Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nail Yakupov Heading to Edmonton for Follow-Up Interview with Oilers: Yakupov Heading to Edmonton to Meet Oilers

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nail Yakupov Heading to Edmonton for Follow-Up Interview with Oilers: Yakupov Heading to Edmonton to Meet Oilers

Article excerpt

TORONTO - Nail Yakupov is heading to Edmonton. For now, it will just be for a quick visit.

But the top-rated prospect in the upcoming NHL draft is hoping that his meeting with Oilers brass this weekend will help convince them to call his name with the No. 1 pick on June 22 in Pittsburgh.

"For me it was great news," Yakupov said Thursday night. "I'll probably meet the guys and the president and the GM -- just talking with the guys and see the dressing room and see the town."

It will mark the first ever visit to the Alberta capital for the 18-year-old Russian. He's due to arrive Sunday after a whirlwind stretch that includes this week's NHL draft combine in suburban Toronto and a visit to the Stanley Cup final for Saturday's Game 2 in Newark, N.J., with other prospects.

A source confirmed that Yakupov won't be the only player brought to Edmonton before the draft for follow-up interviews.

However, unlike in previous years, the Oilers are hoping to keep the meetings as private as possible. Two years ago, both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin visited the city ahead of the draft and were subjected to large media scrums with local reporters.

The Oilers hold the No. 1 pick for a third consecutive draft and the organization has learned from the previous experiences. Yakupov, a skilled winger from the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting, would love to follow Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins by getting the chance to call Edmonton home.

"We'll see what happens," he said. "Whoever drafts me, I'll be excited to put this jersey on. I want to work hard for this team and give everything. It's the NHL."

The individual visits highlight how important the decision facing the Oilers organization is. Team personnel sat down with Yakupov and all of the other potential top picks during the scouting combine, but still feel the need to spend more time with them before making a final decision.

Another factor in the process is the possibility of a trade. Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini might be enticed to move down a few spots on the draft board, which means he'll want to be familiar with a number of players.

In the final rankings released by NHL central scouting in April, Yakupov was the top-rated North American-based skater ahead of Everett Silvertips defenceman Ryan Murray, Quebec Remparts centre Mikhail Grigorenko and Sarnia centre Alex Galchenyuk. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.