Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) April 13, 2015
Some good news to pass along today, as the Oilers have re-signed their 2012 number one draft pick to a nice little bridge contract. Nail Yakupov has agreed to a two year deal with an AAV of 2.5M per year. That's a very good deal for the Oilers. It's a slamming deal when you stack it next to some of the bloated contracts held by some players on this team.
The first overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Yakupov scored 17 goals and finished with an encouraging 31 points in the lockout season. His 2013-14 season and first half of 2014-15 were very much forgettable. He spent most of 2013-14 in a line blender with Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner. There were some serious questions about Yakupov's defensive game, and the points weren't coming.
2014-15 saw more of the same struggles for Yakupov, but it looks like his fortunes turned a bit under the tutelage of interim coach Todd Nelson. Aside from finding the score sheet more often, he saw some increased time on the power play. He finished the season with just 33 points in 81 games, but 23 of those points were scored after the Oilers acquired veteran centre Derek Roy. Yakupov has experienced some success on Derek Roy's line, and it looks quite plausible that Yakupov-Roy oculd be a constant heading into 2015-16 if Edmonton can work out a deal with Roy.
I'm very happy with this deal. It's a good deal for the Oilers, and the young man from Nizhnekamsk will no doubt have the world to prove. Yakupov will be just 22 years on opening night in October, and it's high time for his star to start burning bright in Edmonton.