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.
I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.
— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie