KHL team SKA St. Petersburg have signed free agent forward Nail Yakupov to a two-year contract. This contract expires at the end of the 2019-20 season. Yakupov became an unrestricted free agent when he was not qualified by the Colorado Avalanche in June.
— KHL (@khl_eng) July 3, 2018
Nail Yakupov Moving to SKA St. Petersburg
Drafted 1st overall in the 2012 NHL entry draft, Nail Yakupov is probably best known for his dramatic game-tying goal celebration against the Los Angeles Kings with four seconds left back in a January 2013 regular season game. Why? Probably because he hasn’t been able to produce much more at the NHL level despite his draft status. Yakupov scored 17 goals as a rookie in 2012-13 and has been producing less and less ever since.
Last season he scored nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in 58 games. His Corsi for percentage was 48.0, with a relative Corsi of 0; both numbers were his lowest in three years.
After an exciting start that saw him score five points (three goals) in the first four games of the year, Nail Yakupov often found himself in the press box as a scratch later on. He also failed to appear in any of Colorado’s six playoff games against the Nashville Predators.
Nail Yakupov’s Future
Although he is still just 24, Yakupov heads back to Russia. If he can put up a pair of good seasons there, perhaps an NHL team will give him another shot down the road. He shows flashes of brilliance and skill that has likely been the main reason a team could take a chance on him in the future with a short-term contract. With his speed and powerful shot, Nail Yakupov has tools that other players would love to possess. Unfortunately, he’s yet to exhibit these on a consistent basis at the NHL level. Instead, Yakupov hopes to be a consistent scorer in Russia.
Main Photo: PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 04: Nail Yakupov #64 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates his goal at 5:37 of the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 4, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Avalanche defeated the Flyers 5-4 in the shootout. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)