by Lisa McRitchie on 06/02/12 at 02:00 AM ET
As reported by NHL.com writer Mike Morreale top ranked prospect Nail Yakupov has been living up to the hype, and maybe then some.
Edmonton Oilers head amateur scout, Stu MacGregor, whose team holds the No. 1 choice at the draft for the third straight year, said he was impressed with Yakupov’s workout.
“He extended himself and put himself out there and gave everything he had,” MacGregor told NHL.com. “I think that Nail wants to be No. 1 and he wants to prove he’s No. 1, so he knows what’s at stake and he’s pushing himself to be the best he can be.”
In addition to the bike tests, Yakupov was put through tests that included the standing long jump, vertical jump, curl-ups, grip strength, bench press, push-ups, and push/pull strength. He bench-pressed 150 pounds nine times, and totaled 29 pushups, four more than the average number last year.
He also lasted 12:25 on the VO2 Max test, which measures the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise. During his 30-second spin on the Wingate Cycle Ergometer, Yakupov maintained top speed to the very end, grunting his way through the final five seconds of the exercise.
As Craig Button says, with Yakupov measuring average in some tests, he shows that even Yakupov has room for improvements. And just imagine the player that he will be when he is finished growing and developing much like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Today was the first day of interviews and the Oilers have had conversations with 22 players in 9 hours. That makes for an extremely busy day. To help keep it straight, the Oilers have posted audio and video from each of those players. But most importantly, Oilers’ head amateur scout Stu MacGregor speaks about what he is looking for”
The most important message shared by MacGregor has to be his desire to hit a home run with more than just the first overall pick, but every single pick the Oilers have.
Calm and composed, Yakupov spoke with the media following his testing showing a strong grasp of the English language and asked for clarification when needed. In his interview video Yakupov comes across much the same way former first overall picks Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins did; hard working young men who want to be taken first overall and are ready to prove that they should be.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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