Nail Yakupov, considered by many to the be the front-runner to be the top choice of the 2012 NHL Draft, will be out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury playing for Russia in the gold-medal game of the 2012 World Junior Championship on Thursday.
The full extent of the injury won't be known until Yakupov returns to Sarnia, where he plays for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League.
In his second OHL season, the 5-foot-10.5, 189-pound right wing is fifth in the league with 53 points. Last season, he broke Steven Stamkos' Sarnia records for a first-year player with 49 goals and 101 points.
Yakupov is the latest in a growing number of top 2012 Draft prospects to suffer serious injuries this season. That list includes Yakupov's Sarnia teammate, Alex Galchenyuk and Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Morgan Rielly, both of whom are out for the season with ACL injuries; Everett Silvertips defenseman Ryan Murray missed two months with a sprained ankle; Halifax Moosehead forward Martin Frk had the start to his season delayed to December due to a concussion; and Peterborough Petes defenseman Slater Koekkoek will miss the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK