Hail Nail. Nail Yakupov was awarded the Emms Family Award as the OHL’s top rookie Wednesday, capping off an impressive debut season in which the Sarnia Sting standout recorded 49 goals and 101 points in 65 games this season and be named the league’s rookie of the month on three separate occasions.
Finishing fifth in league scoring and first among rookies, Yakupov becomes just the fifth OHL rookie to break the 100-point plateau, joining David Legwand, Sheldon Keefe and then teammates Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner.
“I am honoured to be named Rookie of the Year in the Ontario Hockey League,” Yakupov told the OHL.
“I would like to thank the Sarnia Sting organization. Specifically, coaches Letowski, Galchenyuk, DiMuzio and MacQueen for all their hard work and believing in me, as well as my agent Igor Larionov for his great advice both on and off the ice. I would like to thank all of my teammates especially my fellow rookie, linemate, and roommate Alex Galchenyuk Jr. Finally I would like to thank the fans of Sarnia for supporting the team I already am looking forward to next season.”
The native of Nizhnekamsk, RU. becomes just the third Russian to capture the award after Evgeny Grachev of the Brampton Battalion (2008-09) and Vitali Yachmenev of the North Bay Centennials (1993-94).
Yakupov, the second overall selection in the 2010 CHL Import Draft, was the unanimous choice for the award voted on by the league’s 19 general managers. Barrie Colts forward Mark Scheifele and Windsor Spitfires standout Alex Khokhlachev both eligible for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, finished second and third respectively.
Yakupov isn’t eligible for the draft until 2011 and is regarded as a potential first overall selection.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!