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Yakupov joins Blues for practice

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

Yakupov's first Blues skate

Yakupov joins the Blues for practice

Nail Yakupov joins the Blues on the ice for his first practice on October 10

  • 01:32 •

ST. LOUIS - Nail Yakupov met his new teammates Saturday after the game, hung out with them on Sunday and then joined them on the ice for practice Monday at the Ice Zone at St. Louis Outlet Mall.

By all accounts, he's fitting in just fine.

"It was good to be back on the ice with the boys," Yakupov said after his first practice with the Blues. "I've been working hard, training, and played a few games. Now I'm just going to be with a different group and this group is going to be my team."

"He's really quick," Head Coach Ken Hitchcock observed. "He's got great speed, covers a lot of space and a lot of ground very quickly. It's an element with the way we're built right now, it looks like it fits us pretty well."

Yakupov was skating on the right wing alongside Patrik Berglund and Dmitrij Jaskin on Monday, and that's a line Hitchcock said could be together Wednesday when the club opens the 2016-17 season in Chicago.

Yakupov spent four seasons with the Edmonton Oilers after being drafted first overall at the 2012 NHL Draft. The 23-year-old native of Nizhnekamsk, Russia has accumulated 111 points (50 goals and 61 assists) in 252 career NHL games.

"We're the team that gets the second kick at him, and we're hopeful we can develop him into a solid NHL player," Hitchcock said. "Based on skill set and based on disposition, he's going to do fine here. Hopefully we can turn him into a real solid 5-on-5 player and he can dig in and help us a little bit on the power play."

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