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.
This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.