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Blues acquire Yakupov from Oilers

Edmonton gets Pochiro, conditional draft pick in 2017

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - The Blues made a deal with the Edmonton Oilers late Friday afternoon, acquiring forward Nail Yakupov in exchange for prospect Zach Pochiro and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2017.

If Yakupov scores more than 15 goals during the 2016-17 season, Edmonton will instead receive the Blues' second-round pick in 2018.

Yakupov, the first-overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, said he was expecting to be traded from the Oilers recently and is happy to have landed in St. Louis.

"Now that (the trade has) happened, it's a real good move for me," Yakupov said. "I'm going to play with one of the best teams in the League. When I played against St. Louis, it was always hard. They had some big bodies and it was really tough to play against (them). I'm really looking forward to it."

Video: Yakupov answers questions from the media

RELATED VIDEO: Armstrong discusses acquisition of Nail Yakupov

"We think he's going to be a good player," said Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. "He's got the skill to compliment our group, and we think the game is trending to younger, faster players. It seemed to be a short and long term risk worth taking. He's obviously got talent and skill, and maybe playing with a veteran team in a defined role will help him. The good thing about coming into our team is he's coming in as one of 12, and we're going to let his play dictate where he plays and who he plays with."

Yakupov, a 23-year-old native of Nizhnekamsk, Russia, has played in four NHL seasons with the Oilers, accumulating 111 points (50 goals and 61 assists).

Internationally, he is a three-team medalist with Team Russia, earning bronze at the 2011 U-18 World Junior Championships and silver at the 2012 U-20 World Junior Championships before capturing bronze as team captain at the 2013 U-20 World Junior Championships.

Armstrong said Yakupov is expected to arrive in St. Louis on Saturday, where he'll watch the Blues battle the Chicago Blackhawks in a preseason finale. Yakupov will join the team on the ice for practice on Monday as they prepare to open the regular season on Wednesday night in Chicago.

"I think surrounding him with a more experienced team - he's going to have players he can learn from that have had success in a winning organization now for a number of years," Armstrong said.

Video: Hitchcock on adding Yakupov to the lineup

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