Arctic Ice Hockey's First Annual NHL Mock Draft: Pick #1

ST PAUL, MN - JUNE 24: A banner is displayed at the Xcel Energy Center before the start of day one of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft on June 24, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Hey all! Welcome to Arctic Ice Hockey's first annual NHL Mock Draft. Over the next thirty days, Ryan, Tim and myself will attempt to telepathically channel the minds of NHL General Managers as they complete their final rankings in preparation for the 2012 NHL Draft being held June 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, PA.

In some instances, our analysis will require less insight than others *cough* *Edmonton* *cough*.

So without further adieu, we present our loyal readers with the first overall pick of Arctic Ice Hockey's 2012 Mock Draft.

Steve Tambellini: With the first overall selection in this years draft, the Edmonton Oilers are pleased to select...

Nail Yakupov

Left Wing / Sarnia Sting - OHL



October 6, 1993
Hometown: Nizhnekamsk, Russia

Shoots: Left

GP G A P +/- PIM
2011-12 Sarnia Sting (OHL) 42 31 38 69 +15 30

Rankings: CSS (1 NA), ISS (1), TSN (1), Hockey Prospectus (1)

The Skinny: Over the past few years, it seems as though the only certainties in life are death, taxes and the Edmonton Oilers drafting at first overall. Two years ago they selected Taylor Hall with their first pick. Last year, it was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Still, the on-ice results have been less than ideal for the franchise and their fans. While the fact remains that the Oilers defensive depth has been a sore spot in recent years, it's would benefit the Oilers to acquire an NHL acclimated defenseman rather than throw Ryan Murray to the wolves by pairing him with... wait, who is Edmonton's best defenseman? When drafting, it's always wise to select the best player available at your position. In Edmonton's case, they don't come any better than Yakupov.

Hockey Prospectus:

The highly-skilled Sarnia forward was near the top of the OHL in scoring as a pre-draft player, although he was a late birthdate and continued his dominance in his draft season. He's a well above-average skater with plus speed and tremendous agility. He has the ability to push the tempo up the ice and keep defenders on their heels, but he's probably even more dangerous at a standstill with high-end agility, first step acceleration, and a real slippery aspect to his game. He has such a powerful stride that he can take a handful of strides and already have travelled half the distance of the ice. Yakupov is the kind of player who consistently keeps his feet moving and has a very desirable motor to his game that shines through on a regular basis either when he's jetting through open ice or when he's engaging along the physical areas. He plays with the energy and grit at times of a fourth line player, with the skill set of a top pick. His puck skills are plus and he can dangle with the puck well. He used to be the kind of player who sometimes would try to do too much with the puck—which is a minor flaw in his game currently—but he has addressed that to a large degree. - Corey Pronman

AIH Draft Board

Pick Team Player Pos Nationality Amateur Club
1 Edmonton Oilers Nail Yakupov LW RUS Sarnia Sting (OHL)
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