The Colorado Avalanche have signed Nail Yakupov to a one-year $875,000 contract for the 2017-18 season, a significant pay cut from the $2.5 million he had received with the Blues last season.
Yakupov deal with COL is for $875K. Avalanche giving chances to some forwards.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 4, 2017
Yakupov was a for first overall draft pick for the Edmonton Oilers in 2012. The 23-year-old winger has played in 292 career NHL games for the Oilers and most recently the St. Louis Blues. In that time he has tallied 120 points (53g, 67a).
"Nail is a young, skilled winger who will add depth to our lineup," Avalanche Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic said. "We look forward to seeing him at training camp."
The 5-foot-11 forward had a tough time in free agency this year, no teams were willing to take a chance on the frequently injured, under-performing Russian native. Joe Sakic and the Avalanche front office are taking chances, hoping that they can get Yakupov's play to its full potential.
The right winger's offensive production has fallen off since his first year in the NHL. He had 31 points in 48 games during his rookie season with the Oilers and only tallied nine points in 40 games with the Blues last season.
Yakupov had knee-surgery last season, ironically after a game against the Avalanche on March 31, rendering him useless for the remainder of the Blues' season.
Now we wait and see if the the risks the Avs' front office is taking will pay off.