Blues' Nail Yakupov benched for 3rd straight game

St. Louis Blues forward Nail Yakupov will be a healthy scratch vs. Chicago on Wednesday, the third straight game he hasn't been in the lineup.

Former Edmonton Oilers forward has 4 points in 11 games

St. Louis Blues forward Nail Yakupov has been a healthy scratch for the team's last three games. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

When the St. Louis Blues acquired Nail Yakupov, some thought a change of scenery would be exactly what he needed. 

But for the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, the transition just hasn't been that simple. 

Yakupov was a healthy scratch on Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks, the third straight game he has not been in the lineup.

The 23-year-old right winger was acquired by the Blues late in the off-season from the Edmonton Oilers for prospect Zach Pochiro and a conditional third-round pick. 

Yakupov got off to a great start with his new team, registering a goal and an assist in his second game in a Blues uniform. He also scored in his return to Edmonton, albeit in a 3-1 loss to the Oilers on Oct. 20. 

He had four points in his first six games, but has been held off the score sheet in his past five. 

The native of Nizhnekamsk, Russia was sent to the press box as a healthy scratch after he played just 7:28 on Nov. 3 against the Kings. He hasn't suited up for the Blues since. 

Yakupov has averaged 10:27 minutes of ice time in his 11 games with the team, recording two goals and two assists. 

"I feel like I'm doing good," Yakupov told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I can't tell I'm playing a bad game. I like the way I play but obviously I want to improve my game. I want to get better every day in practice and the game day." 

St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock said Yakupov is down on his depth chart.

"He doesn't need to do anything," he said. "He just needs to be ready when it's his turn ... there have been no injuries in our top eight forwards" 

The Blues had won three of their last five games prior to Tuesday's date with the Blackhawks. 

In his four seasons with the Oilers, Yakupov registered 111 points, including 50 goals, in 252 games.