The Edmonton Oilers chose Ryan Nugent-Hopkins No. 1 overall in the summer of 2011. In the three seasons we’ve seen “The Nuge” it’s very obvious he’s a special player. His range of skills is terrific, and he’s a wonder on the power play. We’ve seen enough of him now—even with the injuries and lockout—to make some claims about Nugent-Hopkins and what he’ll be as an NHL player. It’s good, very good. And if he can return to rookie levels at one important discipline, he’ll emerge as an impact player.
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS 11-12
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.98 (3rd among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 7.30 (1st among regular forwards, 1st in NHL)
- Qual Comp: 4th toughest among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 2nd best teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: 5.6 (6th best among regular forwards)
- Zone Start: 62.5% (easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 53.6% (2nd best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 134/18 13.4% (2nd among F’s>100 shots)
- Boxcars: 62gp, 18-34-52 .839
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS 12-13
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.29 (10th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 4.91 (4th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: toughest among regular forwards (1st line opp)
- Qual Team: 4th best teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: 19.2 (3rd best among regular forwards)
- Zone Start: 52.0% (3rd easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 48.5% (9th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 78/5.13% (7th among F’s>70 shots)
- Boxcars: 40, 4-20-24 .600
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS 13-14
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.57 (4th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 4.49 (3rd among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 2nd toughest among regular forwards (1st line opp)
- Qual Team: best teammates among regular forwards (1st line teammates)
- Corsi Rel: 2.7 (5th best among regular forwards)
- Corsi for % 5×5: 44.9
- Corsi for % Rel 5×5: +1.1
- Zone Start: 58.4% (2nd easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 48.3% (3rd best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 178/10.7% (4th among F’s>100 shots)
- Boxcars: 80, 19-37-56 .700
VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER (CORSI REL)
RE 13-14 REVIEW
||RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS 13-14 RE
||RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS 13-14 ACTUAL
RE 14-15 PROJECTION
||RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS 14-15 RE
- We’re going to have the talk about even-strength scoring, aren’t we? Yes. Nuge led the team with 20 power-play points this season (20, tied with Eberle) and was fourth in EV points (behind Hall, Eberle and Perron).
- Does this mean he’s Marc Pouliot? No, no. He’s Dave Keon, with more offense. That’s a really good player.
- But he’s not going to be Sakic or Toews? Nuge at 20 scored .7 points per game, Toews was .841. Different teams mind, both had brilliant wingers, Toews had insane support at center. We’re three years in now, and you could make a major deal over the injuries….
- Yes please! The Oilers problem at center isn’t Nuge, despite all the things you hear. He’s played three seasons at 18, 19 and 20 against a tough bunch of ramrods in the western conference. He’s a good player on his way to something more.
- Where does he rank among centers? Nuge was 13th in PP points and 31st in even-strength points among centers.
- Does he score well 5×5 with anyone? According to Hockey Analysis.com he scores 1.85/60 5×5 with Eberle and 1.58/60 at 5×5 with Hall and with Yakupov. These are are such good players, I’d guess all of them should be well over 1.80/60 at 5×5 when playing together. The injury explains some, the Corgis some more, but at some point, if Nuge can’t get back to 1.80+ or so, we’re going to call him Keon plus.
- Where did he bat in the lineup? Top line, very strong match with Hall and Eberle at evens. Nuge played against top opposition but did get a nice zone-start push. It should be something he’s accustomed to, and he should make hay.
- He’ll never be Hall at evens. No crime there, No. 4 is really outstanding at even strength. Hall is also 17 months–basically TWO YEARS–older than the Nuge. That’s a crazy, crazy difference for two guys drafted in consecutive years. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is 21. He’s six months older than Nail Yakupov.
- So he’s a great player at everything but even strength scoring? Hmmm. I’d say RNH shows such a range of skills that he’ll be a complete player for many years, during the heart of his career. He is not yet the sum of his parts. Injuries have clouded the view a little but this is a wonderful young player.
- So, why are the projections up so high? Well, the power play should be improved and I’m assuming that the possession numbers improve as well. More time in the offensive zone and less time chasing should mean a spike.
- You don’t know that for sure. Well, yes I do. Either Dallas Eakins figures this out, or we see a new coach. Nuge was on a line that was close to 50% Corsi for 5×5 in his first two seasons, and he’s healthy. This is among the easiest bets I’ll make this summer during the RE series. He’s playing with sublime talent, we left last season with a 1.57/60 5×5, Nuge will be better. I’m confident.
- How much of this improvement you’ve projected is even strength? I have RNH moving from 13 to 15 goals at even strength, and from six to nine goals on the powerplay.
- And the assists? At evens, I have Nuge going from 23 to 28 (+5) and on the power play from 14 to 16 (+2).
- So, you have him returning to his rookie-level scoring at 5×5? Yes, that’s exactly it. It’s a hair more because he’ll play less at evens now that reason has come to town. I think Nuge being healthy, on the top line and getting a zone start push should put him at the same level as 2011-12.
- Cool. What about PP? Back to rookie levels? No, but it’s an upgrade for sure. I don’t think it’s reasonable to project him at his rookie levels. Love to see it again, though.
- Is he a disappointing No. 1 overall? Hell, no. Nuge isn’t Taylor Hall, but then again (as discussed) he’s much younger and of course plays a more difficult position. Nuge ranks pretty high in total points among players in their first three seasons (18 to 20, he’s No. 7) and points per game (18th, tied with Gaborik). Nuge is fantastic, but he’s so young that it clouds the view. We’re impatient—why can’t he be HALL?—but as time rolls Nugent-Hopkins will impact the game more and more.
- Will he one day be capable of driving the bus without Hall? Sure, he’s a No. 1 overall pick and has a wide range of ability.
- He’s never really done anything special though. As a rookie, he finished third in the entire NHL with 20 PP assists.
- Why didn’t he repeat? Injury, new coach, someone was too stubborn to look at the tapes and see what was working on the PP before he arrived….
- And now it’s over. Jesus. What a pity party. At 20, Mark Messier went 72, 23-40-63 .875 and that was in a more offensive era. The memory plays tricks, it takes time to get there, especially when you start your NHL career before shaving.
- So you still like him? Love him! The NUMBER ONE concern Oilers fans should have is Nuge getting hurt. NUMBER. ONE.
- Wow. Bold, underline AND periods. Yes. Feel strongly.
- Will he play with Hall and Eberle? For much of the season, yes. At even strength, he spent 65% of his time on ice with Eberle and 57% with Taylor Hall. That’s definitely a line in modern times.
- Anyone else you’d like to see him with? I’d be interested in pre-season games where his wingers are Pouliot and Purcell, and maybe a few shifts with Leon on his left wing.
- Sam Gagner never got to 50 points in a season. Will RNH eventually reach that number? He already has, you idiot. He scored 56 points last season.
- Why this song? It’s about innocence, and the loss of innocence, and growing up and finding wisdom without losing the wonder. I think that’s where the Nuge is right now, and suspect Craig Ramsay is a rainbow.
- Who does he remind you of again? Dave Keon. With a power-play kicker.