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BOB HARTLEY PRAISES NAIL YAKUPOV AND WONDERS WHY HE'S NOT IN THE NHL

Even the most casual hockey fans are aware of Nail Yakupov and the bust the former first overall pick was in the NHL. Yakupov put up ridiculous numbers in the Ontario Hockey League before being drafted by Edmonton in the number one spot in 2012. Then, it all went downhill from there, with Yakupov eventually leaving the NHL for the KHL in his home country of Russia. However, his current coach, Bob Hartley, believes things could have been much different.

Yakupov is currently playing on the second line of Hartley's Omsk Avangard where he's put up six points in the last 11 games.

"He plays physical, he's got a lot of drive, he's fun to lead, he's always one of the first on the ice and one of the last to come out. We are very satisfied with his passion and his performance," Hartley told Stéphane Langdeau of 91.9 Sports.

Hartley went on to say Yakupov was under a lot of pressure to be instantly successful in Edmonton, and it weighed heavily on him. He also said Edmonton did have a leader for Yakupov to learn from at the time, and it led to his confidence taking a major hit. Yakupov eventually moved on to the Colorado Avalanche and, while it didn't work out, GM Joe Sakic praised him for his work ethic and personality.



All of this led Hartley to question why Yakupov, still only 27, is not playing in the NHL.

Source: Habs et LNH
TIM TUCKER
NOVEMBER 28, 2020  (9H30)
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