On a personal level, there’s a lot to like about Nail Yakupov.
The kid wants to succeed in the worst way, he’s affable, helps the homeless and seems to have toned down his showboating.
But, today, the Oilers extended Yakupov for 2 years at $2.5M despite him being the worst #1 overall pick since Patrik Stefan in 1999.
Yakupov just completed his 3rd NHL season lets take a look at how the first forwards chosen since 1999 have fared in PP/G in their 3rd seasons.
Stefan – .389
Heatley – .806
Kovalchuk – 1.07
Nash – 1.00
E. Staal – 1.22
Ovechkin – 1.37
Crosby – 1.36
J. Staal – .598
Kane – 1.07
Stamkos – 1.11
Tavares – .988
Hall – 1.11
Nugent – Hopkins – .700
Yakupov – .407
That’s pretty damning especially when you consider Jordan Staal was assigned a 3rd line shut down role in Pittsburgh and still managed to outscore Yakupov by a considerable margin.
I can understand the Oilers trying to salvage Yakupov considering they used a #1 overall pick to get him but the reality is he is a marginal NHL player at this point.
I don’t put a lot of stock in plus/minus but it’s also worth noting that Yakupov just won the NHL Green Jacket with a -35 following on the heels of his -33 last season.
You can’t put too much stock in the stat but a career -72 does tell you this player cannot play defensively in the NHL.
Yakupov has two more years to prove he can play in the NHL but, based on his performance thus far…I wouldn’t bet on it.
And, it’s worth noting that Alex Galchenyuk, picked 2 spots after Yakupov, just posted a 20G 46P season (.575 PPG).