Oilers rookie Yakupov adding defence to repertoire

Nail Yakupov celebrates his goal against the Calgary Flames Monday with teammates at Rexall Place....

Nail Yakupov celebrates his goal against the Calgary Flames Monday with teammates at Rexall Place. (Amber Bracken, Edmonton Sun)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:49 PM ET

EDMONTON - Nail Yakupov admits he’s starting to figure it out.

There were high expectations on the Edmonton Oilers most recent first-overall pick coming into the season.

And while Yakupov has shown flashes of brilliance offensively, it’s his defensive game that has the coaching staff showing more confidence in him.

“I think the key thing is my teammates, they help me a lot, off the ice and on the ice,” said Yakupov. “I’m playing with the captain (Shawn Horcoff) and he talks to me all the time and I’m learning and working hard every day.

“Sometimes I don’t have any points but I think the first thing you have to do is work for your team, and I think we have a great chance to make the playoffs this year.”

Yakupov scored a goal and added an assist in the Oilers 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames Monday at Rexall Place. The two teams face each other again Wednesday in Calgary.

However, it was Yakupov’s work in his own zone that had head coach Ralph Krueger singi


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