Blues trade prospect, pick for former No. 1 overall pick Yakupov
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues addressed their somewhat thin forward corps by trading for a former No. 1 overall draft pick Friday.
The Blues acquired forward Nail Yakupov, the first overall pick of the 2012 draft, from the Edmonton Oilers. Headed to Edmonton are forward Zach Pochiro, a fourth-round pick by the Blues in 2013, and a conditional draft pick. The Oilers will get a third-rounder in 2017 if Yakupov scores fewer than 15 goals this season, but a 2018 second-rounder if he scores 15 or more.
The loss of forward Jaden Schwartz (elbow) for the first few weeks of the season and the non-arrival of Vladimir Sobotka from the Kontinental Hockey League left the Blues looking for depth. They got a player who has not lived up to his draft spot but who could blossom in a new environment.
"We felt that it was worth the gamble because it's a former first overall pick," general manager Doug Armstrong said in a conference call with reporters. "But I think he probably needs a change of scenery. And he's excited to be here and we're excited to have him."
Yakupov, 23, posted 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 60 games with Edmonton last season. A 5-foot-11, 195-pound native of Russia, Yakupov has 111 points (50 goals, 61 assists) in 252 career regular-season games over four NHL seasons.
Armstrong said he expects Yakupov to be on the ice with the Blues on Monday, two days before the season opener at Chicago.
Pochiro played last season with Quad City of the East Coast Hockey League, scoring 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 44 games.