If the NHL season does not start on time due to a lockout Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov will play in the KHL for his hometown team, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, according to his agent Igor Larionov, as passed on by IIHF communications director Szymon Szemberg.
Yakupov was the No. 1 overall pick by the Oilers this past June (their third straight No. 1 overall selection) and has already signed his entry-level deal with the club. He's also already decided on wearing No. 64 for the Oilers and was recently in Edmonton shopping for a new house. This doesn't change any of that or his commitment to playing in the NHL, and is simply a Plan B if the league experiences what would be its third work stoppage in less than 20 years.
Prior to being the top pick in the draft Yakupov was already playing in North America having spent the past two years with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League.
In 42 games this past season he scored 31 goals to go with 39 assists. He's the latest addition to an impressive group of young Edmonton forwards that includes Jordan Eberle and past No. 1 picks Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.