Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had an outstanding rookie season at 18 years old. He is not Superman, but there are some very nice things about this player. Talented passer, outstanding vision and he shows glimpses of ability away from the puck. What should we expect from year two?
Historically, RNH was very good as a rookie. Here’s a look at the 18 and 19-year old kids since the lockout who played 50 or more games and delivered 40 or more points.
Sorry it isn’t a good photo, if you click it then things come nicely into view. Basically there’s not a poor player in the group, Mueller has struggled due to injury and Gagner is the devil (actually, its probably a misprint–should be Wellwood there) but the Nuge is in a very nice location on the map. Agreed?
I keep coming back to the Ken Hitchcock line where he thought the Nuge was “My opinion on Nugent-Hopkins has changed … last summer I thought he reminded me of Joe Sakic, but it’s Pavel Datsyuk now. He strips people of the puck, he’s crafty in high-traffic areas, he dishes well, he’s got great patience with the puck.”
In our mind’s eye, Datsyuk was such a slick, finished product on arrival but we need to remember NA fans didn’t see him until age 23. Those who don’t remember Sakic in his youth should be advised that while extremely gifted, he was not a capable player without the puck. Chaos reigned often in those days.
I’ll take either, of course. A lot has been made about the boy’s zone starts and that’s a consideration, but if he ends up being either a:
- offensive zone start killer or
- a complete player
who’s to worry? We would be happy with either right? I know I would. That chart is pretty dreamy.
Kicks off at noon MDT on Team 1260, emails welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also touch base in the comments section. I’m a twitter addict, @Lowetide_ or @ItsNationRadio.
Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis from COH and Oilers Nation. We’ll talk lockout, Eberle comparables, projecting the future and the Oilers playoff chances in 12-13.
- Terry Jones from the Edmonton Sun. We’ll talk about the Oilers summer, what Terry will be covering without NHL hockey in Edmonton this winter (should it come to pass) and there’s every chance the Eskimos may be discussed.
- Harrison Mooney from Puck Daddy and Pass it to Bulis! I want to find out about his exceptional Olympic coverage, along with a rundown of the team on the left coast—which will include a Luongo segment that should be humorous.
- Cam Charron from Leafs Nation. We’ll talk about that ridiculous ESPN The Magazine story that ranks the Leafs as the worst sports franchise in North America, and try to name the Leafs starting centermen in order and with authority.
- Eric Tulsky from Broadstreet Hockey and NHL Numbers. Back by popular demand, Tulsky’s work has been inspiring. His zone entry studies represent a true breakthrough in how we view the game, which players we should hold in high value, and we’ll explore that and other issues. I will be asking Eric several questions about his Flyers preview at NHL Numbers, so you might want to read it (outstanding).