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.
You know what? We've played in some pretty special buildings along this playoff run so far. You start in Detroit, you go to Montreal, you come here … I think it's the first team to beat three Original Six teams to get to the Final if I'm not mistaken. That says how tough the road has been. Those are tough places to win.
— Lightning forward Steven Stamkos after Game 7 win vs. Rangers on Friday in New York