The Nuge

Lowetide
March 15 2011 08:27PM

This draft season has waited a long time for a leader to emerge. That moment is here. Finally. The "future" plays down the QE2.
 

Joe Sakic graded out very well in his draft season. Central Scouting's report (above) on him indicated a quality talent with room to grow. How much room does Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have to grow? How much "Sakic" is there? Does RNH have enough to pass Adam Larsson? RNH is carrying the mail now, I mean he's balls out ripping it. He has scored 15 points in his last 6 games. ISS has him number one (their new list is here) and it looks like they're not the only ones.

The scouting reports are glowing, including this one from Kirk Luedeke of Bruins Draft Watch:

  • RNH is an explosive skater who has multiple gears and can attack defenses with his pure speed, or dangle with his excellent lateral mobility and superb, dare I say elite puckhandling skills. He's a sniper who can put the puck anywhere he wants and with the shots finding the back of the net at absolutely the right time, his stock will only go up. On the down side is his very average size and rail-thin frame, but like most youngsters, he'll make some progress as he continues an elite athlete training regimen to help get him where he needs to go in his physical development.

Kyle Woodlief of Redline Report was very impressed with the young talent after the Top Prospects Game:

  • Was the best player on the ice for either team.  Made a superb, short-ice backhand saucer pass to set up Bärtschi for 2nd goal.  Threw several big hits and generally stuck his nose into traffic all night despite stick-thin build.  Stepped in to protect Bärtschi against the much bigger Siemens when the latter was looking to intimidate and spoiling for a fight.  A puck hound who was absolutely relentless in pursuit.  Constantly dangerous every shift.  Physical and fearless.  Nimble on his skates.  Very smart with great vision and soft hands.  Moved the puck quickly and cut into open ice.  Battled for possession of space and the puck.  Showed a deceptive change of speed that baffled defenders all night.

One of the main concerns in regard to Nugent-Hopkins is his offensive performance at even strength. Although his PP ability will be welcomed when he makes the NHL grade, quality outscorers show themselves to be effective EV offensive forces in junior. Let's compare Taylor Hall's numbers a year ago (in the OHL) and Sam Gagner's during his draft year (also OHL) to RNH this season:

  • Hall at EVs: 57gp, 22-33-55
  • Hall PK: 57gp, 4-1-5
  • Hall PP: 57gp, 14-32-46

Hall posted 51.9% of his overall offense at even-strength, 43.3% on the PP.

  • Gagner at EVs: 53gp, 14-33-47
  • Gagner PK: 53gp, 1-0-1
  • Gagner PP: 53gp, 20-50-70

Gagner posted 39.8% of his overall offense at even-strength. 59.3% on the PP.

  • RNH at EVs:67gp, 17-27-44
  • RNH PK: 67gp, 0-0-0
  • RNH PP: 67gp, 11-47-58

RNH posted 43.1% of his overall offense at even-strength, 56.9% on the PP.

It looks like Nugent-Hopkins is a solid match for Gagner, and that jives with the scouting report. It also makes sense based on the fact that Hall is a superior prospect (I don't know anyone who would argue otherwise) and that this season's draft quality overall lacks a top end talent like Hall. Dean Millard at Coming Down the Pipe had an interesting item on RNH yesterday. It is here and Millard says:

  • 2 NHL GM's, who have a very good chance of ending up in the NHL draft lottery have said they would take the Red Deer Rebel first overall. This I have from a very good and credible scouting source.

I'm still in the Couturier court and firmly believe the Oilers choice is Adam Larsson at this time. However, I also remember Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor saying he started last draft year as a Hall fan, became a Seguin fan and ended the year in the Hall camp. MBS can change his mind, and it looks like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is doing everything he can to force his way to the top of the Oilers list.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#101 TigerUnderGlass
March 17 2011, 01:14AM
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@FastOil

1. You know serious lifters that can't get to 190 pounds?

2. If I remember right Zetterberg was not heavier. His puny frame was the primary reason he fell to the 6th round.

3. What could Rickithebear's comment possibly have to do with your position that RNH is too small to be drafted?

If you want to make that your argument you can do that, but it is a different argument altogether.

4. As for the discussion we have actually been having - I don't see how "I don't like the little guys we have now" argument stands up logically.

5. It is true that dominant smaller players are somewhat rare, but so are players that are good enough to get drafted #1 overall.

I want the best hockey player, not the best player over 195 pounds, especially when the player in question is 6 feet tall and should be able to get close to that eventually anyways.

My point isn't that I think he is the best pick because I have no idea who the best pick might be. My point is that we can't say he isn't the best pick simply because he doesn't weigh what you want him to weigh.

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#102 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 17 2011, 08:15AM
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FastOil wrote:

I guess nobody knows, but guys that are nearly 18 and weigh that much don't gain 35 pounds without "help". I have known many serious lifters and the natural ones don't gain that at 6'.

Zetterberg was heavier and Datsuk the same but shorter which means a bigger build.

He may be great but it's a big risk for an already small team. If he can't produce in the bigs the Oilers would be hooped. He won't be able to do anything else, like become a defensive specialist at his size. Can you have RNH followed by Gagner and hope to compete - unlikely in the playoffs when things tighten up and lanes disappear, which already causes RNH problems in the dub.

The little guys that become dominant are rare. You can find a few examples, but most small guys aren't great. We have drafted quite a few and no stand outs yet.

According to an ON article post lock out the average size of a top 30 scorer is 6'1" and 205 lbs. The numbers say that's the necessary size for most players to dominate.

Rickithebear in the "Do You See What I See" comments studied drafts and top players with low goals to assists are the likely busts, also against RNH. The studs score close to 50-50, elite 38-62.

Ya those were some interesting numbers by RTB. I just got into the RNH camp a few days ago, but those numbers deffinitly have me questioning that....However that is irrelavant to your earlier point.

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#103 positivebrontefan
March 17 2011, 11:37AM
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I haven't seen any of them play, I've just listened to all the comments from people that have watched, and over and over again I hear the same thing "this RNH kid is amazing".

Sounds like a winner, as far as weight... I am 5'10" and weighed 140 out of high schoolat age 17. By the time I turned 20 I was 185 with less than 10% body fat. I am now 36 years old and a P90X grad at 195 and about 12% body fat. (Great program by the way) I can't see how a kid at 6' tall and 170 at 17 can be any less than 190 at age 20. Get him eating right, (I'm sure he already is) and he'll put on the weight.

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#104 FastOil
March 17 2011, 04:25PM
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@OB1 - F.S.T.N.F RNH's numbers are directly related to his size - that's my point. With his skill he would be in Hall's class if he wasn't so small.

His low goals vs assists and more points on PP than evens suggests he plays perimeter, avoids traffic, which doesn't translate to the NHL well.

No one has mentioned face offs which weaker players tend to struggle at - I don't know where he stands.

The argument that size isn't important has no legs. Other than bringing up the 3-4 players in the league that actually are high producers year in and out, the most consistent, productive and dominant players are bigger. The average size of high scorers link proves it, looking at the current or any year's top 30 scorers proves it. Watching a hockey game to me proves it.

I think RNH is a great talent, and I think it's really risky to pick him when you already have the smallest forward group in the league.

@TigerUnderGlass

Really? 1. I clearly said they didn't gain 25-35 pounds. Point is most 6' athletes already weigh 190 and gain from there.

2. Looked it up.

3.RNH will be drafted. His production issues are directly related to his size - how could it not be the case? Does he use another player's body on the ice? Ovechkin's production is also related to his size.

4. 30th place team 2 years running, smallest forwards in the league. Seems pretty relevant and logical to me. Our best younger small forward (Gagner) only has good numbers (Corsi etc) with the big guy they traded, gets smoked with anyone else. He gets points, but more get scored against him = not a good thing. Our overall best light player is constantly injured.

5. Our discussion is about who the best player is, right? No one has presented any proof or reasoning that counters what I am saying - I have given stats etc that support my point of view.

Couturier and Strome are much bigger players which usually means a better NHL player, especially elite player. They also have better numbers. That makes RNH a riskier choice, especially for a small team.

It will be a miracle, for a guy that at nearly 18 weighs what most 6' guys weigh at 14, to gain 20-30 lbs. When you here about guys filling out their frame etc, it almost always refers to guys like Marincin and Pitlick who are 6'+, large framed who have big bodies that will put on that kind of weight. No one talks sbout Hall, Gagner, Skinner, etc gaining that kind of weight because it rarely happens, they are not big enough to begin with. Maybe 10-15 for RNH which leaves him in the 180 range.

Just saying it doesn't matter that he's tiny isn't enough. Show us why it doesn't matter. Your line of reasoning is what the Oilers used in drafts before and look at the trouble it has got the team in. Why does Renney desperately want a big centre (Oil Change)? Why are most of the other teams so much bigger than the Oilers, and so much better?

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#105 TigerUnderGlass
March 17 2011, 05:39PM
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I would love to meet all these 190 pound 17 year olds you know.

Hall went into his last season of junior at 176 and has already gained about 20 pounds. He will likely end up playing at 200-205. Is that almost 30 pounds?

I'm not sure what stats you have given other than to simply say "the Oiler's keep drafting little guys and they suck."

The best hockey player is what matters. The Red Wings are all the proof anybody needs of that. You don't need the biggest team, you need the best team.

Zetterberg 5’11 - 195 Datsyuk 5’11 - 194 Cleary 6’0 - 205 Holmstrom 6’0 - 198 Franzen 6’3 - 222 Filippula 6’0 - 193 Modano 6’3 - 212 Addelkader 6’1 - 212 Draper 5’10 - 188 Hudler 5’10 - 182 Helm 5’11 - 195 Bertuzzi 6'3 - 225

We had an answer for Bertuzzi and Franzen in our top six in Paajarvi and Penner, but our brilliant GM decided we didn't need Penner. What's this you say about him being desperate for size?

Interestingly Detroit's prized prospect Tatar comes in at 5'11 – 176. Ha ha, I guess nobody told those idiots in Detroit that a guy that small is sure to be a terrible hockey player.

We haven't been talking about who's the best, we've been talking about your belief that weighing too little automatically means you won't be an impact player and that the totality of your proof is saying that a guy like Gagner is a bust because at 21 he hasn't broken the PPG barrier.

I'm not going to talk about who IS the best pick because I have no idea. If it were up to me we would trade that pick because I don't like any of them, but I would have kept Penner too.

A guy who manages to get himself into the conversation for number one despite size issues has to be a consideration. People suggested Pat Kane was too small to go number one too.

Most of the other teams are better because they have better hockey players. IT's a simple as that.

I would address your point 4 a bit more, but you don't seem to quite understand which aspect of your argument is illogical and I don't have time to explain it right now.

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#106 positivebrontefan
March 18 2011, 10:23AM
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I agree tigerunderglass.

I know plenty of 200 pound 17 year olds, however they suffer from a little issue called obesity.

Rarely will a six foot tall, fit, 17 year old kid be over 180 unless they have hit the weights heavy and do little or no cardio whatsoever. There are a bunch in last years draft that defy this theory but generally speaking no...

If Coutourier is so good why does he keep falling down the draft projections?

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#107 Avsfan192
March 18 2011, 11:17AM
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Avalanche fan here. I COME IN PEACE!!!!

came here to get the general consensus of what the Oilers fans want the Oilers to do at the Draft.

I personally want the Avs to get Larsson but this is who the Avs fan want to draft with our pick,(General Consensus)

1.Adam Larsson 2.Gabriel Landeskog 3.Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 4.Sean Couturier

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#108 FastOil
March 18 2011, 04:05PM
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@PDBF

"Rarely will a six foot tall, fit, 17 year old kid be over 180"

Lots are. I was over 180, a lot of my friends were. Some weren't, and they weren't elite athletes either. The issue is RNH is way under 180. The whole concern about him is not his ability at the junior level but the fact he is unusully skinny for this game.

Even if he gains 30 lbs in the next few years and plays at 195 (I wish we could bet on that) we'll still likely have the smallest top line in the league, which is ok because it's working so far. They'll just need a few years to develop, right?

One thing to think about is getting the best player for Hall and Ebs. Hall is the cream, and his strength is attacking at speed. Having a bigger centre (because Hall isn't huge and Ebs small) who can play both ways and dominate at evens (to allow the others to focus on offense) and win face offs would be ideal. A better version of Horcoff. Someone has to mind the store so the line can outscore other good lines.

@TUG

It's not nice to insinuate that people are stupid, you might hurt my feelings. Especially when all you are doing is restating what I've said and generalizing.

The Red Wings were 10lbs heavier than the Oilers BEFORE we traded Penner - I calculated it.

If they are a small team what does that make us? Why are we the worst team in the league? Why do so many hockey people (including the current GM) think being too small is a problem for the team? By definition that means big players are USUALLY more effective NHL players.

Renney didn't trade trade Penner, Tambelowe did.

If you don't have any idea who the best prosect is, why are you debating with me about it on a blog about the topic?

I agree RNH is worthy of discussion, that's why I'm discussing him. Originally I said I would only draft him if he was really elite (like Crosby) because of his size - we are already the smallest team, and off you went.

RNH's numbers aren't even the best for a centre in this draft, so I think that it's fair to say he isn't a really elite player. I do think he'll be good, just not great at the NHL level, which is what we need, isn't it?

As for your suggestion I can't say that he won't be great because our other small guys aren't, I can't agree. Why wouldn't I use the current players (and their weaknesses which even management says are largely size related) as a guide to what we need to do differently? We are in last place after all.

How else do you find a solution for the current problems? Even the Oilers are saying they drafted too many small players and have changed that lately in the first round (excepting Eberle, who had a lot more on his resume in his draft year at the highest level of play than RNH does).

The reason the other teams have better players is they draft better players. The Oilers bet the farm that the "new NHL" would be all about skill, that size didn't matter, and they were wrong. They have changed that strategy now as a result, at least at the draft.

Ability being equal (we don't have any superstars - Hall may be but not yet), the larger player wins in the end in contact sport (why MMA has weight classes), and the other teams have the larger players - seems pretty straight forward to me.

You do take the best player, but RNH doesn't even have the best numbers in this draft, so I think taking a gamble on some unseen as of yet potential is too risky. It didn't pan out with Gagner, and now we are still looking for the #1 C he was drafted to be. Even his own team thinks this. Do you want to repeat the same mistake exactly? I don't.

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#110 TigerUnderGlass
March 20 2011, 01:16AM
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@FastOil

The Red Wings were 10lbs heavier than the Oilers BEFORE we traded Penner - I calculated it.

Did you also calculate the age difference or do you not believe that might have something to do with that?

If you don't have any idea who the best prosect is, why are you debating with me about it on a blog about the topic?

I'm not. I disagree with your belief that size is everything. You're not alone though. Central scouting had Turris ahead of Kane for the same reasons.

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