PREFACE: I realize that Yakupov has already been traded to the St. Louis Blues, but in the interest of my sanity, I’ve decided not to rewrite what’s already been written and saved, since most of this article still applies.
The word “bust” is an interesting term. No, not in that way you hormonal teenagers, you. I mean the sporting version, defined as a person or athlete who did not make a difference at the highest level of play in any meaningful way.
Now, to be fair, there’s only so many NHL positions available and yet there’s 200+ kids drafted every year as well as countless others who have gone undrafted with legitimate NHL prospects. Being a bust does not reflect poorly on a player’s personality or work ethic at all (unless you legitimately have problems with such attributes). It’s just the reality; with such a numbers-crunching game, unless you are the very best of the very best, generally you will not get the opportunity to make your mark in the best hockey league in the world.
Nail Yakupov, once adjudged to be THE very best of the best (not quite a Pokémon reference, but I was tempted for sure), is about 2 steps away from joining so many others under that unfortunate label judging by this very cryptic Ryan Rishaug radio interview.