Nuge Tops All Charts!

Lowetide
May 21 2011 07:10AM

It's been a long time since a WHL kid topped the draft rankings across the board. With the release of Redline Report's latest top 10, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins joins some select company.
 

The last time a WHL player went #1 overall, Chris Phillips was heading to Ottawa (1996). The last time a forward from the dub--an offensive dynamo--went at the top of the draft Mike Modano (1988) was moving from the PA Raiders to the North Stars of Minnesota. The last time a Canadian born kid playing in the WHL was selected number one overall and had a career as a forward, Wendel Clark was plucked by the Maple Leafs (1985). Even that has an asterisk, Clark played defense with the Saskatoon Blades in junior. The last time a bona fide WHL trained Canadian forward was taken #1 overall, Doug Wickenheiser (1980) was being announced as the top pick (to an angry group of fans) for the Montreal Canadiens.

The kid is chasing history

TOP OF THE CHARTS

As of the Redline release of their new top 10 (courtesy USA Today) Nugent-Hopkins is now number one on Bob McKenzie's list (tsn), Redline's list and the ISS list. Robin Brownlee's recent articles that featured Stu MacGregor suggest the Oilers organization is also leaning this way.

WHAT MAKES HIM SO GOOD?

NHL Central Scouting’s B.J. MacDonald
“(Nugent-Hopkins) has very good puck-handling capabilities. His on-ice awareness is very good. He's one of those guys that knows where everyone is and where they should be and where the puck should go . . . He can dish both right or left, either on his backhand or forehand with that kind of vision. But not just the vision, but the fact he can lay that puck between the skate boot and the skate blade -- that's hard to find.”

NHL Central Scouting’s Peter Sullivan
“A couple of people high up -- and not naming names -- said Hopkins has the best vision since No. 99 (Wayne Gretzky). That's the highest compliment you can get. But the other thing is the way he competes. He never takes a night off and he works as hard in his own end as he does in the offensive zone and that takes a special player with a special set of skills to do that.”
 
NHL.com has a great view on the kid here. My favorite quote comes from the kid himself: "Well, I've really been working on by defensive game this year. I mean, I've always been more of an offensive-minded guy, and kind of let the defense come second, but I know that it's a very important part of the game and I'm really trying to work on it this year. Because I'm a center, so I've got to stay low, support for my (defensemen) and just trying to stay on the defensive side of my man all the time."

Draft him, send him back to junior where he can help the Rebels try to win the WHL championship and maybe the Memorial Cup. Add in a WJ appearance and a season devoted to adding strength. That's the ticket and as of today it's unanimous.
 
 
Nation Radio is back on today at noon (Team 1260). You can email questions (excellent questions and comments btw) to nationradio@theteam1260.com and we'll read as many as we can. Guests:
  • Dustin Nielson from Team 1260's morning show. He's a draft nerd! We'll ask him about which sources he values most and get his take on the top of the draft.
  • Matt Bugg from dobber hockey. Another draft service that is getting ready for their final list and we'll talk to Matt about some of those hidden gems.
  • Kirk Luedeke from Bruins Draft Watch. Kirk has been hitting it out of the park recently, we'll discuss a few items including goalies and the top 8 picks in this year's group.
  • Matt Fenwick, an entertaining fellow and a legend for his work at Battle of Alberta.

We may also have a few surprises in store, hope you send your thoughts along and tune in at noon. Have a great long weekend!

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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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#51 CanaDave
May 21 2011, 09:56PM
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I'll admit that my drafting of Larsson over RNH does depend a good deal on Gagner both getting a chance to play #1 minutes and succeeding at them next year, which, from all that I've read here certainly isn't the most popular opinion. If the Oilers do draft RNH, I'm going to be perfectly happy with that and hope like heck he succeeds.

My fear is that he either gets Brule'd, with way too many expectations on him as an 18-19 year old, gets injured or doesn't produce right away and winds up 5 years into his career still trying to find his way to make an impact in the NHL, or that he gets Gagner'd and have the fans turn on him by year 3 if he's not playing to the super high level that will be expected of him and have people wanting to trade him and our 10-12th overall pick to move up and draft 2015's RNH who will "definitely" be the missing piece of the puzzle.

That said, the fact that Larsson isn't a knuckle-dragger and probably won't deliver 3 big hits every shift he's on the ice would probably lead to Oiler fans railroading him out of town even faster, while happily accepting a rebuild that will taken longer than it takes to buildbuild SuperRexall Centerplace (my nomination for the name of the new arena ;) )

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#52 gongshow
May 21 2011, 10:24PM
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Finally, consensus... at least among the folks who get paid to do this. I've posed this question before - but had no takers, so here goes again. Can you make a case for going off the board or does sticking with the 'wisdom of the crowds' (ie: picking according to projected draft position) make for better odds... a few teams might be kicking themselves for passing over Fowler last year. Further to that when was the last time a consensus # 1 was skipped over? How did they turn out?

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#53 Oilfan00
May 21 2011, 11:17PM
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gongshow wrote:

Finally, consensus... at least among the folks who get paid to do this. I've posed this question before - but had no takers, so here goes again. Can you make a case for going off the board or does sticking with the 'wisdom of the crowds' (ie: picking according to projected draft position) make for better odds... a few teams might be kicking themselves for passing over Fowler last year. Further to that when was the last time a consensus # 1 was skipped over? How did they turn out?

I doubt that the consensus #1 was ever skipped over just because he is consensus number 1 for a reason, but like last year Seguin was rated #1 at the end on some scouting reports but the Oilers still went with Hall.

And I am sure alot of teams will be kicking themselves over Fowler he was ranked #3 I believe, I think what happens is some teams that pick from 7 and on dont expect some guys so they dont prep for them and have their mind set on a guy thats going to be there around there pick and then its hard to not pick that guy (same goes for trading a player soon after drafting him) so I think thats what happened with Fowler, yet sometimes teams can't believe the guy dropped and jumped all over him.

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#54 Butters
May 21 2011, 11:23PM
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Oilfan00 wrote:

I doubt that the consensus #1 was ever skipped over just because he is consensus number 1 for a reason, but like last year Seguin was rated #1 at the end on some scouting reports but the Oilers still went with Hall.

And I am sure alot of teams will be kicking themselves over Fowler he was ranked #3 I believe, I think what happens is some teams that pick from 7 and on dont expect some guys so they dont prep for them and have their mind set on a guy thats going to be there around there pick and then its hard to not pick that guy (same goes for trading a player soon after drafting him) so I think thats what happened with Fowler, yet sometimes teams can't believe the guy dropped and jumped all over him.

Same thing happened with Magnus P. He was available at 10 and the Oilers tripped over themselves to get to the podium to pick him.

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#55 Oilfan00
May 21 2011, 11:26PM
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DangerMan wrote:

He'll be the only Dman in that area that the Oilers might have some interest in. Connor Murphy could be a wildcard. Brodin will likely be there too. I think Oleksiak will be gone by that point.

I think Klefbom will be gone by then, Brodin wouldn't be bad, it wouldn't suprise me if the Oilers wait out for a guy to drop say like a Oleksiak or Siemens they may even take a forward like McNeil if he is still there and then take a D at #31 maybe Musil if he drops. I wouldnt mind them taking Boone Jenner at #19 either.

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#56 pelhem grenville
May 22 2011, 04:34AM
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common sense wrote:

We already have a poor man's P.Kane aka Gagner Jr.

common sense writes:"...We already have a poor man's P.Kane aka Gagner Jr..."

...well... i don't believe for one minute that 89 is a poor mans' Patrick Kane...for the most part i think a then just 18 year old Gagner suffered through a hopeless situation where he was brought in to play in this mans'league far too early and his very personality has been traumatized, no thanks to all his critics... as soon as he stopped potting goals for highlite reels that was it for them.... Soon after, even when he had 40 points each season alotta you smuckers turned on him and wanna run him out of town on a trade rail...What Patrick Kane was able to do was only because he has "it" like any bona fide number one pick should. AND he took to assaulting cabbies for change late at night.(kidding) Nugent-Hopkins should stay in junior one more year IMO...if only to prevent him from being treated so badly by the "candy now" crowd! I'm old but i don't need to see a repeat of the Sam Gagner treatment in the name of a quicker rebuild ...this team is in no rush (obviously when Kevin sez it's gonna be 4-6years )to go all gaga over the new face in camp, throw him onto the fry pan and wait for him to "not handle" the pressure well enough for all our liking,that's just crap and it can't happen again... IMO the rebuild simply needs to happen for one more year without him (he was just 17 a month ago)...there are other players who will be brought up this year to be the tried and tested pieces this team needs in it's future...Harski,Lander,Petry, maybe VV...AND our RNH jewel can do exactly as he needs to do as the future of this franchise ...grow up! period

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#57 BadSeed
May 22 2011, 07:27AM
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CanaDave wrote:

I'll admit that my drafting of Larsson over RNH does depend a good deal on Gagner both getting a chance to play #1 minutes and succeeding at them next year, which, from all that I've read here certainly isn't the most popular opinion. If the Oilers do draft RNH, I'm going to be perfectly happy with that and hope like heck he succeeds.

My fear is that he either gets Brule'd, with way too many expectations on him as an 18-19 year old, gets injured or doesn't produce right away and winds up 5 years into his career still trying to find his way to make an impact in the NHL, or that he gets Gagner'd and have the fans turn on him by year 3 if he's not playing to the super high level that will be expected of him and have people wanting to trade him and our 10-12th overall pick to move up and draft 2015's RNH who will "definitely" be the missing piece of the puzzle.

That said, the fact that Larsson isn't a knuckle-dragger and probably won't deliver 3 big hits every shift he's on the ice would probably lead to Oiler fans railroading him out of town even faster, while happily accepting a rebuild that will taken longer than it takes to buildbuild SuperRexall Centerplace (my nomination for the name of the new arena ;) )

I'm with you in picking Larsson. If we're waiting at least one year before we see RNH here, Larsson will be developing nicely. I'd love to see a great defenceman along the lines of Lidstrom develop here, we've never had that guy.

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#58 madjam
May 22 2011, 07:41AM
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Madjam follies ? Here is a trade that has Oilers written all over it , and one that might make Larsson our first pick to boot . Oilers trade Smid to Chicago and take on Hjalmarssons contact that Hawks would like to dump . Maybe we'll even find a way to give them Fraser back .

Clarifying: Hall was my choice last season even though i would have been equally as pleased with going with Gudblanson . However tempting it was , and the many times i stated last season before the draft - you do not pass up a resume like Hall had going into the draft ! This season i don't see a Hall type sensation and thus this is a good time to work on d-fence with our choices , seeing as Oilers don't seem to care if they draft a player that is NHL ready or not ! At least with Larsson there is an excellent chance he could play for us next season , as well as Hjalmarsson .

Mind you , we could go into next season with no new faces and pass that scenario onto fans and claim we are going to be competitive without adding anyone . Now that is a scenario i certainly hope they are not going to follow again this year , and all too familiar ,.

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#59 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
May 22 2011, 08:02AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

No, you're probably just used to me taking a position opposite of yours. Sometimes I like to throw the curve-ball and actually agree with somebody every once in a while.

even a day later, i am still struggling to come to terms with this comment of yours...

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#60 pelhem grenville
May 22 2011, 10:46AM
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@BadSeed

"...I'd love to see a great defenceman along the lines of Lidstrom develop here, we've never had that guy..."

Paul Coffey

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#61 dawgbone
May 24 2011, 09:06AM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

"...I'd love to see a great defenceman along the lines of Lidstrom develop here, we've never had that guy..."

Paul Coffey

Paul Coffey is no Lidstrom.

Coffey was a great offensive player, Lidstrom is just a great player.

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