Ambulance Blues

Lowetide
May 08 2011 08:13AM

The discussion of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as the potential number one overall pick points out the flaws in evaluating junior age kids through math: we just don't have enough information.

In the last few weeks, I've had the opportunity to discuss this year's top prospects with many well known hockey people. ALL of them suggest Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a cerebral player with exceptional on-ice vision and quickness. Robin Brownlee's excellent ongoing series here at ON seems to be leading us to the conclusion that RNH is the man and most Oiler fans would be surprised at this point if he's not taken #1 overall. 

Among those who don't feel he should go first overall the argument (in general terms) comes down to:

  • RNH does not appear to have as "wide a range" of skills as someone like Sean Couturier.
  • The way he's scoring his points (mostly on PP) suggests he won't be an impact player at Evens.
  • His goals/assist rates are drastic enough for us to question his ability to be both a goal scorer and playmaker.

Cam Moon joined me for Nation Radio yesterday and I asked him several questions in regard to RNH. I've been very interested in his opinion because there's a disconnect between the known math and reality (an example of reality: Bob McKenzie says 6 of 10 NHL scouts have Nugent-Hopkins #1) which usually means we're missing part of the equation.

  • Moon on the quality of RNH's linemates: He played with Andrej Kudrna (29 goals) and John Persson (33 goals) during the regular season. Moon mentioned that he considered them excellent WHL calibre wingers. Moon also suggested that Nugent-Hopkins did indeed play with Byron Froese on the PP.
  • Moon on the powerplay time on ice: According to the RDR PBP man the kid was on the #1PP all season long and shouldn't be punished for results. While true, I think it's important to estimate his PP TOI in reasonable terms. There were only three NHL forwards with more than 5 minutes per game this past season (Crosby, Malkin, Brad Richards) but let's use that as the marker. 5 minutes per game on the PP. That would give RNH 345 minutes on the powerplay this past season, and put his 69gp, 11-47-58 numbers into 10.08 points-per-60 minutes. Even if we stretch the number to 8 minutes a night on the PP (Red Deer enjoyed 360 powerplays all year long, so 8 minutes a night would have RNH playing about 70% of the overall PP minutes--very unlikely) his points-per-60 number would be 6.30 points-per-60 on the powerplay.
  • Moon on the EV time on ice: Cam Moon--as the PBP guy--is well qualified to speak to this issue. After all, he calls the team's games all season long so would be the guy to answer the question. Moon told me yesterday that RNH plays on a "4line team" and there does seem to be some balance on the squad. 5 forwards scored more than 60 points during the regular year, 3 more between 27 and 40 points and two more regulars beyond that. So there's 10 forwards we can scope from the boxcars, and they had a lot of kids who played partial seasons thrown in there too. Some of those kids (like Josh Cowen) were clearly getting legit minutes based on the boxcars.
  • What's the EV/60 number: Well, the NHL leaders at even strength time on ice had 17+ minutes per game (there were three: Kovalchuk, Getzlaf, Perry) so let's use that as our outer marker. That puts Nugent-Hopkins estimate at 1173 minutes, so his even-strength-per-60 number would be 2.46/60 (69gp, 20-28-48).
  • What does it all mean? Well, if we use the same time-on-ice estimate for Taylor Hall (I believe Windsor rolled 4 lines too) we'd get the following: PP (57gp, 14-32-46) 9.68 which is in the range with RNH's 10.08. Hall at EV: (57gp, 22-33-55) assuming 17 minutes puts him at 3.41--well clear of RNH's 2.46/60.

What it really mean?

As much as we want math to help us project these kids, we don't have enough math to make a reasonable equation. We're left with the words of hockey men:

  • Ken Hitchcock: “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. But, if you’re close to either one of those two guys (in ability), that’s a pretty good thing.”
  • Craig Button: "He's unique. You can't trade for these guys and they don't show up in free agency."
  • Stu MacGregor: "I've watched the kid play at both ends and he seems to do a lot of things on the power play and 5-on-5, so it's not a real issue at this point. He had the same number of points that Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin did last year. He rose to the occasion enough to be the leading scorer with his team and one of the top five in the WHL. He didn't have a lot of guys to play with, but in the games I saw he was the guy who stirred the drink."

I'm very interested in Robin Brownlee's ongoing series and what Stu MacGregor told him. I believe MBS and the Oilers have decided RNH is the man, and although it would be nice to follow them to that conclusion we simply don't have the available information. We need time on ice, not just for RNH but for years previous in order to compare.

Without it, in the words of Neil Young, we're all just pissing in the wind.

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 Sox and Oil
May 08 2011, 01:29PM
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@buttermilk biscuits

All that LT is saying is that when a player feasts on the PP in Jr (or when a player puts up huge points with top quality linemates like gagner) most of the time that same player has trouble putting up points in the NHL. Rookies don't get 5 mins of PP time a night in the NHL. But players that can score at evens have much better success scoring at evens in the show.

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#52 matt36
May 08 2011, 01:42PM
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All of these anti RNH arguments are reminiscent of the Linus Omark skepticisim a couple years back.He's too small,he's another Rob Schremp etc..Turns out Omark is every bit as good as some Swedish posters were saying.

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#53 matt36
May 08 2011, 01:42PM
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All of these anti RNH arguments are reminiscent of the Linus Omark skepticisim a couple years back.He's too small,he's another Rob Schremp etc..Turns out Omark is every bit as good as some Swedish posters were saying.

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#54 Sox and Oil
May 08 2011, 01:45PM
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buttermilk biscuits wrote:

Yup..when he is so dominate in each of those games..that along with what all the scouts are saying, and other fans that have seen him play live..he looks and sounds like a solid first overall player..but we shall see.

It is not uncommen at all for a 17 or 18 year old to gain at least 20 pounds in 2-3 years..I gained 25 pounds in four months when I was 19..and was much faster..stronger after it...RNH just hasnt packed on that explosive muscle just yet...when he does he will be solid...probably is a very wiry young man.

If you expect the Nuge to pack on 25 pounds of muscle in 4 months forget calling Gary Roberts. I hope Ryan has Victor Conte's cell number...

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#55 jbh
May 08 2011, 02:02PM
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LT:Would it concern you that SC scored 25% of his total points against two of the worst teams in the Q?He feasted on Val-d'or and the horrible Rouyn-Noranda who gave up more than twice as many goals as they scored! Also I have not seen anyone breakdown SC points.So I did a little digging.He had 41 of 96 points on special teams.33 on the powerplay and 8 shorthanded.Based on the same 5 min/game PP time(58 games x 5 = 290 min.)SC would be 6.83/60 power play points.RNH actually had 59 pp points this year so he would be 10.26/60. So would it not seem reasonable for RNH to have a higher ratio of points on the powerplay since he spent more time on it and was more effective?

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#57 Quicksilver ballet
May 08 2011, 02:09PM
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There are concerns with every player being drafted. Last year we were concern about Taylor Hall leaving himself exposed to the odd sinus clearing bodycheck. Wasn't the case last year as far as most of us seen.

The entry draft is pretty much a crapshot when there isn't one or two kids seperating themselves from the pack.

If ever there was a year when you need to have your eggs distributed into 2 baskets, this is the year. The Oilers need to parlay that 19th into a second shot in the top 6'ish, hopefully one of those two kids is the answer to our 1st line center needs.

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#58 Wes Mantooth
May 08 2011, 02:17PM
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Again, I have to agree with Quick here. There really isn’t a true # 1 and our odds would be better having an extra pick for a SC or a Strome. Another reason why I felt the Oilers made a strong push for Boston’s pick last year. Really no different this year. The Oilers have built up enough assets to make this possible.

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#59 Sox and Oil
May 08 2011, 02:19PM
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matt36 wrote:

All of these anti RNH arguments are reminiscent of the Linus Omark skepticisim a couple years back.He's too small,he's another Rob Schremp etc..Turns out Omark is every bit as good as some Swedish posters were saying.

Taking a gamble on the 40th overall pick is par for the course. Taking a gamble on 1st overall is not a way to ensure best outcome.

jbh RNH numbers against Calgary (last place WHL) 6gp 4g 6a 10pts Against Swift Current (2nd last in WHL) 4gp 6g 5a 11pts

Good teams beat up bad teams. 21 points against the 2 worst teams in the dub. 20% of RNH points came against the bottom feeders. 32% of his goals.

I fail to see your points about SC.

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#60 pelhem grenville
May 08 2011, 02:21PM
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LT wrote..."I think it's fairly accurate to say that RNH and SC are similar offensive players. Is that fair?..."

...i think it's only fair to say if we get both in the draft and RNH turns out to be the next Joe Sakic and SC ends up being our very own Mario Lemieux...

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#61 The Other John
May 08 2011, 02:25PM
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LT

Listened with great interest to yesterday's show and the Moon discussion. Only comment I would make re rolling 4 lines is that I expect Cam's comments are comparative. In the Dub they gennerally play 2 lines huge minutes. Have a checking line and kid/thugs who get meager minutes therafter.

Cam definitely said RD rolls four lines but did he mean compared to other team or was the split something like: 35%,30%, 20% and 15%.

He also would not say #1 unit would play a full 2 minute PP but got clear impression he was thinking a high percentage nonetheless.

Your radio programs are great for input you get from some very informed people. Pretty sure Oil picking RNH and I certainly hope they are right

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#63 pelhem grenville
May 08 2011, 02:30PM
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LT...so what's the safe thing to do with the #1 pick this time ... trade it?

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#66 pelhem grenville
May 08 2011, 02:39PM
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Adam Larsson? The Dman that'll develop into something shortly after i start collecting old age pension?according to all things Gregor?

I knew it!!!! He's our "Next Pronger" !!!!

damn fine call...but what if we needed a 1C ?

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#67 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 08 2011, 02:40PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Yeah, lol. Steve Smith mentioned awhile back that Stu MacGregor has been both very good and very fortunate in his three drafts.

Luck may have run out for him (which Steve also said) with this rubik's cube of a draft.

Ya I've been thinking this will be the draft where we start to see if the hype MBS gets is deserved or not.

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#69 jbh
May 08 2011, 02:45PM
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More then fair.It's tough to compare the Q to the WHL.One thing that did stick out was 18 of 22 teams in the WHL had at least 315 powerplays for,while in the Q it was only 2 of 18 teams that had that many.Quite a difference.The OHL was 14 of 20. The other thing I noticed was that RNH was the powerplay points leader in all of Canada,and was the only 17 year old on a list full of 20 year old players. I will be happy with either player.I just hope the Oilers are taking a centre.

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#70 pelhem grenville
May 08 2011, 02:46PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Ya I've been thinking this will be the draft where we start to see if the hype MBS gets is deserved or not.

...alright Obbie!... so now we're going to start up with making an MBS pinata just in case he has an epic FAIL making this pick ...?

...gotta keep a little bit o' cruel in reserve just in case...

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#71 Quicksilver ballet
May 08 2011, 02:54PM
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A little busier than usual on a Sunday afternoon. Have all you bastages power raked your lawns yet, get out there and get it done, the game starts at 6 o'clock eh.

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#72 DangerMan
May 08 2011, 02:57PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Well he's safe. I'd pick Couturier, although in reality suspect that there's something about RNH (there has to be) that'll make me thankful they took him by this time next year.

Sometimes you have to have faith in the guys in charge, and MacGregor has certainly delivered the mail so far.

I remember a conversation with you, LT, about Taylor Hall this time last year, about how I was deathly afraid they wouldn't take him.

This year is a little different in a sense that every player seems to have a flaw that is in question.

I'm in the Couturier camp this year, but wouldn't be at all surprised if the Oilers took RNH. As a matter of fact I'd be stunned if they took Couturier even though I think it would be the right thing to do.

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#73 jbh
May 08 2011, 02:57PM
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@sox and oil...my point was you can use math to show whatever you want.I am not against SC at all.I just thought it was unfair that everyone was chopping up RNH numbers and SC seemed to be getting a free pass numbers wise. A lot tougher draft this year,could be a career defining moment or career ending moment for a lot of scouting teams/GM's,not just in Edmonton.

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#75 pelhem grenville
May 08 2011, 03:07PM
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Q...power raking's for you young bucks...

...long live condo living walking close to the North Saskatchewan Riviera...

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#76 pelhem grenville
May 08 2011, 03:16PM
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...while i do have exceptional four three speed in the forty on turf, it's doubtful that i go very high in the NFL draft...

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#77 jbh
May 08 2011, 03:30PM
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When I built my new home 18 months ago I landscaped the yard to be maintenance free.I traded mower and weedwhacker to my neighbor for 2 cases of beer.I will mow no more.

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#78 pelhem grenville
May 08 2011, 03:41PM
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LT...is there a rule in the draft that would prevent an off-the-wall-happening like ...can the Oilers trade the #1 pick to Boston for their #9 AND a player? namely Tyler Sequin...? so they can torture themselves over whether RNH is their guy or not...

...we then package some of our players (Hemsky Brule JFJ) and the #9 and go after the best pick available (maybe SC is still there @ 9... does that work at all or is that tootoo (not Jordin) out there?

@jbh ...years ago my buddy next door took the top six inches off his front yard and put in washed rock and called it his stonelawn...now that was maintenance free!

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#79 jbh
May 08 2011, 03:46PM
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@pelehem..I like his style!!We used a combo of rock,bark and shrubs.When I feel the need for the smell of fresh cut grass I just book an earlier tee time.

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#82 buttermilk buscuits
May 08 2011, 03:56PM
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How bout the Oilers draft RNH first, trade Gagner and LAs pick for 4th, then draft Strome.. With both RNH and Strome the Oilers debth down the middle should be solidified for years to come..if Strome isnt available then draft Couturier..or Huberdeau..

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#83 pelhem grenville
May 08 2011, 04:33PM
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Lowetide wrote:

I've read this a few places, but can't really understand why Boston would deal Seguin. He'd be the best player in this draft, so dealing him would seem to be a backwards step.

...How so if RNH is touted all over the Universe as THEE Number One!...Sequin was never #1 (like you need me to tell you that ) and i'm guessing here but with Marc Savard out and out they really didn't use Sequin much regular season-wise and only because Bergeron is concussed will he draw in in the playoffs ...it's not a carrot dangle to Boston at all?... your point is well taken,jus sayin'.

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#84 pelhem grenville
May 08 2011, 04:36PM
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...Dave ...~y'mean like Gretsky & Kurry? ~

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#85 pelhem grenville
May 08 2011, 04:49PM
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@buttermilk buscuits

...i dunno buscuits but i'm thinking it's gonna take a ton more than #19 pick and our 2 maybe 3C to get a fourth overall...throw in Hemsky, our GM... and his son... maybe that get us 4th ...

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#86 Brokenlathe
May 08 2011, 04:50PM
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Who is Gretsky? Never heard of him was he in Star Wars or something???

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#87 Oilfan00
May 08 2011, 04:57PM
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buttermilk buscuits wrote:

How bout the Oilers draft RNH first, trade Gagner and LAs pick for 4th, then draft Strome.. With both RNH and Strome the Oilers debth down the middle should be solidified for years to come..if Strome isnt available then draft Couturier..or Huberdeau..

I think this would be the best thing for the Oilers, I think even if McNeil is there at LAs pick you take him, get some depth at center and worry about drafting D next year (Very strong draft with lots od D prospects).

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#88 Team Couturier
May 08 2011, 06:55PM
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Is Larsson the safe pick though, really? He's a guaranteed Joni Pitkanen, is that really so great? And he's already had a groin injury in his young career, is that safe? I'm thinking that this draft will go down as either one of the best of all times, with all these 106 pt players in the top 5, or extremely mediocre, if the scouts are correct, because there is very little separation in the top 5. All have 106 pts or equivalent (Same as Taylor Hall), although most of those points seem to be assists, except with Couturier. If you ask me, the safe pick is Couturier, as he put up those points 2 years in a row. None of the other kids did that. I'd take Couturier.

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#89 Quicksilver ballet
May 08 2011, 07:23PM
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There's not much difference between Victor Hedman and Adam Larsson. I say we sit tight and take a run at Hedman after the Lightning try and hold onto their top end talent Lecavalier,St.Louis,Malone,Stamkos etc. The Lightning could have significant cap issues by this time next year. To be able to grab a Victor Hedman 5 yrs into his career could be great timing.Maybe he blossoms in an Oiler jersey.

Didn't they say 4 yrs ago Hedman was going to be better or every bit as good as Lidstrom as well?

Screw Larsson, grab centers and see what can be done on the Weber,Yandle,Bogosian,Gudbranson or other more NHL ready defenceman front.

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#90 HOFFFF
May 08 2011, 07:26PM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

...Dave ...~y'mean like Gretsky & Kurry? ~

Welcome to Edmonton!

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#91 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 08 2011, 07:39PM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

...alright Obbie!... so now we're going to start up with making an MBS pinata just in case he has an epic FAIL making this pick ...?

...gotta keep a little bit o' cruel in reserve just in case...

I just feel he's had relatively easy picks to make (early rounds anyways) so far.... this year looks like a really, really tough call.

I could see RNH putting up Hemsky type numbers, but I could just as easily see him being a complete bust from what we've read from Brownlee so far, it seems like MBS thinks RNH is the homerun of the draft, if he's a bust and theirs 2 or 3 other triples picked in the top 5 then thats a big X against MBS.

Their aren't many busts at number one anymore, if you're the last guy to find one, it doesn't look good on the resume.

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#92 Jaggedstream
May 08 2011, 08:50PM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

...does anyone honestly think that anything that RNH does/did in junior will translate to the NHL anytime soon if he actually plays in the NHL after being taken #1 ?

I'm thinking that his size, compared to the veritable behemoth that is Couturier the scouting staff is tugging pretty good on their hair leading up to the pick...specifically can Renney and the rest of the Oiler mates light a fire under Couturiers' a$$ to really convince him that if he's going to be THE ONE C on this team he needs to step up to the next level and produce, perform & proliferate?

if size doesn't matter at all ...never mind

forget i even brought it up

forgotten ...

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#93 David Staples
May 08 2011, 09:58PM
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Why do I think RNH played less than Froese at evens?

I didn't time it, but I'm certain that's what we saw vs the Oil Kings.

I see no way RNH played more than 15 min per night at evens, and he's likely down around 14 mins.

On the power play, though, he might well have played 60 to 70 per cent of the time. He was on the point, didn't need to skate so much, and stayed out long.

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#94 Sean
May 08 2011, 10:02PM
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As a diehard fan of the OIL I would be disappointed if we didnt take the best player available and at this point that seems to be RNH.If they took Couturies first I and many other fans would question why they took the guy that slipped from 1st to 5th or 6th.I fancy myself as a knowlegable hockey fan but I sure as hell dont get paid to evaluate future N.H.L pros.Im not saying RNH is the next Joe Sakic or Stevie Y but those guys were not a heck of alot bigger at 17 or 18 years old.We sure need help on the backend and I hope it comes soon.One defenceman i would love to see the Oil make a trade for is Ryan Ellis from the Preds but that would raise some feathers cause he is not 7feet tall lol.Anyhow I hope it all works out.Go Preds or whoever is playing the Canucks.

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#95 @NateInVegas
May 08 2011, 10:05PM
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I'm a Seguin guy but think RNH will be a better player.

The thought of RNH feeding Seguin one timers would have fixed the Oilers PP quick, oh well.

Nugent-Hopkins is the best player in the draft but taking him also creates a ton of work for Tambellini.

- I have zero faith in his ability to move #19 into the top 10.

- Are they prepared to trade Gagner this year or sooner?

- Is Tambellini's job secure enough to take Nugent-Hopkins and keep him in WHL another year?

I want Nugent-Hopkins but Adam Larsson is the safe pick for Edmonton's GM to make.

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#96 Archaeologuy
May 08 2011, 10:34PM
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@@NateInVegas

1) I share your same lack of faith about trading up 2) I sincerely doubt they are ready to trade away Gagner, not until they have better options 3) Somehow they let Tambi keep is job despite making the team worse in every way, so you have to think that hes sticking around. I mean, its nice that they appear to have a plan now, but when he was hired Im sure the goal wasnt to ice the worst team in the league. He just fell into the chance to rebuild the organization out of pure incompetency. Its as if Mr Bean is running the Oilers.

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#97 speeds
May 08 2011, 10:47PM
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@NateInVegas wrote:

I'm a Seguin guy but think RNH will be a better player.

The thought of RNH feeding Seguin one timers would have fixed the Oilers PP quick, oh well.

Nugent-Hopkins is the best player in the draft but taking him also creates a ton of work for Tambellini.

- I have zero faith in his ability to move #19 into the top 10.

- Are they prepared to trade Gagner this year or sooner?

- Is Tambellini's job secure enough to take Nugent-Hopkins and keep him in WHL another year?

I want Nugent-Hopkins but Adam Larsson is the safe pick for Edmonton's GM to make.

Safer in what way? On-ice? PR fallout?

From a PR standpoint, I would suggest that RNH is a far "safer" pick than anyone else.

(1) He's seemingly ranked the highest, so if he doesn't turn out as hoped they can always say "We weren't the only ones who had him ranked so high."

(2) He's local, so fans already have a bit of an affinity for him and it seems like the average Oilers fan is pulling for RNH at this point, from what I read.

(3) If you take someone else, and he turns out to be the best player, great. If you take someone else, and the guy 200 km down the road turns into the best player, you wear more egg on your face than if you take RNH and Couturier, or Larsson, or Landeskog, etc, turn out to be the best player. IMO.

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#98 J-Dogg
May 08 2011, 10:53PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

There's not much difference between Victor Hedman and Adam Larsson. I say we sit tight and take a run at Hedman after the Lightning try and hold onto their top end talent Lecavalier,St.Louis,Malone,Stamkos etc. The Lightning could have significant cap issues by this time next year. To be able to grab a Victor Hedman 5 yrs into his career could be great timing.Maybe he blossoms in an Oiler jersey.

Didn't they say 4 yrs ago Hedman was going to be better or every bit as good as Lidstrom as well?

Screw Larsson, grab centers and see what can be done on the Weber,Yandle,Bogosian,Gudbranson or other more NHL ready defenceman front.

QFT

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#99 Dominoiler
May 09 2011, 01:40AM
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I would like echo staples.. I read last month that Nuge was getting 2nd line minutes this season, therefore, the even per 60 number would be better than LT estimated.. which brings RNH numbers closer to the Hall baseline..

Havent been a nuge supporter thus far (pushing Larsson) but am starting to accept the conclusions of LT et al.. with that said, NFW Nuge plays in the NHL at the beginning of next season.. back to juniors, son..

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#100 pelhem grenville
May 09 2011, 04:27AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

You have to be logged in to give props. Go down to the bottom of the page and login. Then reload the page after you are logged in. Then notice all the "+1" boxes in the upper right corner of every comment that you can click on to give props.

one million thankyous ~S~K~

so now can you help me with how one makes italics and bold type?

and y'know how one posts a comment & there are times one wants to have citizens be able to click on a word like READ OR LOOK HERE and it's sort of interactively underlined? they click on it and it's a picture of say ...Wanye being fed peeled grapes by a gaggle of young naked women?

if y'can't help me out with those things i am in your debt for this valuable prop knowledge

again thankyou...

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