‘The story is very unique, actually,’ said Rail Yakupov, Nail’s father to Sport-Express. ‘First overall pick can’t play in the AHL due to his age. Technically, my son signed a 2-way deal with the Oilers and it is active starting next NHL season. Currently, this is pretty much a 1-way deal. Nail can play either for the Oilers or in the NHL.’

‘Oilers were fine with my son leaving to the KHL,’ continues Yakupov senior. ‘Then out of the blue appeared Sarnia – the team he used to play for. What do they have to do with this? What do they want? I don’t get it. I don’t want to blame anybody, but it seems like somebody’s trying to make money of it. We have our suspicions of who it may be – it’s our Russian-speaking acquaintances from North America. We’re dealing with this. However, I can’t really tell when this issue is going to be solved.’

It is very unusual for an 18-year-old player to be involved in a situation like this. Come to think of it, the last Russian who had similar problems with the IIHF was Isles prospect Kirill Kabanov. However, Neftekhimik GM believes it’s not going to become a basis for Yakupov to build an attitude problem on.