2012 NHL Draft Scouting Report: Nail Yakupov
Nail Yakupov entered the OHL through the 2010 Import Draft. Drafted 2nd Overall by the Sarnia Sting, he has been one of the most interesting and electrifying players in the OHL ever since. Usually teamed with fellow draft eligible forward Alex Galchenyuk (when healthy), Yakupov has shown an ability to be a game breaker. At this point I cant think of any other player who should be the first Ontario Hockey League player selected in the NHL Draft, and he projects out as a potential franchise forward at the next level.
Nail Yakupov is one of the most dynamic offensive forwards that the Ontario Hockey League has seen in the past few years. His best asset is his mobility and acceleration. He has an extremely strong lower body, specifically his legs. He uses his legs to generate top end speed and mobility. He has the ability to turn on a dime, as he takes very hard and aggressive edges. He is one of the most elusive one on one players in the age group, and has the ability to go wide on almost every defenceman in the OHL. He has extremely strong vision and puck skills, and is at his best skating the puck into the offensive zone and making an intelligent read of the ice. He has one of the best shots in the age group, as he can get it off quickly in and out of traffic. He is smart both with and without the puck. He can read a play three to four plays ahead, and go where he needs to in order to either help create an offense scoring chance or to stop a breakout. He was dominant in the 2011 World Junior U20 tournament in Alberta, and was one of the top players, if not the top player in the tournament. His individual skills are quite impressive, and they should fit in well in the NHL.
Like most players his age, Yakupov and sometimes struggle with his complete level. Throughout the season he was the target of aggressive physical play and line matching, and at times it looks as though it can be a bit much for him. Sometimes it looks as though he can take shifts off. Another area of concern is his health and his ability to avoid injury. Personally, I feel as thou both injuries he suffered this year where simply bad luck, and not a sign of future issues, but its still something that you have to consider. He can put himself in dangerous situations (see the Mike Halmo hit), and he may have to adjust his style in order to stay healthy at the next level.
Individual skill Rankings (out of 10)
Skill : 9
Hockey Sense: 8
Positional Play: 8
Yakupov is projected as a franchise forward at the next level. He will be a top winger on his team, and potentially one of the best right wingers in the game in 3-5 years.
Currently my top ranked player for the NHL Draft, Yakupov is expected to be the first player selected for the NHL Draft.