Nail Railovich Yakupov (, ; born October 6, 1993) is a Russian junior ice hockey right winger.
Yakupov is an ethnic Tatar represents the first potential breakout hockey star from the Republic of Tatarstan (although there have been other NHL players from this region). He was drafted first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
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.
Early in the 2011 12 season, Yakupov took the scoring lead with 25 points in 10 games. A 12 point week landed him CHL Player of the Week honours for the first time on October 18, 2011.
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 3-year entry level contract.
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.
Regular season and playoffs
|Junior int'l totals
|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
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