Dropping the Nail: Edmonton Oilers take Nail Yakupov with top pick in NHL draft - InfoNews

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Dropping the Nail: Edmonton Oilers take Nail Yakupov with top pick in NHL draft

Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini smiles while speaking with reporters in Toronto Tuesday, April 12, 2011. The Edmonton Oilers have fielded many calls about their first overall pick in the NHL draft. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
June 22, 2012 - 7:29 PM

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The Edmonton Oilers selected Nail Yakupov with the first pick in the NHL draft Friday night.

The Russian sniper is the third forward in an as many years to be taken first overall by the Oilers.

Edmonton took left-winger Taylor Hall with the No. 1 selection in 2010 and followed that up by taking Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the first pick last year.

Yakupov had 31 goals and 38 assists in 42 games with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League in 2011-12.

The five-foot-10, 189-pound right-winger suffered a concussion this season after recording 101 points in his rookie campaign with the Sting.

Yakupov has an impressive combination of speed and skill and was the consensus No. 1 pick among most scouts.

He's the third Russian to be taken first overall following Ilya Kovalchuk (2001) and Alex Ovechkin (2004).

The Columbus Blue Jackets stepped up to the microphone next, taking defenceman Ryan Murray with the second pick.

The six-foot, 201-pound Murray ranked second among North American-based skaters behind Yakupov and is arguably the most NHL-ready player in the draft.

A solid all-around defenceman with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, Murray had 31 points in 46 games during a season where missed time with a high ankle sprain.

Murray also represented Canada at the IIHF World Hockey Championship in Finland, becoming the second-youngest player ever to wear the Maple Leaf at the tournament.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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