Detailed hockey analytics are not required to decipher the connection between the above five hockey players. No matter how hockey media and the experts tried to convince hockey fans, there was ultimately no doubt as to who would get drafted first overall in the past four drafts.
Nail Yakupov looks to make it five years running that this trend continues. Is the superstar prospect lifting the foot off the pedal in this his draft eligible year? Even without his highly touted and talented in his own right sidekick centreman Alex Galchenyuk Russian-American , who is unfortunately sidelined indefinitely with recent announcement he has to undergo ACL surgery , Yakupov has excelled early in this OHL season. Both possess a great deal of rare skill sets.
With their passion and love for the game, their work ethic on and off the ice, they will be the kind of players that bring the game of hockey to the next level. He is destined to become one of the true must-see players around the league. Fans in hockey cities everywhere will be circling the dates when Yakupov comes to town when he is inevitably donning NHL battle colours. My dad was a coach. I played for two teams when I was growing up: I grew up playing in Nizhnekamsk and really loved it.
Ever since my mom and dad put on Dynamo hockey skates on me all I have known was hockey. And even though I am playing in Canada now, I keep following my team, always check on the scores, read the news about them.
I know a lot of the guys playing for Neftekhimik now, because I started playing with a lot of them, I also train with them in the offseason. We know Nail is a dynamic and dangerous offensive force. What is he like off the ice in terms of preparation, work ethic and his relationships with coaches and teammates?
He is constantly working on his game be it on the ice or in the gym constantly wanting to get better. In the dressing room he is a true character. Easily one of the more popular players among his teammates.
He has two distinct sides to him. When it comes to hockey he is all business but outside of the game he is one of the more engaging personalities I have come across in my time in junior hockey.
Although he adjusted well to the North American game, what challenges has he had in terms of style of play and what has he had to work on? Any noticeable improvements from last season to this season thus far? However he also knows that sometimes with players who have the skill level that Nail has you also have to give them their space to create and not stifle their game offensively in anyway.
On nights where Yakupov has to earn every point and play through frustration he still competes with every inch he has. When Yakupov earns an assist, he celebrates like it was his first ever assist.
And, when Yakupov does the scoring, he celebrates like he will never score again. Look no further than Tennessee Titan pre-holdout form lightning quick running back, Chris Johnson.
Both are speedy, explosive, creative and game-breaking talents in their respective sports. With his undeniable superior talent however, Yakupov is undeniably worthy to be featured in the first installment of The Next Ones series. In fact, he may truly be The Next One. His explosive bursts of speed and understanding of scoring principles off the rush is very similar to that of what we saw from Taylor Hall a couple years ago, but also has some people thinking Pavel Bure.
He is a dynamic and electrifying player that can bring fans to their feet and is a prime talent for marketing the sport in any locale or market. He is a player that should be able to step into the next level very quickly and continue to progress. Put all that together and you still only have a glimpse of what makes him such a desirable prospect and the number one ranked for us at ISS.
At that moment I knew Yakupov was something special. First and foremost is his skating. He maintains a low centre of gravity, great strength in his lower body and his quick footwork allows his first few steps to be very strong, giving him exceptional acceleration. He really gets up to top speed very quickly and his hands are outstanding. Like Pavel Bure, Yakupov is dangerous every shift. He may not have been dominant on every shift like Bure was, but he created something every shift … you have to be aware where he is on the ice all the time.