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2012 NHL Draft: Nail Yakupov Sliding on Draft Day?

CALGARY, CANADA - JANUARY 5:  Nail Yakupov #10 of Team Russia waits for a face-off during the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship Gold Medal game against Team Sweden at the Scotiabank Saddledome on January 5, 2012 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Team Sweden defeated Team Russia 1-0 in overtime.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
Jim VollmerContributor IIJune 22, 2012

One of the most intriguing drafts in recent memory has only gotten more interesting this morning. The Edmonton Oilers are on the clock with the No. 1 pick, and it was widely accepted there were two likely moves to be made. The Oilers could take the consensus top prospect in the draft, Nail Yakupov. The Sarnia Sting's winger dynamic, explosive left-winger is an electrifying talent (Nail has received comparisons to Russian great, and his hero, Pavel Bure).

But as the Oilers are already loaded with young offensive talents Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. It has been speculated that GM Steve Tambellini trade back and draft one of the many defenseman available in this draft, the top name being Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips. 

This morning a rumor broke that the Oilers might just cut out the middle man and pick Ryan Murray at No. 1. Who leaked this information? None other than Ryan Murray's brother. Here’s a tweet from Ryan Murray’s brother Nathan this morning.

"not that i know for absolute sure but its looking pretty good that we could be making some alberta trips in the near future. #JustSayin

— Nathan Murray (@Murzzy18) June 22, 2012"

Very interesting possibility. But the slide might not end there for Nail. Further examination of the Twittersphere reveals the Columbus Blue Jackets may pass on Yakupov at No. 2 as well

The Jackets passing on Yakupov may seem like a crazy decision, but it's not without merit. In their short time as a franchise, the Jackets have been burned by two highly touted Russian forwards, Nikolay Zherdev and Nikita Filatov. 

Could Nail Yakupov, the prohibitive top player in the draft, fall all the way to No. 3? What kind of options does that open up for the Canadiens and Maple Leafs? We'll find out tonight.

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