Despite his billing as a no. 1 overall pick, Nail Yakupov didn’t get off to the greatest of starts with the Edmonton Oilers. There were questions early on about whether or not the Oilers should have even kept Yakupov with the team for the remainder of the year, but it was a decision that ended up working out greatly for both sides.
Although he did get off to that slow start, things picked up for Yakupov about midway through the season. And once he found his groove, he was a tough player for opposing clubs to slow down. He ended the year among the trio of Calder Trophy finalists, and has folks in Edmonton very excited for what could take place in 2013-14.
Yakupov finished the shortened season with 31 points in 48 games, ending the year among the rookie leaders in essentially every offensive category. His 31 points featured 17 goals, along with 14 helpers, 10 of which (including six of his goals), came with the Oilers on the man advantage.
After recording points in eight of his first ten games, Yakupov fell silent for the Oilers. He scored only two goals in the month of February, before following up with exactly zero in March. When April rolled around, though, it was a different story entirely for Yakupov.
The month of April featured points in nine of 14 games from Yakupov, five of which included multi-point performances. Eleven of his 17 goals on the season came in that month alone. It’s that finish that has folks intrigued, to say the least, to see what he can do in his sophomore season.
We know what kind of skill set that Yakupov possesses. He’s a goal scorer through and through, and we saw that near the close of the 2013 season. He has the chance to become one of the top scorers in this league, as early as this season. If his success from last April can carry over, he’s going to be a fun one to watch for the Edmonton Oilers heading into the 2013-14 season.