Nail Yakupov

Height / Weight
5' 11" / 185 lbs
Right Wing
NHL 2012 mock draft
Draft Type Round Pick Team
Projection 1 1
Player ranking
Year Rank
2012 1

Burgeoning elite player who has dynamic puck skills, excellent on-ice vision, speed and an accurate shot. Plays with an edge and enjoys the gritty aspects, making more than one opposing player remember his sweater number. He is consistently able to explode into bigger players and knock them off their feet due to powerful speed and balance. Scored over a 100 points in his transition year into North American hockey, and it is expected his pace will not slow down. He is a finisher, first and foremost, but also reads the play and makes the right play with the correct pass. His skating is what sets him apart, enabling tremendous lateral mobility. His burst and hands, combined with him doing everything at top speed, also make him very difficult to defend against. When necessary, he can make defenders look silly when he rockets in. Has an entire toolbox of moves and shots, and a one-timer that is hard to stop. His defensive side is almost completely non-existant, and will be a work in progress. Was offered millions to stay in Russia, but chose to get his $160 dollars/month to make the transition to the North American style with one purpose in mind: Make it to the NHL is the fall of 2012. Top pick or first tier prospect.

--Bill Placzek--