Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/07/16 at 01:38 PM ET
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Watching Nail Yakupov play Sunday night, it was easy to see how the NHL draft traps players into being perceived a certain way.
By being the No. 1 pick in his draft year, Yakupov is now perceived as a massive underachiever, a one-dimensional forward unable to play an effective 200-foot game or cement himself as a rock solid piece of Edmonton’s foundation.
In a very general sense, you could argue he and Toronto’s Nazem Kadri are similar kinds of players. But Kadri went seventh in his draft year in a draft that was seven players deep. Toronto couldn’t have done any better, and now they’re just trying to figure out whether Kadri can be a major part of their future. If he’d been the No. 1 pick, like Yakupov, the expectations would have been entirely different, and the disappointment as to where he is at this point in his career much greater.
Or look at Dylan Larkin of the Red Wings. He’s a very good player, but being the 15th pick of his draft season has allowed him to be perceived as a gigantic surprise. If the 2014 draft were to be done over, he’d compete with Aaron Ekblad for the No. 1 pick, which would have made him a much more scrutinized player.
Larkin has 19 goals on a good Detroit team, while Sam Reinhart, who was the second pick after Ekblad that year, has 18 goals on a weak Buffalo team. But Larkin is seen as the star-in-waiting, while Reinhart’s effective season hasn’t attracted anywhere close to the same attention.
That’s what the draft does to the perception of young players.
Yakupov, meanwhile, has gone from scoring 17 goals in 48 games in his rookie season to scoring just six in 46 games this season. It’s not hard to see him as an Oiler on the move this summer.
more weekend takeaways...
Add a Comment
Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.
Most Recent Blog Posts
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com