Nail Yakupov at the 2013 Edmonton Oilers training camp
October 6, 1993 |
Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan, Russia
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||184 lb (83 kg; 13 st 2 lb)|
HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (KHL)
|NHL Draft||1st overall, 2012
Nail Railovich Yakupov (Russian: Наиль Раилович Якупов, Tatar Cyrillic: Наил Раил улы Якупов, Latin: Nail Rail uğlı Yakupov; born October 6, 1993) is a professional Russian ice hockey right winger currently playing for the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected first overall by the Edmonton Oilers at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Yakupov grew up within the HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk junior program and moved to North America in 2010 to further his career. He joined the Sarnia Sting, a major junior team in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), where he played for two years before being selected in the NHL Entry Draft. Yakupov has also played in for the Russian national junior team, winning medals in all three tournaments he's participated in.
Playing career 
Yakupov was selected second overall by the Sarnia Sting in the 2010 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft. Prior to this, he played in the Russian Minor Hockey League (MHL) for his hometown team, the Reaktor Nizhnekamsk, but thought that trying to join the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) would be a quicker path to his dream to play in the National Hockey League (NHL).
Yakupov scored his first OHL goal against the Windsor Spitfires on September 24, 2010. After winning OHL Rookie of the Month for the month of October, Yakupov participated in the November 11 game of the Subway Super Series for Team Russia, at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario; Russia lost the game 4-0.
On February 3, 2011, Yakupov was named the 'Kal Tire OHL Rookie of the Month' for January, which he had previously won in October 2010. He later won the title for the month of February as well. At the end of the season, Yakupov was named winner of the Emms Family Award as OHL Rookie of the Year, becoming the first Sting player to receive the honour. He was also named to the first All-Rookie team for the season. On May 28, he was also awarded the title for CHL Rookie of the Year, as the top rookie in the Canadian junior circuit.
On February 28, 2011, at 3:07 in the first period of a game against the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds, Yakupov scored his 43rd goal of the 2010–11 OHL season, giving him the new goal-scoring record for a rookie for the Sarnia Sting. On March 19, 2011, in Sarnia's last game of the 2010–11 season, he scored an assist on the first goal as well as the third goal for Sarnia to obtain his 100th point of the season; he also scored another assist with 80 seconds left in the game to finish the season with 101 points.
During the NHL Entry Draft on June 23, 2012, Yakupov was picked first overall by the Edmonton Oilers. On July 23, 2012, the Edmonton Oilers signed Yakupov to a three-year entry level contract.
Yakupov is represented by Ian Pulver of Pulver Sports and Igor Larionov. He was first scouted by Josh Ciocco (then an agent with Pulver Sports) while playing in a tournament in the state of Massachusetts with his Russian club at the age of 15.
As a result of the 2012–13 NHL lockout, the Oilers had assigned Yakupov to Sarnia for the 2012–13 season. However reports indicated that Yakupov would instead return to Russia and play for HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. Yakupov had played for the organisation previously as a member of its junior teams. His first game with the team was on September 22 against Traktor Chelyabinsk. After two games with Neftekhimik Yakupov was suspended temporarily by the KHL, as the IIHF declared that he was not eligible to play in the league. According to IIHF rules, players moving between teams in different countries need to have a transfer card signed by the outgoing national ice hockey federation and the incoming federation. Hockey Canada, the governing body of ice hockey in Canada, had not signed Yakupov's card, making him ineligible to play in Russia. That required him to return to Canada and play with Sarnia for the remainder of the season. The reason they stated was that Yakupov had signed an entry-level contract with the Oilers, and according to an NHL–CHL agreement players who sign such contracts have to either play in the NHL or for their CHL teams. Due to the lockout Yakupov could not play in the NHL, so was required to play in Sarnia. However within a few days Hockey Canada decided that Yakupov was free to return to Russia, and signed his card; they "determined that Yakupov had no independent legal advice when, at the age of 17 years old, he signed his contract with Sarnia."
The lockout ended in January 2013 and Yakupov returned to North America to play for the Oilers. A fan of Pavel Bure growing up, Yakupov wanted to have the number 10 on his jersey, the same one Bure wore for most of his career. However since Shawn Horcoff uses that number, Yakupov instead chose to use 64, as the two numbers added up to 10. Yakupov played his first NHL game in the first Oilers game on January 20, 2013 against the Vancouver Canucks. He scored his first goal during the next game, the Oilers' home opener, against Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks on January 22.
On April 27, 2013, Yakupov recorded his first career hat trick in a 7-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. With all 3 goals coming in the third period. Yakupov finished his rookie season leading all rookies in goals with 17, and tied with Jonathan Huberdeau for points with 31. Yakupov also scored 11 goals in the month of April, second only to fellow countryman Alexander Ovechkin.
International play 
|Competitor for Russia|
|Men's ice hockey|
|World Junior Championships|
|World Junior U18 Championships|
Yakupov was part of Team Russia in the 2011 World Junior U18 championship. He scored a hat trick in the bronze-medal game, including an empty-net goal with four seconds left, helping defeat Team Canada (with Sting teammate Brett Ritchie) 6-4.
Yakupov was part of the 2011-12 World Junior Championship, joining Team Russia. His team defeated Canada in the semifinals but lost 1-0 to Sweden in the gold medal game, acquiring a silver medal.
Personal life 
Yakupov is an ethnic Tatar and a Muslim With his draft selection, Yakupov surpassed Nazem Kadri as being the highest drafted Muslim player in NHL history. His father, Rail, worked with the HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk hockey team as a coach and executive. Yakupov first skated when he was four-years-old, but was more interested in football and Chelsea FC than hockey.
Career statistics 
Regular season and playoffs 
|Junior int'l totals||21||9||21||30||12|
|OHL Rookie of the Month||November 4, 2010
February 3, 2011
March 4, 2011
|OHL First All-Rookie Team||April 7, 2011|
|OHL Rookie of the Year||April 7, 2011|
|BMO Rookie of the Year (CHL)||May 28, 2011|
|CHL Player of the Week||October 18, 2011|
|OHL Player of the Month||October, 2011|
|NHL Rookie of the Month||April, 2013|
- "Sarnia Sting’s dynamic Russian prospects turning heads in the OHL". The Hockey News. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- "Reaktor Nizhnekamsk 2009-10 Stats and Fights". DropYourGloves.com. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
- "Nail Yakupov 1st career OHL goal vs Windsor 2010 09 24". NHL Draft Video. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- "Team Russia Roster, 2010 Subway Super Series". Canadian Hockey League. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- "Game 3 Highlights Video, 2010 Subway Super Series". Canadian Hockey League. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- "OHL Top Performers of the Month for January". Ontario Hockey League. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- "OHL Top Performers of the Month for February". Ontario Hockey League. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
- "OHL Top Performers of the Month for January". Ontario Hockey League.
- "Sarnia Sting's Nail Yakupov Named BMO Rookie of the Year". MarketWire. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
- "Game Summary 17348". Ontario Hockey League. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
- "Yakupov sets record in loss". The Observer. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
- "Sting close out season with a win". Sarnia Sting Website. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
- "Sting’s Nail Yakupov Named CHL Player of the Week". Sarnia Sting Website. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
- NHL.com (2012-09-15). "Nugent-Hopkins sent to AHL, Yakupov to juniors". NHL.com. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- RIA Novosti (2012-09-16). "Yakupov Faces Uncertain Lockout Future". Ria Novosti. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- RIA Novosti (2012-09-18). "Yakupov's Lockout Fate 'to be Decided Wednesday'". Ria Novosti. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- RIA Novosti (2012-09-22). "Rampant Radulov Earns Win for CSKA". Ria Novosti. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
- RIA Novosti (2012-09-26). "Oiler Yakupov Hit With KHL Ban". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
- Canadian Press (2012-09-29). "Hockey Canada clears Nail Yakupov to resume KHL career". CBC.ca. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
- Canadian Press (2012-09-26). "Oilers' Nail Yakupov may have to return to OHL". CBC.ca. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- National Post (2013-01-10). "Nail Yakupov decides on No. 64 for Oilers jersey since 10 is already taken". NationalPost.com. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- NHL.com (2013-01-23). "Nail Yakupov scores first NHL goal". NHl.com. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- NHl.com (2013-04-28). "Oilers end season by routing Canucks". NHL.com. Retrieved 2013-04-28.
- "Russia beats Canada 6-4 to win bronze at world U18 hockey tournament". CityNews Toronto. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
- Domrachyov, Vladislav (2013-01-03). "Dreaming of Edmonton". IIHF.com. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- Nail Yakupov's player profile at Ontario Hockey League
- Nail Yakupov's career stats at Eliteprospects.com
- Nail Yakupov's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- Nail Yakupov's player profile at NHL.com
|Awards and achievements|
|Winner of the CHL Rookie of the Year Award
|Winner of the Emms Family Award
|NHL first overall draft pick
|Edmonton Oilers first round draft pick