With the No. 1 pick in the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, the Edmonton Oilers have selected Nail Yakupov, a right wing from the OHL's Sarnia Sting and a native of Nizhnekamsk, Russia.
Ranked No. 1 among North American Skaters by NHL Central Scouting and No. 1 among all prospects by TSN, Yakupov remained the consensus big prize of the Draft despite an injury-plagued 2011-12 season in major junior. During the season, though, he scored 69 points (31 goals and 38 assists) in just 42 games, while putting up nine points for Russia's silver medal-winning team at the World Junior Championships. This came after a rookie season in which he scored 101 points in 65 games, the most for an OHL rookie since Patrick Kane.
Yakupov is known as a great skater, and was noted by TSN's Craig Button as the best in the 2012 draft. He's also been noted to have a high hockey IQ and is a solid playmaker. Some wonder if he has a reckless style that could make him injury prone throughout his career, but there's no question that Yakupov has the potential -- as much as anyone in this year's draft class -- to become a star in the NHL.