|"I like him plenty, but I have nagging doubts. Why do I feel like I'm watching the next Jamie Lundmark? That lackluster track record of Western League dynamic offensive whiz kids is always in the back of my mind. He seems to me like a guy with a high floor, but I would have said that about Gilbert Brule also."|
--An NHL Scout on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins during a conversation with the outstanding Kirk Luedeke.
I've expressed my doubts about Nugent-Hopkins as the top pick and those doubts are centered around his lack of even strength scoring. Scott looked at the suggestions that year-over-year improvement is more meaningful than established scoring levels and found it's established levels of success that matter:
That said, I think it means that we know a lot more about the players who have been consistent over a two-year period. The level they've established in junior is more likely to translate to the NHL, which is good to know! For those taking a big step, or who haven't previously played in the CHL, their level of ability is much less clear. They might significantly overperform or underperform their draft-year totals, but you don't really know which it's going to be (it looks to me like there are extreme examples on both sides).
Bob McKenzie has mentioned that six of ten scouts he's talked to have Nugent-Hopkins ranked first, not nearly the unanimity we've seen from past years. Given the small statistical doubt, it's interesting that an NHL scout is expressing personal doubt about Nugent-Hopkins.
As an aside - fans of Dougie Hamilton and Joe Morrow should definitely read through the quotes in Luedeke's article.