It's been a tough season for Nail Yakupov. He's endured one of the most visible sophomore slumps in recent memory, and the Edmonton Oilers as a whole have struggled under head coach Dallas Eakins' systems. The popularly maligned stat for the former No. 1 pick is his plus-minus. Yakupov is 862nd in the league with a minus-33 rating, and he's been unable to offset that with a high goal total.
After scoring 17 times as a rookie last year, he's down to 11 in 63 games played this season. It seems likely that his goal total will stay at 11, as the Oilers don't expect him to return from an ankle injury before the end of the 2013-14 campaign.
Injury update from coach --> RT @EdmontonJack Ference will NOT play tonight. Eakins does not expect Yakupov to play again this season.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) April 4, 2014
It's an unfortunate end to what boils down for a wasted season for Yakupov and Edmonton in general. The talented forward has been scratched several times this year, endured demotions to the fourth line, countless trade rumors and more. That's a lot for anyone to handle, but at 20-years-old, the Russian native is likely looking forward to a clean slate next season.
The same goes for the Oilers, who are once again in contention for the top selection at the draft this summer. There's a number of rumors swirling around this franchise at the moment and it'll be interesting to see if Yakupov is brought back to Edmonton at all in 2014-15. He could be packaged to upgrade on the blue line or shake up the core of the forward group.