Hockey Night in Canada

Nail Yakupov to become UFA after Blues decline qualifying offer

The St. Louis Blues did not extend a qualifying offer to Nail Yakupov, making the 2012 No. 1 pick an unrestricted free agent.

2012 No. 1 pick free to sign with any team as of July 1

Nail Yakupov was not given a qualifying offer by the St. Louis Blues and will become an unrestricted free agent as of July 1. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The St. Louis Blues did not extend a qualifying offer to Nail Yakupov, making the 2012 No. 1 pick an unrestricted free agent.

Yakupov, 23, had just nine points in 40 games last season after four years with the Edmonton Oilers. The Russian winger has never had more than 33 points in a season and will be free to sign with any team July 1.

St. Louis acquired Yakupov last October in a trade that sent Zach Pochiro and a conditional 2017 draft pick to Edmonton. Yakupov was one of four No. 1 picks the Oilers have had in the past seven years, but he failed to live up to expectations with just 50 goals and 111 points in 252 games for Edmonton.

During his rookie season, he scored a career-high 17 goals and 31 points in 48 games, but hasn't matched that output in subsequent years. 

Yakupov is coming off the final season of a two-year deal that carried an annual cap hit of $2.5 million US.

The Blues tendered qualifying offers to five other restricted free agents: defencemen Colton Parayko and Petteri Lindbohm, forwards Magnus Paajarvi and Oskar Sundqvist and goaltender Jordan Binnington and re-signed forward Wade Megan to a one-year, two-way contract.

Parayko put up 35 points in his second NHL season.

With files from CBC Sports

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