Coming in at #4 on the Oilers is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Because he’s been in the league for 6 seasons, I was quite surprised to see that he was still eligible. Here is how he was ranked.
There was only one other player on the list who came away with a consensus from the voters. The other won’t surprise you.
There isn’t much to be said about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins that you don’t already know. He’s a centerman who has been here for many years now, has grown his defensive skill into that of a 2-way forward and didn’t have a great season last year. He came into the league under-sized, predictably suffered injury issues and had mediocre skating. He’s improved on all of those fronts and as fans, we’re lucky to have him. I’m not going to put in a scouting report because if you’ve tuned into a game over the past half decade, you’ve seen him.
What have you done for me lately?
Had a down year with only 43 points in 2016-2017. What he did do, was become adequate in the shutdown center role. That point total seems like a problem at its surface but I don’t think it is. He had more shots last year than any other year he’s played but shot 2% lower than his career average. What this means is — like Eberle — there is a damn good chance that the Nuge can come into the season, play exactly as he did last year and have a lot more points. He’s fully in his prime now so to expect him to come in and be a point-per-game player moving forward would be met with skepticism. At 6 Million per year, 50 points is fair value so hopefully he can get back to that.
What does the future hold?
Lets be honest, he’s going to be traded for a stupid return. No one likes trading 1st overalls more than Chiarelli, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a prime candidate. The fans were lukewarm on him last season — I chalk that up to shooting percentage, people like results after all. He’s going to be making 6 Million for the next four years and if he doesn’t deliver above market value, it’s highly probable that Peter Chiarelli will convince himself that he has such a cap problem and will move his #2 center.
This coming season though, he should put a lot of points on the board and help get his team deep into the post season. There are quite a few reasons to think that this team is worse on paper than it is last year and I don’t see it playing out that way. Nugent-Hopkins should be better by just existing, and help us go on a playoff run.
At this point in time, Nugent-Hopkins is number 4 on our list of top 25 under 25. He’s not eligible for the list next year and that might not even be because of age.
This was an excellent series of which to be a part and I look forward to the round-table discussion on why some people had abnormal picks. I would like to thank Copper&Blue for the outlet, the readers for their attention span, and Peter Chiarelli for not trading any of the players half way through the rankings.