Yakupov arrives in Edmonton

Nail Yakupov arrived in Edmonton and is getting ready for training camp. (David Bloom/QMI...

Nail Yakupov arrived in Edmonton and is getting ready for training camp. (David Bloom/QMI Agency/Files)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:39 PM ET

EDMONTON - Nail Yakupov has arrived.

And as long as there's an NHL season to be played, the first overall pick in this summer's draft is here to stay.

Yakupov, 18, arrived in Edmonton on Wednesday from Halifax after competing in the Canada-Russia hockey challenge. He was presented to the local media on Thursday.

"I'm excited to be here," said Yakupov. "I feel real good about being here. I'm looking forward to the season."

The Edmonton Oilers winger has yet to meet the majority of his teammates who are still away for the summer.

He did, however, speak briefly with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at the draft and has talked with Sam Gagner.

As training camp nears, more members of the club will be arriving in town, giving Yakupov a chance to get to know his new team.

Until then, Yakupov will begin the process of settling in, which includes finding a home in the city where he'll be soon joined by the rest of his family.

"They're coming a little later," Yakupov said. "They're all coming, my mother, my brother, my sister, the dog."

Yakupov came to North America from his home in Russia earlier than normal due to the four-game series between the best junior-aged players the two hockey powers have to offer. The series, which featured two games in Russia and another two in Canada, wrapped up on Tuesday.

Canada won the series with an overtime goal in the fourth and final game.

"Every time you play against Canada it's exciting and it gets a little crazy," Yakupov said. "They were different games back in Russia than they were in Canada. We have the big rink back home and in Canada they have the small rink. But it was fun playing in front of a lot of fans.

"They were good games. It was tough for some guys because some had played preseason games before that and some had not. But we showed we can play against Canada and that they're not monsters and we were able to win two games."

The Oilers training camp will open in mid-September as long as the league and its players' association is able to come up with a new collective bargaining agreement. If they can't and the players are locked out, Yakupov may have to go to an alternative this season, which may include returning to play in Russia.

"I think every player has a Plan B in case that happens," Yakupov said.

"My plan is inside (my head). Right now I'm just thinking about the Edmonton Oilers and playing in the NHL and that's it."

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