When it comes to making the first overall pick at the NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota June 24-25, Edmonton Oilers chief scout Stu MacGregor said last week that he has his guy. I believe MacGregor’s guy is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Red Deer Rebels.

I don’t know that to be the case because, in a series titled "From The Horse’s Mouth," MacGregor did not come out and say the Oilers will follow up last June’s selection of Taylor Hall by picking Nugent-Hopkins. I haven’t polled each and every member of MacGregor’s scouting staff and been told he’s the guy.

Likewise, neither GM Steve Tambellini nor president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe has slipped me a piece of paper with the name "Nugent-Hopkins" on it. Still, my gut and my ears spell tell me it’s the skilled kid who plays just an hour or so down the road, right here in Oil Country.

With Red Deer eliminated from the WHL playoffs since being beaten by Medicine Hat, Nugent-Hopkins won’t have the opportunity to further separate himself from the rest of the pack the way Hall did with the Windsor Spitfires a year ago, when he left Tyler Seguin in the dust. Still, what I read between the lines is there’s no need. He’s the guy.

"With the first pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oilers are proud to select, from the Red Deer Rebels, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins . . ."


Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

North American Skater

Red Deer, WHL

Final Rank: 1 Midterm Rank: 3

Position: Center Shoots: Left

Height: 6′ 0" Weight: 164

Born: April 12, 1993 Hometown: Burnaby, BC

Born in: Burnaby, BC, CAN

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."

— In 2010-11, Nugent-Hopkins led the WHL in assists (75), finished fourth overall in points (106) and was named an Eastern Conference First-Team All-Star after helping the Red Deer Rebels to a first place finish in the Central Division.

— He served as an assistant captain with Canada’s Under-18 team at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial in the Czech Republic, where he won gold and scored the game-winning goal, beating the U.S. 1-0.


Scouting Report: "He’s got high-end skills, vision and hockey sense."

Projection: "A first-line centre."

Best Case Scenario: "Very good first-line centre."

Concerns: "I don’t think it’s size. It’s physical strength."

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Clyde Frog

    Math as a data analysis tool is fun. You can draw statistical evidence to support your conclusions and say there you have it.

    For this to be a realistic measurement someone actually has to figure out a proper sample size and actually do the calculations then correlate them to the real world.

    Pulling random people from the “failed” column and matching them against the “win” column then drawing a broad assumption from there is a joke. The test statistic is so biased you couldn’t get it through a grade 7 stats class…

    For this to be made real, someone with a lot more free time on their hands would have to sit down and actually model the league, figure out the standard deviation, error and the rest before you can prove you have reality behind your hypothesis.

    Right now it appears you have a bunch of people cherry picking players, going Goals divided by assists and standing up saying this is an accurate method of predicting performance!

    Post the math, the descriptive statistics and a data group encompassing several years and I will be a lot happier agreeing with the mathletes and ignoring those paid to accurately predict these kids futures.

    Oh and Madjam… LOL, you truly are an internet gem!

    • Wax Man Riley

      RCM: is a way of identifying trends in industry to avoid the repetative failures that occur. this pump fails 60% of the time inn situation X. smart industry people avoid the situation and reduce risk of failure. Statitions want to see it 100 more time so they can say it will happen 62% of the time rather than 60%. Academic work at its best.

      • Clyde Frog

        Sorry buddy,

        When you are dealing with a simple simple simple ratio of G/A and extrapolating from there with a sample of under 20 players from a population of over 1000… Yeah, that is in no way Academic work at its best.

        Not to mention the observation bias being demonstrated in choosing proper candidates for your 20, seriously.

        The ratio is too simple; you have no limits; the sample size was chosen to prove a point, not take any real trending; you cant state the error about the mean; nor the StDev; nor can you confidently state the proper sample size to get your confidence over 90%.

        This is nothing short of inventing stats and saying well I can do it because it should be right…

  • Clyde Frog


    Except there are a lot of significant differences between Prince and RNH:

    RNH is a center (which we desperately need).
    Prince is a left wing.

    RNH is #1 on CSS and ISS (as well as Bob Mac).
    Prince is #26 on CSS, and not in the top 30 for ISS.

    RNH has had one less year of CHL play and in his first year put up 65 points in 67 games (WHL rookie of the year).
    Prince put up 12 points in 63 games his first year and 30 points in 65 games his second year.

    RNH according to Stu is the guy “stirring the drink” in Red Deer (the next highest Rebel had 82 points).
    Prince played on a line with the OHL scoring champ (Toffoli: 57 goals and 108 points) and his other line-mate, Martindale, had 83 points.

    RNH, while subpar in the second round of the playoffs, still put up 11 points in 9 games.
    Prince had only 1 goal and was -6 in 3 games in the playoffs as his team was swept in the first round.

    Those are some mathematical “facts” for you.

    • Steve: But martindale and toffoli had major point jumps when Prince played with them.

      RNH played with kudrna and persson at EV and Kudrna made no improvement year to year while playing with RNH. TSK TSK.

      Froese did bury 24 of RNH passes on the PP. good thing he had a power play finnisher to pad his PP numbers.

      When RNH goes to the NHL he will have a realistic drop in that area. 24G on the PP. the top PP goal scorers avg 14 goals. pp numbers take a huge hit junior to NHL. a player who is pp driven has a major production hit. an EV scorer will produce similiar to his numbers. Any pp points are a bonus.

      As for the Medicine hat thing is your telling me is unlike Hall who was targeted and still produced. RNH was not able to take the game over. good to Know. RNH could be easily shut down in junior. what happens when he plays teh best. Prince at #31 is looking more his equal 30 picks later.

      • If a team wanted to iso RNH with a player and shadow him then feel free then that leaves Hall or Eberle open, medicine hat did that because RNH was the sole reason they were there in the first place and no one else was that good, aka Red Deer was a good team BECAUSE of Nugent-Hopkins.

        I am also going to assume that because you won’t answer my question that your math is flawed. Just because a guy has most of his points from goals doesnt make him better I would take a guy putting up 50 points with 10 goals then Ryan Jones this year with 17 and whatever.


      • Mantastic

        i hope you understand that that windsor spitfires team was absolutely stacked… they had tons of depth and just didn’t have to focus on 1 player running the show. RNH isn’t a powerfoward so he wouldn’t be able to take over games nor did he have the support.

  • Mantastic

    I can’t understand the logic of waiting around to rebuild for 3 to 4 more years….sorry that should be wont. I understand that we are only a year and a half into what is supposed to be a five year rebuild. That rebuild has essentially been taking the better part of the last 5 years save one year of playoff magic, not to mention the fact before we could compete salary wise we were no more then mediocre at best.

    I can’t argue with what Arch say’s but, I empathies and agree more with what Quick has to say. I don’t get the argument that why trade proven players for pick’s? Then the argument we trade a proven player but the pick won’t play for 2 or 3 years, but then you argue that the rebuild is only into its first years and we shouldn’t expect anything for 3 or 4 years, so why not trade for picks, the time line will still be consistent with the rebuild and by the time it’s over all players should be ready, given the 3 to 4 year window. Plus, and I’ve said it before that I don’t have any issue with Gagner. I just don’t see him, Hemsky or Cogliano fitting in the future of this team, so why not get that pick for him.

    Having said that why would we go after a d-man who is a whiner/trouble and a healthy scratch for the better part of last year? That seems to be a waste of a trade or a pick if you ask me.

    I really like what everyone is saying, great topic, great opinions, yes that includes even you madjam. Peace out