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Oilers sign Nail Yakupov to 2-year bridge contract worth a reported $5 million

Rick Osentoski / USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers have signed forward Nail Yakupov to a two-year extension worth $5 million, according to various reports.

Done early, the deal will prevent negotiations on the restricted free agent to spill deep into the summer months and allow Yakupov to earn a long-term agreement while taking up a reasonable portion of the cap at $2.5 million per season. 

Yakupov's next contract was always going to be a curious case. He showed flashes immediately after being chosen first-overall, leading all rookies in goals and finishing as a co-leader in points, but saw his development stunt under former coach Dallas Eakins. 

Since Eakins' dismissal, Yakupov has improved his play in both ends, but not to the point where the Oilers and general manager Craig MacTavish would feel comfortable investing long-term, like he has with previous top picks.

As such, Yakupov will have to prove his worth five years into his NHL career, and hope Derek Roy sticks around for the next two.

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