Nail Yakupov
Born October 6, 1993 (1993-10-06) (age 25)
Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan, Russia
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 186 lb (84 kg; 13 st 4 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
Edmonton Oilers
HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk
NHL Draft 1st overall, 2012
Edmonton Oilers
Playing career 2012–present

Nail Yakupov (born Nail Railovich Yakupov on 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.

Nail 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.

He has also played in for the Russian national junior team, winning medals in all three tournaments he's participated in.

Playing CareerEdit

Junior Playing CareerEdit

Nail 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 he 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).

On September 24, 2010, Nail scored his first OHL goal against the Windsor Spitfires.

After winning OHL Rookie of the Month for the month of October, he participated in the November 11, 2010 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, Nail was named the "Kal Tire OHL Rookie of the Month" for January, which he had previously won in October of 2010. He later won the title for the month of February as well.

At the end of the season, he was named winner of the Emms Family Award as OHL Rookie of the Year, becoming the first Sting player to receive the honour.

Nail 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), Nail 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, Nail 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.

Early in the 2011–12 season, Yakupov took the scoring lead with 25 points in 10 games.

A 12-point week landed Nail CHL Player of the Week honours for the first time on October 18, 2011.

NHL CareerEdit

During the NHL Entry Draft on June 23, 2012, Nail was picked first overall by the Edmonton Oilers.

On July 23, 2012, the Edmonton Oilers signed him to a three-year entry level contract. Nail 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 Nail to Sarnia for the 2012–13 season, however reports indicated that he would instead return to Russia and play for HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. He had played for the organisation previously as a member of its junior teams.

Nail's first game with the team was on September 22, 2012 against Traktor Chelyabinsk.

After two games with Neftekhimik, he was temporarily suspended 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 Nail's card, making him ineligible to play in Russia.

That required Nail 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, Nail could not play in the NHL, so he was required to play in Sarnia, however within a few days Hockey Canada decided that he was free to return to Russia and signed his card.

They "determined that Nail had no independent legal advice when at the age of 17 years old, he signed his contract with Sarnia."

The lockout ended in January of 2013 and Nail returned to North America to play for the Oilers.

A fan of Pavel Bure growing up, Nail wanted to have the number 10 on his jersey, the same one Bure wore for most of his career, however since Shawn Horcoff wore that number at the time, he chose to use 64 instead as the two digits added up to 10.

On January 20, 2013, he played his first NHL game in the first Oilers game against the Vancouver Canucks.

On January 22, 2013, Nail scored his first goal during the next game, the Oilers' home opener against Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks.

On April 27, 2013, he recorded his first career hat trick in a 7-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks (all 3 goals coming in the third period).

Nail finished his rookie season leading all rookies in goals with 17, and tied with Jonathan Huberdeau for points with 31.

He also scored 11 goals in the month of April, second only to fellow countryman Alexander Ovechkin.

Career StatisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2009–10 Reaktor Nizhnekamsk MHL 14 4 2 6 26
2010–11 Sarnia Sting OHL 65 49 52 101 71
2011–12 Sarnia Sting OHL 42 31 38 69 30 4 2 3 5 4
2012–13 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk KHL 22 10 8 18 33
2012–13 Edmonton Oilers NHL 48 17 14 31 24
OHL totals 107 80 90 170 101 4 2 3 5 4
KHL totals 22 10 8 18 33
NHL totals 48 17 14 31 24

International StatisticsEdit

Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM
2011 Russia U18 7 6 7 13 6
2012 Russia WJC 7 0 9 9 6
2013 Russia WJC 7 3 5 8 0
Junior int'l totals 21 9 21 30 12

Awards & AchievementsEdit

  • OHL Rookie of the Month (November 4, 2010, February 3, 2011 and 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)

International PlayEdit

Medal record
Competitor for Template:Country data Russia
Men's ice hockey
World Junior Championships
Bronze 2013 Russia
Silver 2012 Canada
World Junior U18 Championships
Bronze 2011 Germany

Nail 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.

He was part of the 2011-12 World Junior Championship, joining Team Russia. Nail's team defeated Canada in the semifinals, but they lost 1-0 to Sweden in the gold medal game, acquiring a silver medal.

Personal LifeEdit

Nail's father Rail worked with the HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk hockey team as a coach and executive.

He began skating when he was 4 years old, but he was more interested in football and Chelsea FC than hockey.

Nail is an ethnic Tatar and a Muslim. With his draft selection, he surpassed Nazem Kadri as being the highest drafted Muslim player in NHL history.

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