In yesterday’s pre-lockout flurry, the Oilers assigned Nail Yakupov to Sarnia of the OHL. However, all signs suggest the young Russian is heading home.

There is no doubt Yakupov will be back when the lockout ends, but it does appear–based on reports and previous statements–that Sarnia and another season in junior are not in the cards.

This article contains the following quote:

  • Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk general director Rafik Yakubov: “Yakupov will be playing in Nizhnekamsk in case of a lockout.”

Now this quote came weeks before the lockout and things change. However, as the article also states Yakupov tweeted “going to Russia” yesterday so unless he’s decided to spend time visiting there’s an excellent chance he’ll be playing in the KHL soon. Adding to the evidence:

Slava is the foreign correspondent for Sport-Express, Russia’s sports daily.


From a hockey development point of view, it’s a brilliant move. Yakupov is not eligible to play in the AHL, and the KHL is going to be very strong with all of the NHL Russians added to the current rosters. I don’t think there’s a good argument against the move.


No. Nail Yakupov has signed an NHL contract and will honor it the moment he is allowed to; it’s important to remember this is a lock out and not a strike. NHL owners could have all of their players in camp next Friday should they choose.


Nail Yakupov’s KHL experience will be the best available to him. Fortunately, he’s famous enough to gain employment and not forced back into what would be a redundant junior season.

Yakupov in Russia? Wonderful!



  • RexLibris

    My only concern is the quality of players that he will be playing with. The competition will certainly be there, but I wonder about the collaborative talent available.

    Playing against men is just fine, in my books. So long as he stays away from Vityaz Chekhov. Those guys are a gong show that would make the 70s Flyers look like choir boys.

  • RexLibris

    If lockout is official , then how can they assign anyone anywhere officially ? I don’t believe they can . Also ,how can they send players to minors when their original contracts are one way ?

    Perhaps they are paying some players under the table to go to where they want to assign them , or maybe owners just will not officially declare a lockout ?

    How does lockout vary from layoff (temporary or otherwise ) . Are the players not entitled to U.I. , etc. ? They probably are , but i doubt any would apply . Most importantly , what happens to players after 30 days ? Do they lose all their benefits like almost all unions do unless negotiated otherwise in previous contract . I hope Fehr has shored up this grey area and will protect the players benefits . Costly but necessary if prolonged stoppage happens beyond that 30 day grace period .

  • Lowetide

    madjam: Entry level deals–which is pretty much everyone sent out yesterday–give NHL teams more power. However, I do think that a guy like Eberle has options and if he chooses to play in Europe the Oilers may well endorse it.

  • PutzStew

    Lowtide I don’t agree with you about Smyth, MacT or a couple other things but I sure look forward to reading your through the next weeks….month….or or possibly years, as you keep us up to date on the prospects. Thanx you very much for this.

    In my opinion screw the NHL and the Oilers. I’m looking forward to a season of watching the Rebels (I live in Sylvan) and OK play for a tenth the price and following all this young guys.

    Whats better. Watching the Oilers sink to the bottom of the standings or watching some great young Hockey players rip it up.

  • 24% body fat


    Should look at an article about the depth of the canadian junior team this year. Is RNH still eligible.

    Center depth
    RNH, Couturier, Huberdeau, Strome, Schieffle, MacKinnon (NM and JH would probably move to wing)

    Winger depth
    Rattie, Jenner, Wilson, Sutter, Di Giuseppe, Danault, Lessio, Lepsic, Puemple, Roy, Hudon,(domi = long shot)

    D Depth
    Murray, Murphy, Harrington, Hamilton, Reinhart, Reilly, Dumba, Pelech, Ceci, Oulette,

    Subban, Broissoit, Legace, (any others?)

  • Lowetide

    That’s a helluva team alright. I don’t know that any WJ team would rival the one that ripped through the WJ’s in ND that Christmas but this one might be closer than any others.

  • Lowetide

    It’ll be a weighted lottery if it is like last time. Quoting wiki (sorry, but this is correct I believe)

    Teams were assigned 1 to 3 balls based on their playoff appearances and first overall draft picks from the past three years. According to the draft order, the selection worked its way up to 30 as usual; then instead of repeating the order as in past years, the draft “snaked” back down to the team with the first pick. Therefore the team with the first pick overall would not pick again until the 60th pick. The team with the 30th pick would also get the 31st pick.

  • book¡e

    Also ,how can they send players to minors when their original contracts are one way ?

    How is it that you have been on these boards for years and still have no clue about one-way and two-way contract basics?

  • 24% body fat

    i believe each team starts with three balls. For every first overall pick in last three years you have one taken away, and for every playoffs in the last three years you have one taken away. Every team has a minimum of one ball.

    Oilers would only have one ball, Columbus would have three, leafs (please no) would have three, canucks would have one, flames would have two or three (please no)

  • mr_nihilism

    Totally irrelevant to the topic at hand, but I just happened to see Ryan Smyth and his family today at Denny’s Restaurant.

    I didn’t take him to be a Denny’s kind of guy, but there he was paying for his order as we walked in. The mullet, what can I say? It’s just so awesome. Anyhow I was completely star-struck and decided it was best not to bother him and his whole family and let him walk out unmolested.

  • book¡e

    Maybe Nail will find himself a nice Tatar girlfriend when he is home who doesn’t really want to move across the globe and who hates Edmonton.

    Let’s hope the NHL and NHLPA figure this thing out quickly…

  • Rob...

    Is it coincidence that you picked an image of Salma Hayek, an actress with prominent eyebrows for an article on an Oiler with a wicked brow? If so, extra props to you. This could be the start of a trend, with Angelina Jolie pics in every Hall article and maybe Anna Paquin for Ebs.

  • Lowetide

    Rob: Lol, no. I was looking for a photo with a lot of potential chaos. THAT scene she’s in has more potential chaos than anything I can think of in a movie. 🙂

  • B S

    I’m not going to guarantee any sort of safety or security for the video feeds in this link, but here is a site that live streams KHL games:

    If they don’t start this season on time I’m personally not going to watch legitimate feeds of NHL games for the first season they come back, nor visit any official NHL websites. I’ll be counting on blogs like this to keep me up to date, so thank you so far.