Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, the first pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, will play for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk in the Kontinental Hockey League, his agent told the Edmonton Journal on Tuesday.
Igor Larionov, Yakupov's agent, told the newspaper Yakupov could be in the lineup for his hometown team by Saturday.
Yakupov had 69 points in 42 games for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League last season, and could have returned there, but instead has opted to play in the KHL for the duration of the work stoppage.
He's only 17 but he can see the ice so well and he moves the puck and goes to the open ice all the time, so I just think he's a player that is ready to play in the NHL. I'm really looking forward to coaching someone like this.
— U.S. National Junior Team coach Ron Wilson on Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft