A few days before Nail Yakupov traveled to Russia to join the KHL, we had an opportunity to skate with him. We were observing an on-ice practice led by Detroit Red Wings legend Igor Larionov, which also included Yakupov's fellow Russians Sergei Samsonov and Andrei Lactionov. Needless to say, the talent on display was jaw dropping.
Larionov moved the players through a few drills focused on stickhandling, changing direction and shooting. However, the highlight of the practice were competition drills: one-on-one corner battles and a three-on-three scrimmage.
Watch Yakupov display explosive speed, smooth hands, a cannon-like shot and natural goal-scoring ability. As he continues to develop as a player, it's easy to imagine him evolving into an elite offensive threat like his compatriot, Alexander Ovechkin.
Also, check out Yakupov's off-season strength and power workout