“The Edmonton Oilers are so proud to select, from the Sarnia Sting, Nail Yakupov.”
Tambellini kept it short and simple, didn’t get booed, and surprised of the people that were watching the 2012 NHL Draft.
While some people thought Edmonton should take Ryan Murray first overall (he ended up going to Columbus second overall), others thought the better idea was to trade down and take a lower pick so as to cause less speculation over who they ended up taking.
The people getting #FailForNail trending on Twitter clearly thought otherwise.
Tambellini went for Yakupov, looking to add to the ‘young guns’ that decorate the Oilers’ front lines.
“When you look at the package, we talked about having elite skill within our organization and he’s hungry to perform, hungry to score, he’s an emotional player, an explosive player,” Tambellini said. “For us, trying to think about what that’s going to look like with Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, Hemsky, it’s exciting.”
So now, what about the rest of the team?
“There’s a lot of things that still have to be done. We know that if we can, we’re going to probably add another depth defenceman to the big club. You can’t rest, thinking that you had a great selection in the draft that your team is going to take that major step just because of that young player coming into your organization.” Tambellini added.
“I feel great,” Yakupov said on being picked first. “When I was young I never thought about NHL. I just watched it on TV. Two years ago, I still didn’t think about it but now I’m excited. I can’t even believe it.” It was an overwhelming, emotional moment for Nail, who added,
“It’s going to be a great team. I want to work hard and make the team,” he said. “For now, I can’t believe it.”
Before the draft, Nail had said: “I wanna go #1. No one dreams of going #2. That’s stupid.” Good thing he ended up getting picked first then, eh?
Taylor Hall (2010) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011) were in the same place as Yakupov not too long ago, and Nuge was even there, up on stage, when Yakupov was called up first.
“It’s pretty cool to be on the other side of it and see Nail get picked.” Ryan said. “It’s exciting for him but it’s also exciting for us, too. We’re all excited to get a chance to play with him.”
“It’s not over, it’s just starting.” – Yakupov.
*Both photos are screenshots from edmontonoilers.com.