Winger Nail Yakupov has signed a one-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche. The deal is worth $875,000 next season. Yakupov became an unrestricted free agent this off-season when the St. Louis Blues did not extend a qualifying offer to him. The Russian right winger spent last season with the Blues, playing 40 games, tallying three goals, six assists.
We have signed Nail Yakupov! pic.twitter.com/DevSuZKIih
Nail Yakupov Signs With
Yakupov impressed as a rookie on a young Oilers team in his first season with 31 points in 48 games in the shortened lockout season of 2012-2013. His best season was 2014-2015 when he played 81 games recording 14 goals and 19 assists. However he was a -35 that season, the worst +/- number in the entire league.
The former first overall pick of the 2012 NHL draft was traded by the Edmonton Oilers to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a conditional 2017 third round pick and prospect Zach Pochiro on October 7th 2016. The condition on the draft pick was that if Yakupov scored 15 or more goals the pick would be upgraded to a second round pick. He had spent four seasons with the Oilers from 2012-2016. In his time there he played 252 games, scored 50 goals, had 61 assists and was a -88 total.
The 23-year-old has struggled to transition to the NHL game after being an OHL star with the Sarnia Sting from 2010-2012. In his junior career he finished with 170 points in 107 games. He also spent time in the KHL with his hometown team, the Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik during the 2012-2013 NHL lockout, recording 18 points in 22 games.
Nail Yakupov’s last contract was a two-year deal worth $5 million, $2.5 million per year, signed by the Edmonton Oilers on April 13th, 2015.
Main Photo via Getty Images.