The Edmonton Oilers announced yesterday that they have made a trade with the St. Louis Blues for Nail Yakupov. Yakupov was the Oilers first round draft pick in 2012, but he has never panned out for them as well as the organization had hoped. He played 252 games for the Oilers scoring 50 goals and making 61 assists in his tenure in Edmonton. Yakupov has the skills and potential to be a strong player. He proved his skills at a junior level playing with Sarnia, where he did well enough to become a first round draft pick for the NHL. Hopefully he will able to build on and realize more of that potential in St. Louis with the Blues organization. He never managed to bond with any of his Oiler's team mates, rarely if ever joining in on activities planned off the ice and always declining invitations to dinner or just to hang out with other players on the team in their down time. Also more importantly he was never able to find the right chemistry with any of the coaching staff in Edmonton. This I believe is the reason why he has not played at the level that was anticipated from a first round draft pick.
Yakupov is being traded to St. Louis in exchange for the 22 year old center Zach Pochiro and either a third or second round pick in 2018. Pochiro played for two years with the Prince George Cougars of the WHL where he ranked 3rd in the club playing in 63 games scoring 27 goals and making 39 assists while also leading the team with 123 penalty minutes. He was then traded to the Quad City Mallards in the ECHL where he played 44 games in which he scored 9 goals and made 17 assists. He was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 4th round #112 over all of the 2013 entry draft. Pochiro has no NHL experience as yet but performed well in the minor leagues over the past six years. In addition to getting Zach Pochiro in the trade they also get, as it stands now, a third round pick in 2018 from the St. Louis Blues. This conditional pick for 2018 however, becomes a second round draft pick if Nail Yakupov scores 15 goals or more for the Blues during the 2016-2017 season. As such for both his own sake and the sake of both the Oilers and Blues organizations it is hoped that Yakpov will be able to find the right coaching staff for him as well as a better team chemistry, both of which he needs to reach his thus far unrealized NHL potential.