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Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - #2 in the Oilers Top 25 Under 25

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: he’s a playmaker.

And our hope is that nothing else really matters.

Rank Player DOB Drafted Year Ben
Jaysen Jon Scott
2 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
1 2011
2 2 6 6 2 2


 Previous rank: N/A

That didn’t take long.  RNH is getting vivisected.  Okay.  I would rather have lowered expectations and be proven wrong (hey, at one time I was leery of Stamkos... oops!) than get my hopes up too high and see them dashed.  He was taken #1 overall and with that lofty position comes the magnifying glass and the scalpel.  In terms of numbers analysis there isn’t much that I can say that isn’t already said:


Here, and


So that means I am left with telling you why I rated him #6 overall (I had our #1, Eberle, Petry, Gagner, Paajarvi ranked ahead of RNH). 

It’s simple really – he hasn’t done anything yet.

When I go through an exercise like this I place roughly equal weight on three measures:

  • Upside on spec;
  • Establishing play, and;

  • Retaining upside on play (this measure swings positive and negative)

There are some other measures considered (the concept of ‘fits a need vs. timeline’ being one and ‘will he actually get a chance to play’ being another) but they are pretty small factors when compared to the big three.

In such a way a guy like Sam Gagner - who may never become a center who can carry the 2nd line (which I consider his ceiling btw) let alone a 1st line center who can carry his line if need be - gets ranked ahead of RNH.  Gagner HAS played in the NHL, Gagner HAS established an ability to play 2nd line center with the right wings (and even 1st line if he gets great wingers) and RNH HAS NOT done either of those things. 

In the same way, Jeff Petry’s established floor (albeit maybe my eyes only) of being a top-4 d-man IS the bird in the hand and he should get MUCH better.  Neither Jordan Eberle nor Magnus Paarjarvi have done anything to make me think that they don’t have great futures and our #1 guy... well... he’s #1 with a bullet.  Neither Cogs nor Peckham are a factor at this level because neither one retains the upside needed to rank higher on my list.

(a special case considered) Linus Omark ranks behind RNH because, as much as he HAS played effectively and I think he retains fantastic upside, it’s tough for me to say with confidence that he will get a fair shake for ice-time (AND good ice-time) on this team - I see Satan written all over this situation but unlike Satan, Omark has the ability to go back to Sweden and still earn a really good living if he ever gets tired of the run-around.  All that said, maybe I should have Omark ranked higher than RNH simply because some smart GM may come calling and pick him up cheap.  I don’t think Omark would be getting blockage were he playing for Detroit or Pittsburgh, do you?  Yet here, it is a distinct possibility and yet one more reason (albeit a small one) why I wanted Larsson drafted over RNH - this team is shoving too many good prospects (forwards) through the system in too short a timeframe.  Why commit to a long-term rebuild if you are going to short-cut and grind your evaluation time (grrrrrrrrr)?

All we have is a guy, back to RNH, who may not even be able to play in the NHL - let alone compete effectively.  At least with JFJ we could delude ourselves into thinking ‘hitting’ could mean something special one day.  Think about that for a second.  JFJ had a LOT working for him as a prospect, his ceiling was that of a difference maker playing on the top-2 lines, but once he hit the NHL you could barely make the case that he deserved a spot on the 4th line.  That is a hell of a slide.

I think RNH has amazing upside (he was the consensus #1 btw).  And I think RNH will play in the NHL.  But as of yet he has not and as of RIGHT NOW he has a ways to go before he outpaces his comparables.  If our #1 is #1 with a bullet then this is #2 with a whimper.

Go ahead Mr. Nugent-Hopkins.  Get to it.

Burns and cuts and all.

Have a great evening everyone.