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Nugent-Hopkins comparables: a tale of two Ryans

In the wake of the Seth Jones trade bituman asks the machines of the Corsiverse: "Who's comparable to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?" "How close are Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Johansen?" The answer is 91.43%

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Today was one of those days that I felt like the Oilers missed-out on something. Some of us who contribute and comment on this site thought that the Nashville Predators need of a centreman was a good chance for the Edmonton Oilers to acquire Seth Jones.

As you can see from the above tweet, it was not to be. The Columbus Bluejackets went with another Ryan, Ryan Johansen. This leads to the question, "Just how similar are Nugent-Hopkins and Johansen?"

Now, don't get me wrong. I like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He's a good looking lad and he reminds me a whole lot of my nephew, they just kind of look the same. I like his play too. I'd like his play more if he were more like Leon Draisaitl, but I like him, nevertheless. Plus he's cool, calm, and collected: he seems like he has a good head on his shoulders.

Nugent-Hopkins and Johansen are both from British Columbia and were born a year apart. Johansen was drafted fourth-overall in the 2010 draft (the Taylor Hall draft) with Nugent-Hopkins being drafted the subsequent year.  Both played for decent WHL teams and put-up similar pre-draft point totals. Both players went directly to the NHL from the WHL. Both players come from progressive households, with Nugent-Hopkins using the family names of both his parents and Johansen being of socialist Swedish origins ("I joke, I joke, I kid', I kid'").

Just how similar are the Ryans in terms of their NHL careers? I decided to ask the machines of the Corsiverse.

Corsiverse Machine #1: Hero Charts

The charts above show Nugent-Hopkins to be less of a scoring centre and a little bit more defensively responsible than Johansen. But they're not extremely different. The above are calculated over the past three seasons. Considering the similarities between Columbus and Edmonton, I think it's safe to say that the two players have much in common.

Corsiverse Machine #2: War-On-Ice Similarity Score Calculator

(Click here for enlarged version)

Ryan Johansen's point production and possession stats for his 22 year-old season are better than RNH's.


The two Ryans seem to be similar players in terms of history and in terms of stats as produced by two of the great machines of the Corsiverse. Nugent-Hopkins has to date played a more defensively responsible game, while Johansen has focused more on scoring. Were I David Poile I would have pursued Johansen first. He's a year older, and perhaps just a tiny but more ready to contribute to a cup winning team. He doesn't come with the psychological baggage associated with being a first-overall pick. Johansen's contract, shorter in term than Nugent-Hopkins', allows Poile the chance to negotiate after 2016-2017, perhaps providing extra incentive for performance while Shea Webber and Pekka Rinne are still at their peak.