Days Until The First Oilers Game: 10 – Nail Yakupov
Today’s Player: Yak City
Career Oilers Stats:
Hank’s Predicted Stats:
Why We Like Him:
One year ago today I wasn’t sure. I was over Nail Yakupov. Like many things Oilerz, I had grown tired of him. I was sick of waiting for this first overall pick to excel. I was ready to trade him for literally anything…
…and then it happened.
Then, I watched the greatest true story of resilience never told. What happened next was so remarkable it made Jimmy Morris’s story look obsolete. I watched Hank literally pound his head into the wall, never once giving up hope that his boy would succeed. No matter how many games in a row Yak would play without getting 13 shifts, no matter how many times he was on the ice and directly responsible for a goal against, through all his completely ineffectiveness, ya boy Hank never gave up. Each game day preview, Hank would predict this guy to score at least three goals. It was amazing. At the beginning, so people were asking me why I was allowing Hank to predict wins against the Ducks with Keith Aulie and Brandon Davidson and David Musil and Nikita Nikitin and Jordan Oesterle and Brad fucking Hunt on our point. Why I was allowing Hank to predict Yak to be on pass for slaughtering Wayne Gretzky’s goals in a single season record. And my answer was, why not? This country wasn’t built on giving up. This country was built on blue-collared, hard-nosed nine-to-five with overtime shit. You think the settlers came to Edmonton in January and thought, fuck it, this is too cold, let’s turn it the hell around? No. Those idiots could have taken the easy route and went south. But they knew that someday, this city would ironically blossom. They knew that someday, we would build a gigantic, indestructible concrete slab in the middle of the most industrial area of the city, and history would be made in that Jungle. That’s what Edmonton is about: never giving up. I started watching games quite seriously just to hope Nail Yakupov would score 1,000 goals. It was inspirational. And even though Yak finished an nail-bitting 88 goals away from Hank’s 102, he still fought tooth and nail for every goal, every play, every minute of ice time and even every minus he was on the ice for, because that’s what you do in Oil Country.
Why We Don’t Like Him:
We drafted him first overall and in three years he has one more point than Jamie Benn had all of last year and his plus/minus is 200 away from absolute zero.
Where Is He Now?
Getting ready for the greatest season of his career while playing on a line with doesn’t matter. In a surprise to nobody, he’s currently tied for second on the team in preseason scoring with Matty Ice (and five other people), only behind a certain Connor McDaddy.