Yakupov was selected first overall by the Oilers in 2012, but hasn’t developed into a franchise player like many other No. 1 picks. According to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, the Blackhawks have interest in the 23-year-old Russian.
Yakupov has a salary cap hit of $2.5 million and is slated to become a restricted free agent. He has 50 goals, 61 assists, 102 penalty minutes and a minus-88 plus/minus rating in 252 career NHL games. He had some success playing on a line with Connor McDavid and Benoit Pouliot early last season but finished eighth on the Oilers with 23 points and ranked 22nd on the team in ice time averaging just 14:13 per game.
Reports surfaced in March that Yakupov had requested a trade from the Oilers.
Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli proved in the off-season he isn’t afraid to pull the trigger on big deals, trading Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in June and making a splash in free agency days later by signing Milan Lucic.