nothing could possibly make us stand up and take notice.
I think Nail Yakupov is going to knock us on our collective cans come training camp, and a lot of it will have to do with his shot, shots on goal, and time in the scoring zone. This isn’t a complementary player destined to play in the shadow of Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, this isn’t the third Beatle and this isn’t a guy who can be ignored.
Math and ‘saw him good’ agree. This kid is special.
Noon today on Team 1260 Edmonton. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, leave comments below or you can tweet to @ItsNationRadio or Lowetide_. Scheduled to appear:
- Tom Lynn, agent and advisor for NHL players and prospects. We’ll talk to Tom about the CBA negotiations, the large number of free agents still unsigned, the impact a lockout would have on players at all levels, and loopholes in agreements.
- Scott Reynolds from Copper and Blue and NHL Numbers. Scott is a brilliant contributor to the Oilogosphere and we’ll discuss a range of issues including Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz; The terrificNHL Numbers team by team previewsand the Oilers at the draft.
- Andrey Osadchenko, our Russian reporter who has already given us great insight into Nail Yakupov. We’ll talk about the Russian phenom, the Canada-Russia series and the city of Yaroslavl and their recovery from the air tragedy of one year ago.
- Kent Wilson, Nations Overlord and frequent contributor to the Nation Radio show. We’ll talk about the Flames, NW division, the JayBo rumors and ‘the gamble that is Jiri Hudler.’
We have some other guests who have not yet confirmed and will update as we roll along. Your questions are welcome, hope you can tune in and if you have something to say (or ask) don’t hesitate to get in touch.