by Lisa Brown on 07/24/12 at 02:15 AM ET
The wait was worth it. The deal is done. And the 2012 first overall draft pick Nail Yakupov has signed his entry level deal with the Edmonton Oilers. The deal is of course, completely as expected, the standard 3 year entry level deal with this year’s maximum allowable salary ($925,000) and bonuses (performance $2,850,000 and signing $92,500) all adding up to a cap hit of $3,775,000. And while Yakupov is now the third first overall pick signed by the Oilers in as many years, he is the one most likely to hit his targets and earn his bonuses, simply because he has a better team around him than poor Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
But before Yakupov gets to camp, he may just want to get to work with the Rosetta Stone program that the Oilers get all of their import players working with. Speaking with the Oilers’ Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now Monday afternoon, Yakupov was clearly excited, perhaps distracted and most definitely a little confused by some of the questions asked. I think that this would be due in part to the fact that this was a telephone interview and not an in person one which tends to be more stressful and sometimes confusing, but it is also due to the fact that Yakupov was not immersed in English in Sarnia for the past two seasons and even this summer is in Russia.
The language barrier won’t be so much of an issue when Yakupov comes to camp of course, goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin speaks both English and his native Russian fluently and from all accounts Khabibulin’s mentoring abilities are what got him a job with the Oilers. And to think, we all thought that he was there to work with the young goaltenders. It turns out he’s still in town to work with a first overall draft pick.
But then again, Yakupov told Stauffer that his family is moving with him. This may not help with the transition to English, but it is an inevitability that he will one day be far more confident in holding a conversation in the language.
Still, all of this won’t matter as much if the new CBA negotiations don’t make some real headway. At this point anything new on the CBA is bigger news than the Yakupov signing, and certainly bigger than the let down that was the Rick Nash trade. But these are the dog days of summer, this is what we expect.
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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.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
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