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01-22-2013, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Pi View Post
I think I'd pick Tarasenko even in the future.

I see Yakupov as a one dimensional winger that can hit...mind you, one capable of hitting PPG so I'm not trashing him.

Tarasenko on the other hand seems like a two way player, great goal scoring ability, high IQ, good vision.

If he can play like this for 75% of the Blues games...he's their biggest star in his rookie season.
I have to agree here. Tarasenko is the total package. The biggest difference is in the way they think the game. As Yakupov grows, he'll likely be nearly as strong as Tarasenko. They both have elite puck skills and can skate very well. But Tarasenko's hockey IQ is significantly better than Yakupov's, and he's always had an extremely strong work ethic. He's very Crosby-like at times fighting for and controlling the puck in the corners, and then setting up his teammates. I remember watching him just physically dominate everyone at the WJC, outworking D in the corners then popping out in front and making a play.

I haven't seen that ability in Yakupov. What I have seen is a guy with an absolute rifle of a shot, who can handle the puck and isn't afraid of driving hard to the net. I can't think of any 18-19 year old prospect with a release like his, outside of maybe Kovalchuk, Ovechkin, and his former Sarnia teammate Reid Boucher.

If he develops properly and learns the game, Yakupov could be a consistent 35-50 goal 70-90 point scorer alongside a playmaking center/winger. I see Tarasenko as a solid two way player putting up consistent 30 goal 80 point seasons.

I'd compare Yakupov to an Ovechkin-lite. Blistering shot, good offensive awareness, powerful hitter, agile skater. I think Toews is a pretty good comparison for Tarasenko. Size/strength, hands, shot, hockey IQ, work ethic, defensive awareness.

If I'm starting a team, I take Toews over Ovechkin.

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