Oilers select big centre Yakimov from Yakupov's hometown
NEWARK, NJ – Not only does Bogdan Yakimov's last name bear a striking resemblance to that of Oilers 2012 first-overall draft pick Nail Yakupov, the two Russian forwards also share the same hometown.
Using a pick acquired from the St. Louis Blues earlier in the 2013 Draft, Edmonton selected Yakimov in the third round (83rd overall). The 6-foot-4, 201-pound centreman spent the past season with the junior squad in Nizhnekamsk, which is also where Yakupov calls home.
"I'm extremely happy, because I've been waiting to be selected," Yakimov said via a translator shortly after the Oilers called his name at Newark's Prudential Center. "I was already at the edge of my nerves, so this was a huge relief to be selected by anybody, particularly by the Edmonton Oilers."
Yakimov said "particularly" the Oilers since they are far and away the team of choice for the residents of Nizhnekamsk, due to Yakupov's rise to NHL rookie stardom this past season.
"In Nizhnekamsk, the most favourite team of anybody is Edmonton Oilers, because Nail Yakupov is from the same town," explained Yakimov, who added he watched all of the Oilers rookie's highlights, which included 17 goals and 31 points in 48 games.
Yakimov and Yakupov played together a few years ago at the Nizhnekamsk Hockey School, where Nail's father Rail Yakupov is a former program director.
Yakimov, whose first name Bogdan is shortened to "Bo" as his preferred nickname, said he particularly enjoyed his fellow countryman Yakupov's now-famous sliding celebration against the Los Angeles Kings on January 24, 2013.
"That was a normal reaction, because the guy has been dreaming about the NHL all his life," Yakimov said. "The whole arena erupted and he was all emotion. He didn't know what he was doing. It was just great."