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BLOG: Eakins on Yakupov

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

Oilers forward Nail Yakupov hasn't played the minutes one would normally expect in a former first overall pick. Head Coach Dallas Eakins says that's because the 20-year-old is still trying to find himself out on the ice.

"He's climbing a mountain right now," said Eakins. "He'll go up one peak and he can see the other peak but he's got to go down the valley first. He's having his ups and downs."

The ups and downs for Yakupov are to be expected in a young, skilled forward.

"I think he's shown flashes of some excellence and he's had a couple of dark periods as well. For me that's not uncommon for a player of his age. I find that the more experienced the player, the more level evenly they play every night. The more inexperienced the player, the more ups and downs you have from game-to-game and from shift-to-shift. We've got a lot of work to do with Yak but he's got so much upside. I've said it before, when he grabs that puck everybody leans forward in their seat."

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