The Colorado Avalanche roster now boasts three No. 1 overall picks, as the club continues to build in free agency for the 2017-18 season.
The Avalanche announced Saturday that the team has signed forward Nail Yakupov to a one-year contract.
Yakupov, 23, was the first overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2012 NHL Draft. He has appeared in 292 career NHL games for the Oilers and St. Louis Blues, tallying 120 points (53g/67a). The Nizhnekamsk, Russia, native skated in 40 games for the Blues this past season, collecting nine points (3g/6a).
“Nail is a young, skilled winger who will add depth to our lineup,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President / General Manager Joe Sakic. “We look forward to seeing him at training camp.”
Yakupov made his NHL debut in 2012-13 and went on to lead all NHL rookies in goals (17) and points (31-tied) in 48 games during that shortened season. He spent four years in Edmonton before being acquired by St. Louis prior to the 2016-17 campaign on Oct. 7.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound right wing played two seasons for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League (2010-12). In 2010-11, he won the Emms Family Award as the OHL’s top rookie and was also named the Canadian Major Junior Rookie of the Year after leading all first-year players with 101 points (49g/52a) in 65 games.
At the international level, Yakupov tied for the team lead with eight points (3g/5a) in seven games to help Russia win the bronze medal as the host nation at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. He also won a silver medal for his country at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship in Alberta, collecting a team-high nine assists (0g/9a).