Size Up The Middle: Can Nugent-Hopkins, Gagner Co-Exist?

Jonathan Willis
April 20 2012 01:00PM

The Edmonton Oilers are blessed with two young centres who are bona fide NHL players in the here and now, and who are only likely to get better with the passing of time. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the first overall pick in 2011, and Sam Gagner, the sixth overall pick in 2007, are both excellent NHL talents and both fit nicely into the age group of the young forward corps the Oilers have assembled.

Unfortunately, neither stands 6’4” and weighs north of 200 pounds. Do the Oilers need to dump one of the two in exchange for an upgrade in size down the middle?

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Jason Gregor
April 20 2012 11:08AM

Eric Johnson was the last D-man taken first overall. The Blues selected him ahead of Jordan Staal, Jonathon Toews and Nick Backstrom in 2006. Pretty much every draft rankings had Johnson rated #1 heading into the draft, so it wasn't a shock that the Blues took him, but historically taking a D-men that high won't guarantee you the best player or even the best defenceman in the draft.

Looking at the past ten draft classes, with at least three completed NHL seasons, it is pretty clear that the Oilers would be better served to take the best forward, instead of the best defencemen in the upcoming draft.

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April 20 2012 09:59AM

As expected by everyone, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been nominated as one of the three finalists for the 2011-12 Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year in the NHL.

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Will Nail Yakupov’s Reckless Style Lead To Injury In The NHL?

Jonathan Willis
April 20 2012 09:06AM

The Edmonton Oilers are familiar with the pros and cons of drafting a star all-ahead-full style winger with the first overall pick. A fear that Taylor Hall’s aggressive playing style could lead to injury was one of the primary negatives to choosing him first overall over Tyler Seguin at the 2010 Draft. Two years into his professional career, that talented winger has already suffered concussion and shoulder problems – the latter stemming all the way back to his time in junior.

Is the same concern valid for Nail Yakupov?

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From Russia, With Love?

April 19 2012 05:11PM

Anatoli Semenov is one of the few Russians drafted by the Edmonton Oilers who also had an NHL career of note. The Oilers have avoided the Motherland like the Moscow Plague and Riot of 1771. Are they really going to change their ways and grab the Russian Nail?

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