Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will lead Team Canada into WJ action this Christmas, having played in a men’s league (AHL) as prep. Nail Yakupov has also been facing top flight competition in the KHL, and flourishing. If the Russian outperforms the Burnaby kid, should we be surprised?
RNH is 19, 8-12-20 +7 in OKC, with plenty of pretty PP passes included in the boxcars. Yakupov has slowed after a blistering KHL start and stands at 22, 10-8-18 -4. Both are solid seasons at the quarter pole (or so), but if we absolutely had to choose between the two seasons–which one would you choose? Before you decide, lets talk about NHL equivalencies. Ordinarily, I’d use the tried and true Gabe Desjardins’ model from 2004–because it tracked things over a number of years and I think gave us a good idea about range of expectation.
However, the AHL and KHL are much different leagues this season. So, for that reason I’m using .55 for the AHL and .65 for the KHL as my guidelines. NOTE: Please feel free to add input and advice in this regard, I’m sincere in saying I have no attachment to any governor beyond attempting to get a fair number.
- Nuge NHLE 82, 19-28-47
- Yakupov NHLE 82, 24-20-44
Pretty close, and no matter the numbers we use I think it is worth considering that Yakupov’s offense may equal or surpass the Nuge’s based on the current season. I’ve seen enough of the AHL to know it’s a terrific league in 2012-13, but would guess that the KHL is a tougher league based on quality and age.
So, how close is Nail to the Nuge in terms of expected offense? During the RE series last summer I suggested there was a significant gap, but that was based on opportunity and the possibility Yakupov would be playing limited minutes (especially early on).
Now? I’m not so sure. That’s an exceptional season Yakupov is crafting in the Russian winter.