If you don’t see this picture in three weeks then I’d be very surprised, and you should be disappointed. I’ve said since March the Oilers should draft Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and after speaking with many scouts the past month on my show and via text, there is no doubt in my mind he is they guy they should, and will, call on June 24th.

I don’t want to rehash why I think they should use their first pick on a centre over a D-man, but if you want to know read here, meanwhile I want to focus on why they must take Nugent-Hopkins. It is becoming clearer by the day that he is the most talented player in the draft. His ability to see plays that others can’t is what separates him from the rest of this year’s draft class.

If you are worried about his alleged lack of size chew on this for a second. Oil Kings forward Micheal St. Croix finished the WHL season at 175 pounds, on Wednesday he weighed 185 at the combine. Nugent-Hopkins finished his campaign at 168 and earlier this week he was already at 177.

Oilers head amateur scout, Stu MacGregor explained to me why this is not a surprise.

"It is not unusual for the young guys to gain weight quickly after the season, because they take a little rest, get home to mom and eating home cooked meals more regularly. They do really focus on eating better and they start to look at developing physically and getting into their fitness programs."

How many of you put on some pounds when you went from being single to dating a girl who was a good cook? Of course you probably gorged yourself and didn’t work out feverishly like these draft-eligible kids, so it isn’t hard to see why Nugent-Hopkins will likely end up being a 190 pound NHLer in his second season.


Jonathon Huberdeau had a great playoffs, 16-14-30 in 19 games, including tallying 3-3-6 in four Memorial Cup games while leading his Saint John Sea Dogs to the championship. Some are wondering if his playoffs have put him in the same category as Nugent-Hopkins. It is a good question, but I don’t think he is there yet.

In my conversation with MacGregor I asked him to compare the similarities and differences between the two.

"The similarities are certainly their hockey sense, skills and vision of the ice. The difference is that Ryan has that quickness and slipperiness that defenseman seem to fear. Jonathon is starting to develop that same aspect but he isn’t as smooth at it just yet."

MacGregor didn’t want to tip his hand on who he was leaning towards, but he did say with certainty that he knows who he would take first today and will reiterate that to Steve Tambellini in the coming weeks. He did however give me a slight glimpse as to where they were leaning when I asked him if it was likely that they would use their first two picks on different positional players. 

You might think I was reading between the lines too much on that, but I’d suggest of MacGregor was leaning towards Adam Larsson at that moment he naturally would have mentioned taking a D-man. I wouldn’t expect MacGregor to tell me or any other outlet, on the record at least, who they were taking, because it would take away that incredibly special moment for the player when his name is the first one called on June 24th. I’m very confident; however, it will be Nugent-Hopkins.

One other tidbit, the first team to interview Nugent-Hopkins at the combine this week was the Edmonton Oilers.


Over the past month I’ve had the chance to interview over 15 different independent scouts and NHL scouts, and all but one of them said if they had the first pick they would take Nugent-Hopkins. The one who didn’t chose him opted to not give an answer. Many listed Nugent-Hopkins’ hockey sense and vision on the ice as the main reasons they’d take him first. 

One of the most interesting responses came from Mark Edwards of

"He has the stuff you can’t teach. You can’t teach a player to go down and see the ice like he has 360 eyes in his head. I had to steal that line from Duncan Siemens when I asked him about playing against Nugent-Hopkins. He said, ‘Just when you think you have him, he looks out another eye in his head and sees another play that you couldn’t see, and boom, the pass goes tape-to-tape to another player, and it’s a great play that sets up another chance.’

"I think he is undervalued as a goal scorer. We all know what a great playmaker he is, but his shot is much better than many think. I see that elite player in him. To me he has separated from the pack. Our two through six or seven are a lot tighter, and I probably could sit down and do the rankings everyday and I could be convinced to move a guy up or down one, but for him he has been a constant number one since late December."

In three weeks the Oilers should have the 2nd player in franchise history to wear #93 when Tambellini steps up to the podium and announces, "With the first overall pick in 2011 draft, we are extremely excited to select from the Red Deer Rebels, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins."

Props to D.L. and J.M for some sweet photoshopping early this morning.

  • Well, I for one am stoked about drafting RNH, I only seen him play 3 times, but man he was all over the ice!
    I have also agreed with Quicksilver about trying to trade up to get into the top 5 as well, maybe we can get Huberdeau, Landeskog or possibly Couturier.
    Then I have to think (hope) Oilers management team will start looking for the best 3rd and 4th liners they can get.
    Make some trades and bring in a couple top 4 D-man. They are out there.

  • Gregor:

    He only gets -30% of points from Goals:
    The last 20 years of 1st round picks with -30%. Daigle, Kariya, Bonsignore, Kelly, Stefan, Niinimaki, Chipchura, Gagner.

    % huge busts: one generational talent and a future top 30 center.
    Kariya’ CHL equvalent ppg is 3.7PPG 1.4PPG in NHL
    Gagner Chl PPG 2.22PPG current NHL rate .7PPG
    RNH CHL 1.53PPG NHL rate ???? .55PPG ?????

    1. Lighter than Gagner draft year.
    2. Less production draft year. 70% of Gagner
    3. Older than Gagner Draft year.
    4. Did not dominate a super series.

    Explain to me how he will be better and more productive than the 6th pick in 2007.

    Not happening.

    Give me the guys with 50% goals and around or above .85PPG NHLE.
    Last ten years of draft.

    2010: Hall(50%) Skinner(55%)
    2009: Tavares (50%) E. Kane (50%)
    2008: Stamkos (55%)
    2007: Perron (48%) (.82PPG) 25th
    2006: Toews (56%)
    2004: Ovechkin (56%)
    2003: Vanek (50%)
    2002: Nash (47%)
    2001: Kovolchuk (60%) D Roy (52%) 32nd RD2
    2000: Heatley (50%)

    this aproach gets you Skinner, Perron, D. Roy in the top 5.

    This year has 3 potential 50% .85PPG players (rare) the first listed had Mono the first half of the year and then had a ppg rate in the top 5 player range the last half.

    Ritchie (50%) 6’3″ july 93 U18 Hockey Canada Khokhlachev (46%) 5’10” Sept 93 two weeks younger he is top 5 in 2012 draft.
    Armia (62%) 6’4″ top 3 pts U18 his 18G ranks #1 in SM-Ligga history for 17 year olds and 2nd for 18 yer olds.
    18 year olds;
    #1 pulkinen 20G
    #2 Armia 18G
    #3 Hartikainen 17G
    #4 Kapinen 15G
    #5 O. Jokinen 14G

    Does it surprise that the two CHL Sniper types come from Junior clubs who currently select elite scoring prospects in the junior drafts: Sarnia and Windsor

    • Jason Gregor

      I will wager that RNH is a more productive player than Gagner. He skates way better.

      I noticed guys off of your list include Crosby, Malkin, P.Kane, Duchene, Seguin, Kopitar, Getzlaf, Perry, E.Stall to name a few…but I guess a player is only good if he is a 50% in your books

      My list seems like it produces pretty good players who aren’t 50% goal scorers.

      We can all find a stat that backs up our argument. You like Couturier fine. I’ll take RNH.

    • jadeddog

      @ rickibar

      I agree with you that there are questions about RNH, as well as any of the other top picks this year. It is a weak draft year. When you compare Kane’s and Crosby’s PPG to the top prospects this season it is clear that there are a some potentially very good players but it will be tougher to find potentially great ones (btw, in his draft year Hall was at 1.85 PPG, good, but nowhere close to Crosby or Kane).

      However, what are you basing your numbers for Hall’s % goals figures on – regular season or playoffs? Here is what they were in his last season of junior:

      Regular season – 40 goals in 106 points = 37.7%

      His playoff numbers were better:

      Playoffs – 17 goals in 35 points = 48.5%

      There is a huge discrepancy here, but the playoff numbers were closer to his rookie season scoring % of points at 22 goals in 42 points = 52.3% of points from goals.

      On the other wing, we had Eberle at this: 18 goals in 43 points (69 games) = 41.8%

      They did this with a plumber down the middle for most of the season.

      What does this mean? IMHO we should take RNH if his playmaking skills and skating are superior to the other top picks for the simple fact that with Hall and Eberle on the future top line the Oilers have two good to potentially very good (possibly elite in Hall’s case) scoring wingers that need an elite playmaker more than a finisher down the middle. If all RNH does in his prime is consistently score 20 – 25 goals a year but get 50 – 60 assists then I would be fine with that. To put it into perspective, there were only 2 centremen (Sedin and Stamkos) that scored more than 80 points last year. Those numbers would also blow away anything the team has had down the middle since Doug Weight.

    • I was intrigued by Ricki’s numbers at first, then I started looking into his claims and found out how many good players he ommitted from the 30% goal club. And the inclusion of Ritchie in the 50% goal club is sad because he’s presenting a guy that scored 10 fewer goals than RNH as a more profound goal scorer.

    • raceguy

      Thanks,personally I like Strome the best.Especially when you take into consideration he doesn’t actually turn 18 till 6 weeks after the draft.While Couturier turned 18 last Dec.A full 7 months earlier,huge difference in kids this age.

    • John Chambers

      That would be a good comparison. Another set of variables to throw into the mix is birth date and relative size.

      Couturier was born on Dec 7th, 1992.

      Nugent was born April 12th, 1993, or just over 5 months after Couturier. Five months may not seem like a lot when you’re talking up some girl, but put another way it’s halfway to the next draft year.

      Huberdean was born on June 4th, 1993, while Ryan Strome was born on July 11th, 1993. Strome will be the only 17-year old at the time of the draft.

      In comparison with Couturier, given that they tally the same number of points, scouts seem to offer consideration to Nugent for being slightly younger and slightly smaller. Or, they seem to place a premium on his skill to compensate for his relative youth and lack of size.

      I suppose I’m assuming that Nugent will continue to put on weight that will bring him closer to the NHL mean, and that given his relatively young age has a higher development trajectory. That said, I’m also bullish on Strome given that a) he’s a C, b) he puts of strong EV ppg as you’ve indicated c) he’s nearly a year younger than Adam Larsson (who was born in November, 1992).

      Scouts obviously see some kind of intangible in Nugent’s game unique to himself, and over time he’ll grow out of his relative weaknesses.

      • An interesting stat I heard is that something like 40% of the elite players in major junior are born between Jan and Mar.
        70% are born between Jan and Jun.

        Apparently it carries through for most sports.

        This was in a presentation on the Long Term Athletic Development program.

        . . . best go with the January born.

        • You said, “An interesting stat I heard is that something like 40% of the elite players in major junior are born between Jan and Mar. 70% are born between Jan and Jun.”

          And 100% are born between Jan and Dec. I think I am on to something here.

  • raceguy

    i shook my magic ball with great fury this morning and asked if we should take RNH and it said “concentrate and ask again”.

    so even more fury and after 30 mins (or so) of being out unconscious (due to excessive shaking) when i awoke it was reading “it is decidely so”.

    sold. RNH it is.

    @rickthebear….although you present interesting stats i sure as heck hope your are wrong. so guess what i did…magic eight ball…is rick wrong i pondered and it showed me “outlook good” whew!

    • Head Scout Stu MacGregor: “The difference is that Ryan has that quickness and slipperiness that defenseman seem to fear.”

      I dont know if his top speed if blinding, but apparently he can catch defenders off guard better than the next best prospects in the draft.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    With NuHo in the bag, Tambellini should be working his butt off to get his hands on Huberdeau,Couturier or Strome as well. I’d even add Dubnyk to the existing pile of available assets to go with Hemsky,Gagner,Gilbert,Brule the 19th and the 31st if it helped get us what we need.

    • D-Man

      That would be sweet… I’m not sure if I’d put Dubynk on the table though… We have no clue about where Khabby will be this year and Roy/Bunz are still 3 to 4 years away from the NHL…

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I think that pick has to be off limits. I’m gambling Tambellini has success this summer in moving up into the top 5 again, the Oilers may be playing two rookies down the middle next yr. Without adding a few vets like Ryan Smyth,Scottie Upshall or Scott Hartnell this club may be in for another lottery finish this coming season. A top 5 pick in 2012 could land us a #1 or 2 north american d’man we so badly need. I’d rather pack the top 6 or 7 snake and deep first before dealing with help on the blueline. An Eric Brewer type would be a adequate temporary fix in the meantime.

        • DieHard

          If that 2012 1st got us Larsson, I’d do it. THEN and only then trade Hemsky for someone’s 1st next year. Make a good UFA signing or 2 (short terms). This would be management incentive to make the playoffs. It could bite us but we would have that defenseman now that you would take in 2012.

    • CanaDave

      That is a massive overpay, unless you meant a combination of them..which I am now reading that that is what you meant…so nevermind haha. But anyway I think if Hemsky is in a trade then it should be just him and same with Gagner I dont think we should go all crazy. If we could move 19 and Brule and a Plante or Chorney for like 12 or something (Just to get the player we want then I would be ok with that) I don’t think we should trade 19 AND 31 for a pick because I think we are still getting two good players with those picks, but if we could get Strome then I would not complain at all. Nugent-Hopkins and Strome and our C is solid for years…trade Gagner next year for a D.

  • What I find interesting is last year we had to take Hall because he is a winner and showed up when it mattered and that Seguin wasn’t as good because he was completely shut down in the OHL playoffs.

    But this year, Huberdeau has a great supporting cast around him and it’s important to recognize that when you see his numbes. Also, RNH’s bad 2nd round shouldn’t be focused on too much because he was a big focal point of the other teams defensive strategy.

  • @ Jason Gregor:

    I haven’t seen an answer yet. The ‘his linemates are week argument’ would have more weigth with me if the even-strength numbers weren’t so close (Kudrna and Persson are within four points of RNH at even-strength, in fewer games, while Brett Ferguson has more EV points). ‘The WHL is way more defensive than the QMJHL’ isn’t even true.

    It’s not that there isn’t an answer that will satisfy me, it’s that I haven’t seen any answer yet, and I can’t come up with one. I’ve seen comparisons to guys like Kane, but Kane was a way more prolific EV scorer than RNH.

    I’ve seen Hopkins play, although admittedly not live, and while he’s undoubtedly a good prospect I’m just not sold yet, and I can’t figure out why his on-ice vision doesn’t translate into more EV points.

    • NamelessNed

      I’ve had the pleasure of watching him live countless times so I’ll try to exxplain it in Oilers terms.

      RNH at 5v5 with Kudrna and Persson is like Hemsky with Horcoff and Cogs. Stone hands on both wings.

      You are really hung up on this 5v5 scoring. For one the Rebels didn’t score a lot 5v5, their system was a 1-0-4, they trapped the neutral zone hard trying to create penalties and transitions. They were designed to beat teams on the PP considering thats the only time Froese ever played with RNH. As well if you are going to mention Persson’s, Kudrna’s, Froese’s and Ferguson’s 5v5 scoring you should mention that two of those players are 2 years older than RNH and the other two are 3 years older.

      As well you can explain the proximity of Kudrna and Persson’s 5v5 scoring by the fact that they played nearly exclusively with RNH. I’ve seen probably 10 Rebels games this year and I only saw those two play without RNH once (he was out injured in that game BTW). So its completely expected that their 5v5 point totals would be similar.

    • raceguy

      The 3 leading scorers on the Red Deer Rebels

      Hopkins 106 points 59 on pp or 55%(69 games)

      Kudrna 82 points 41 on pp or 50%(64 games)

      Froese 81 points 47 on pp or 58%(70 games)

      Ferguson had 2 0f his 23 goals on the powerplay,suggesting he didn’t see much pp time.Maybe his line was first on following the PP?

      Seeing that the top 3 on the Rebels all generated 50% of their points or better on the PP,might make Hopkins production more of a situational thing??Also Froese and Kudrna are two years older then Hopkins.More to think about. 🙂

    • CanaDave

      Brad: Really! Is said Horcoff Was better? Really!

      In the summer of 2009 I was on HF Clowns site. It is a largely points good no points bad site. No understanding what you give up is as important as what you get. I asked who was the better player in a “cap world” that year. Asking the points are good people.

      Shawn Horcoff
      17G 36A 53pt 3.6M so 14.7points/M

      33G 77A 103pts 8.7M so 11.8points/M

      So brad who was the better CAP player.

      Spin it any way you want. This is what I said.

  • NamelessNed

    2013 -second phase when the Oilers hope “ be full of prospects now , just wait till 2013 “. “we need to acquire another round of high-skilled skill ” . Last year was Year 1 of first phase . This year is year two . Year 2012 and 2013 is second phase of tanking !!! What does this probably mean to incument staff ?

    Hemsky , Whitney , Gilbert probably fodder for more prospects only . We keep as many diminutive players as we can for at least 2-3 more years to insure we lose while filling more voids with more inadequate fillins . Perhaps by 2014 we actually try to form a team from all those years we deliberately tanked . As Tambellini said “We are not going to deviate from our plan ” .

    Now i don’t agree you can rebuild a half decent team around a core of losers to begin with , nor a winning attitude amongst those that stay here trying to develop in the interim . Whom and what they might and will pass up on over the next 2-3 seasons should be lenghly as they fully intend on playing to lose . “Waiting should not be a problem with the Oilers “.” Regardlesss of who we select, I dont feel they have to be in line up next year “, Tambellini said .

    The time line i derived from article pointed directly at 2013 as close to ending of Phase 2 ,!!! Who knows for sure they may still feel an additional year is warranted at that time and extend it another year or two beyond 2013 into 2015 before the start begins ?

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      I just read the article and I think you don’t understand it or just believe everything you read one or the other. Quick breakdown, sentences in brackets are from the article:

      [So if Edmonton’s cupboard appears to be full of prospects now, just wait until 2013.]

      This is the journalist saying this not Tambo and also you can get prospects from any round (we get 3 good ones in the 2nd last year) Eberle was 22nd Overall, no where does it say they are going to be first overall picks.

      [But for those who think this is a sign the team is getting close, think again. This, Tambellini said, is just the beginning.]

      No quote from Tambellini to back this up, enough said there.

      [“These are the few years where our organization needs elite players,” Tambellini said. “The last year or so, we’ve been replenishing the depth chart with high-end skill and character, and this is what we need to do. At the end of the day, we need to acquire another round of high-end skill.”]

      Another round of high end skill (being the draft coming up) as before he talks about have a successful draft last year, and again doesn’t say getting high end skill from 1st overall picks, he just means their top picks (2 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd and I believe 2 in the 3rd and 4th?)

      [“Regardless of who we select, I don’t feel that they have to be in the lineup next year,” Tambellini said. “If he plays, great. But it’s not a necessity.]

      Just saying that the guy they pick doesn’t have to play because they aren’t in the position now where he has to play, which is pretty much saying they are progressing through their rebuild.

      [“Last year was Year 1 and you know we’ve got time to go,” Tambellini said. “We’re not going to deviate from our plan.”]

      Keep building through the draft and don’t go sign any big name free agents until the Oilers are ready to compete.

      I know your on the Larsson train and you think if the Oilers take RNH is because they want to tank but the fact is they want to compete and if RNH plays his way on the team then awesome he is good enough to play but he isnt going to be handed a roster spot plus how much impact is any rookie from this draft going to make THIS year anyway.

  • Peterborough

    RNH is playing against future Shea Weber’s, Chara’s, Seabrook’s, Keith’s.

    Huberdeau is playing against the future Sebastien Bisaillon’s of the world.

    • Peterborough

      The whole in this logic is so wide it isn’t worthy of a response. It does provide a good litmus test though.

      Anyway, this is pretty clearly the worst year in a decade to have the #1 pick. RNH seems like the right pick but only because unfortunately there is no surefire pick this year. There are questions about him but there are questions about everybody. There were no doubts like this about Hall or Seguin.

  • I can’t talk about the other players, as I have only seen RNH live; he is a very dynamic player and does have great vision, his speed is NHL quality and no doubt about it will be a great fit with Hall and Eberle.
    Have you ever had a “gut” feeling about a player? I have that with RNH and that’s my only argument, I got no stats, no projections, just scouting reports and what is mostly said here.
    Plus another pick in the top 5!

  • Well, I’ve finally been converted to the Nuge camp. I have some apprehension about the whole EV thing, and his lack of goals, because goals translate better to the NHL.
    However, I have to think that Stu and 15 other scouts are not all stupid. They actually watch the guy. Like, when Nuge pulls an incredible defensive play, dominates up the ice, pulls an incredible offensive play, and no goal is scored, what stat will that affect Willis? None. It wouldn’t register. So in your stats world, it never happened. But Stu saw it happen, and took note.

    Stats are only part of the story, especially in junior.
    btw, I saw Hoppy live. And he was far and away the most dominant player on the ice, the whole team relied on him to set up the pp, they would just drop the puck back to him every time coming up ice.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Side note, I watched some Memorial cup, and Huberdeau was great, but so were about 4 other players on his team. The goal I saw him score had more to do with Zack Phillips than Huberdeau. Practically gift wrapped the goal to him.
    We have a couple scorers – Hall and Eberle, who need a playmaking center to skate with them.
    Btw, I vote for #19 for Nuge, because he looks and acts and comes from the same place as Burnaby Joe.

  • I also remember a few years ago when Philly put in an offersheet on Kesler, I thought, what’s the deal with him, he only got like 20pts. In other words, his stats weren’t good. Low and behold, the hockey scouts knew something we didn’t, using the old fashioned “looking” technique.
    Scouts seem to have an uncanny ability to get the top 3 picks right most years. Check out these horrible junior stats:

  • Peterborough

    Jason: the hockey development system rewards developing players based on the abilty to generate in the forward position. youth who can score moved to the the high developmental teams. the ones who fail at this do not see select teams.

    so poor scorers are gradually weeded out. However there are the elite playmakers who have low goal totals who advance on. RNH is one of these.

    The problem is goals win games and preventing them wins games. so while you talk about guys like crosby et al. there is areason for this. those player you mentioned do not have the lack of scoring concern and were elite PPG players.

    The upper end of this draft is the 1.4 to 1.8 PPG chl players.
    RNH 1.53PPG
    Crosby 2.7PPG
    P. Kane 2.5PPG

    These players were at the top because there production said they should be at the top of the draft.

    RNH numbers are in the top for the draft. but he belongs to a group of poor scoring high production players who produce worse than expected.

    you take a player who is +35%goals and 2/3 Ev points 1/3PP points they are pretty safe bet.

    The 50% guys with High expected PPG are usually at the top of the class.

    This year there is a chance to steal three probable elite goal scorers.
    Ritchie, Armia, kohklachev.

    Do i think Ritchie will be the better player. Numbers and hockey canada like him.

    I do not get paid to make these decisions. There were a whole bunch of scouts who passed on Eberle.
    Nuf said.

  • CanaDave

    The more I read, the more I wonder what Couturier did or didn’t do to drop out of the #1 overall conversation. He did make the WJC team over RNH and he is acknowledged as being a much stronger 2 way player at this point in the game. I think that the age thing brought up earlier works in his favour as well, since he has 3 seasons under his belt in junior as compared to 2 for everyone else in the discussion for the #1 spot, Larsson excluded.

    I know you can teach defence and I’m not worried about RNH’s height or weight I just find it interesting that the kid from the west gets so much more play and time devoted to him than the kids from Quebec or Sweden.

  • CanaDave

    @rikcibear: Have you ever seen him play? I don’t know why you think your smarter then all the scouting services and NHL scouts? They do it for a living and have experience, do you? Keep hiding behind your faulty stats and I will go with what I have seen with my own eyes and what scouts have seen. If you have ever been to an NHL game or watched it you would know that a guy can play a great game but be help off the score sheet.

    @madjam: Take things in context and the fact it is an ARTICLE and no one can predict how guys will develop if Hall and Eberle bust out for 80 points and are winning management won’t clean house to suck they will build up, the Oilers are REBUILDING which means REBUILD so get no pieces to replace old pieces because that didn’t work (how else do you suggest they do that?) when the Oilers start to show signs of competing the rebuild is over and management will start to bring in players to fill holes (Right now there are just too many holes to fill and we don’t know what we have yet with some prospects)

    Rant Over…

  • CanaDave

    relax boys. the Oil are getting a good player, regardless of who they pick. Will they get the future best player from the class? No guarentees, but they are very safe to a get a quality first-line. point-per-game player. I’m leaning towards the Nuge because his alleged playmaking compliments their franchise player, Hall. Remember, no matter who they pick, he is doubtful to be better than Hall. We just need 2 more key parts: the #1 centre (Nuge) and #1 defensemen (future trade).

  • Wow, lots of stuff here. Okay, a few things:

    1. NHL amateur scouts are phenomenal judges of talent. They’re much better judges of talent than I possibly can be, given the extremely limited statistics I have to use on junior players. That said, there have been a lot of blown picks in the top-10 that statistics would have ID’d in advance – guys Rupp, Taticek, and Alexeev. So I would suggest that statistics have a place in the conversation, though they’re obviously not perfect.

    2. Teams in the QMJHL score less goals than teams in the WHL. I’m not sure what definition everyone else uses for “defensive” but that’s the one I use. Not only that, but historically QMJHL players typically retain 29.0% of their offense when jumping to the NHL, as opposed to 30.0% for WHL players. That’s not a significant difference – and this is going back to the days of the high-flying ‘Q’.

    3. I wouldn’t use the “YOU ARE WRONG” quote, since it was, well, wrong.

    4. The question isn’t whether RNH is going to be a better NHL’er than Persson or Kudrna – he will be. The question is whether RNH at his current age is a way better even-strength WHL player than Persson or Kudrna, to the point where those two are dragging him down. Given that they’re neck-and-neck in scoring… I’d suggest this is overstated.

    • CanaDave

      Regarding point 3, I dont think anyone is trying to suggest that Kudrna or Persson are going to be better NHLers because that would be ridiculous. Persson probably wont make it, and Kudrna is likly a tweener.

      That said you really need to have seen the team play I guess. From what I saw they dragged him down a lot. Somewhere between 3-4 prime opportunities blown because they couldn’t handle or didn’t see RNH set them up.

      Although you might have a point that the fact that Perssona and Kudrna are holding RNH back is overstated, the combination of former and the fact that the Rebels as a whole didn’t score too much 5v5 (ie. their system was built to beat teams with PP/PK) would work to explain a large part of that gap.

    • You are absolutely right to be politely reminding people what seems to be the only possible hang-up left in RNH becoming the defacto 100% everyone on-board #1 pick for the Oilers: Even-strength scoring.

      There really should be a logical and coherent answer here somewhere to address this valid concern. I’ve been trying to come up with something ever since I woke up this morning (yes I have time on my hands and yes this problem really is a concern for me).

      The only thing I can come up with (and it isn’t much) is this:

      1. Red Deer was ranked #1 in the WHL this year in goals against.

      They let in the fewest goals by far with 159. The next best team was Medicine Hat (who interesting shut RNH down in the playoffs) with 196 goals allowed. That’s a HUGE margin between the best and the second-best as far as I am concerned.

      2. Red Deer was ranked #2 in penalty killing in the WHL this year.

      They killed 85.5% of the power plays against them, second only to Spokane.

      3. Red Deer was ranked #6 in Penalties In Minutes

      Of the 5 teams in in the league who had more PIM than Red Deer, only one team was in the same conference and that team was Lethbridge, who not only are division rivals with Red Deer, but had one of the worst PKs in the league (18th) at 78.3%.

      4. Red Deer was great on the powerplay.

      At 22.2%, they were ranked 5th best in the league. In fact, Red Deer scored very close to 30% of their total goals on said powerplay. Only 3 teams had more powerplay chances than them last year.


      What does all this mean? I’m suggesting that these numbers seem to indicate that Red Deer was a defensive team. This is clearly shown by their goals against and their PK numbers. Extrapolating with common sense I think we can safely assume that they did not play a run-and-gun offense, but rather a tight defensively sound system (dare I suggest something akin to a trap) designed to capitalize on whatever opportunities the other team gives them. And what is the most obvious and best opportunity afforded another team? You guessed it: a powerplay.

      In other words, Nugent-Hopkins has skewed even-strength numbers simply because he played the system given to him by his coach. If RNH killed penalties (which I do not know) this is probably even more so the case. I know this may not completely allay your reservations, but does it ease them even a little?

      P.S. All numbers were found or calculated using numbers found on the WHL website.

  • DieHard

    Archeology: give me those players. I went thru the first two rounds the last 20 years. this is all i found.

    That is 600 players and only those 7. there is a reason poor scorers are not here.

    if you want to go thru the other 1500- 1800 players and give me your multitude of 30% guys that did not have a under performance of 30-50%. go ahead.

    one was presented from the third round of 1998 B. Richards he was only 30% below expected in his career.

    How do you not take a 1.7PPG player in the 2nd round of the Draft. So know we have 8 players and 100% 30% or worse than expected.

    you need to give me 8 players from your group just to make it a 50/50 chance he is going to be good.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      I don’t think many people are understanding your theory. (potentially myself included).

      This is what I believe you are saying, correct me if I’m wrong.

      NHL equvalency tells us that a 17 year old CHL will typically retain 70% of there scoring in the NHL(going off memory so correct me if I’ve got the % wrong)

      meaning a 17 year old PPG guy in the CHL projects out to be a .7PPG guy in the NHL (56 point player)

      Or for Example RNH projects to be a 1.07PPG guy in the NHL.

      *However* your Goals vs assist theory says that most guys that get 30% or less of there scoring from goals will only capture 50% to 70% of there NHL equivalance.

      Meaning Hopkins would project down from a 1.07PPG to a .535PPG to .75PPG guy.

      Is that correct?

      • jadeddog

        That’s what he’s saying. Although I suggest you go read the article on MBS’s extension over at Lowetide. Ricki had this same conversation there and had his theory thuroughly examined.

        Essentially it’s not neccessarily true (he’s cherry picking from an era of bad scouting) there are examples of players in the 30% who don’t fall like that (Karyia, Thornton, Crosby etc). As well you need to consider facts outside of basic boxcars (ie. Time on Ice, Qual Team etc.).

        Ricki also omits the fact that RNH outscored lots of the examples he named (Bosoignere and Stefan for example) by a country mile.

        RNH’s percieved lack of scoring 5V5 is an exponentially larger concern than the fact that he scored only 31 Goals.

      • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

        That is it!

        Man I would love RNH to be what everyone claims.

        Stu has found us draft steals and last year was a home run. I trust his scouting staff.

        But that trend is a warning! Simple.

        I did not suffer thru this bad season to have the first pick end up being a risk player in the draft.

        If you do that then you better take Ritchie @ 19.

          • I’m not either of those guys but I’m hoping for Larsson. So what if we have to wait a few years…we’d be waiting for rnh anyway. I don’t trust the even strength numbers amongst others as outlined by rickithebear. I, for one, applaud the work he’s doing!

          • Jason Gregor

            How can anyone claim the EV numbers are a major factor when they have no idea how many EV minutes each guy played.

            Larsson likely won’t be a bad choice, but I’ve stated in many articles you can find great D-man outside the top-five or ten, easier than you can find elite centres.

      • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

        Please learn the spelling and proper usage of these words. I’ll even use them in a sentence for you…

        1. There, ( as in ‘a location’ ). ie…The net is over there, not 20 feet to the left.

        2. They’re, ( combination of they and are ). ie… We are talking about the Oilers here, they’re my favorite team.

        3. Their, ( relating to a person or group ). ie…*However* your Goals vs assist theory says that most guys that get 30% or less of their scoring from goals will only capture 50% to 70% of their NHL equivalance.

        your posts are hard to understand when you dont use the proper grammar.

        Signed: The Grammar Police.

  • All I am trying to suggest above guys is that maybe RNH killed penalties (which Red Deer did a lot of last year) and if so, when you combine that with the obvious defensive system they had going then there really wasn’t a lot of scoring opportunity for RNH (or anyone)at evens. Perhaps the powerplay was the only place he was ‘let out of the barn’.

    Does anyone know if RNH killed penalties? Man I wish we had time on ice numbers.

  • Ducey

    Ah, I see Rickibear is up to old tricks here. His old 8 guys with less than 30% goals trick.

    Give it a rest Ricki. You got throttled on your theory a few days ago over at Lowetide.

    It was 8 guys then, now its 7.

    Your theory doesn’t work. I’ll remind you why:

    1)Niinimaki went 2-4-6 in his draft year. Hopkins has 106 pts. Its silly to extrapolate one to the other
    2) Kariya had 100pts in his draft year and more than that twice in the NHL – he negates your theory
    3)Chipcura didn’t even score a point a game in his draft year. Why did he bust? Lack of goals or lack of points?
    4) a little early to write off Gagner – he’s 21 and looks to have bright future
    5)Steve Kelly scored 43% of his points via goals – that negates you theory
    5)So you are left with Daigle, Bonsignore, Stefan. 3 guys out of 600!!

    Plus for your theory to work it needs to apply to other players outside the first round. It doesn’t. And it needs to be able to predict which of the guys that scored more than 30% of their points via goals are going to flop. It can’t do that either.

    Just leave it at the fact that you don’t like RNH because he doesn’t get enough goals.

    You attempts to “mathify” your opinion are ridiculous and only serve to weaken it.