NHL training camps aren't scheduled to open for another month, but Nail Yakupov isn't ready to wait that long. Yakupov, the first pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, arrived in Edmonton this week ready to prepare for the start of his first professional season.
"I started working out with the guys," he told reporters Thursday. "Just seeing my place and just be here. There's nothing to do in Russia. Just have to start work and get ready for camp."
Yakupov had 31 goals and 38 assists in 42 games last season with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. He also helped Russia win the silver medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship, leading to the Oilers selecting him with the first pick in June.
He got an early start to his season by participating in the Canada-Russia Challenge, which ended earlier this week after two games in Moscow and two games in Halifax, N.S. The games were a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the famed 1972 Summit Series, as well as a tribute to Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team that was wiped out in a plane crash last year.