The Midnight Rider

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is tracking like a Calder winner. Seriously. He’s ripping it up, and not just on home ice anymore. How good can he be? Too soon to tell. How good is he as a rookie compared to recent freshman? That we can begin to answer.

For the purposes of this conversation, I’m going to post numbers mostly in 5×5/60 form. That way we can get these kids on a more level playing field. We can’t control time on ice. but the 60 minute weighting system allows us to place things on a line.


  • Ryan Nugent Hopkins 2.41
  • Sam Gagner 1.96
  • Jordan Eberle 1.79
  • Taylor Hall 1.78
  • Magnus Paajarvi 1.36

It’s early, but RNH is certainly tracking well. This isn’t an exact science–Andrew Cogliano enjoyed a 2.28/60 at 5×5 as a rookie–but it certainly bodes well for the young man to show so well early in his rookie season. Part of that is no doubt due to linemates and the soft parade coach Renney is feeding him, but that’s a very nice number.



  • Jeff Skinner 2.49
  • Ryan Nugent Hopkins 2.41
  • Patrick Kane 2.32
  • Taylor Hall 1.78
  • Steven Stamkos 1.78
  • John Tavares 1.42

Again RNH shows well, with only last year’s screaming success ahead of him. Now, we’re talking about major differences in quality of team, etc but it does suggest that the young man from Burnaby–very recently thought of as a weak #1 overall pick–appears to be at least running with the pack at the top end of the table.



Below are the boxcars for each player listed above after their first 21 NHL games.

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 8-14-22
  • Patrick Kane 7-15-22
  • John Tavares 9-10-19
  • Jeff Skinner 6-11-17
  • Jordan Eberle 4-9-13
  • Taylor Hall 5-6-11
  • Sam Gagner 2-7-9
  • Stevean Stamkos 2-5-7
  • Magnus Paajarvi 2-4-6

Again, the Oiler rookie shows well. We should also keep in mind that this RNH fellow has a nice range of skills, and that should help him outscore opponents as he matures. Based on these numbers, RNH is tracking very well.


Well, it’s early. We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves here, there’s a long way to go and the kid is facing the soft parade at home. Still, this is a really nice resume. Short, but sweet.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    “Former Edmonton Oil Kings coach Steve Pleau is working for the Calgary Flames as a pro scout. He was at the Oilers games in Dallas and Nashville.”

    Hmmmm, Taylor Chorney for a 2nd rounder?

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Ponders the thought of Bouwmeester in an Oiler jersey….

      The lights are fading fast in Calgary, they might be looking at some big picture stuffs/changes.

      • French Toast Mafia

        Another smart one…. Pick up 6.5 Million on the cap for a soft Dman. That will go a long way in helping the Oilers keep all their young talent. And trading for Semin… another good one. A guy they are thinking of healthy scratching because he could care less about showing up for a game. Why would Calgary give up there first for that guy?

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        How long have the Oilers and Calgary been in the league? How many deals have they made. 2. Bouwmeester to edmonton is not going to happen. Would we really want him at 7 million per season. Not really. Let Calgary suck without any relief from us.

    • RexLibris

      I’ve had these conversations with Flames fans at FN. Bouwmeester to Edmonton for Paajarvi and Gagner has been suggested. And they want to move Iginla to Washington for Semin and the Colorago pick and then flip Semin to Detroit for another first rounder. Then move Kiprusoff to Tampa Bay for Brett Connolly and a first round pick. Trade Bourque to Phoenix for Turris, and move Matt Stajan for a roll of hockey tape and a $15 RONA gift card.

      Do you think maybe the idea of a rebuild has taken hold there? For my part I really, really hope they turn it around by mid-December or we’ll be facing a team with Nail Yakupov and Nathan MacKinnin in a few years.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Feaster seems to despise that rebuild word. I don’t think we’ll ever hear that word come from Jay’s mouth. He’d surrender and probably call it a re-tooling… but like a rear view mirror, the objective in the mirror may be closer than it appears.

        Interesting times for both Alberta hockey teams.

        • RexLibris

          Yeah, I started debating (okay, it started as an argument but we’ve moved on) with some bloggers and regular commenters on FN back in August about the Flames. I had argued that the Flames were in a rebuilding-window with expiring UFAs, core players beginning to decline but still coming off respectable numbers, and having shown a decent return at the draft table for the first time in years (decades?). But as the conversation went on it was made clear to me that the concept of a “tear it down and rebuild” was verboten.

          When Feaster came out with his statement about the rebuilding strategy it was widely hailed by Flames fans, which is fair as you want your GM to stand up for the path your team is on, but like a slow tide the talk of rebuilding and the example of the Oilers through their exciting play of late has had more and more fans demanding it.

          The most significant difference between the two clubs in a rebuild is that it was ownership here who got the ball rolling and we had some pretty significant shifts in scouting and management and coaching all come together at the right time. In Calgary, it’s the same ownership, the same President, the same GM, and largely the same scouting staff so if a rebuild takes place there is no guarantee that they will do that any better than they have in managing their current situation. Fundamentally they need a clean sweep and a massive change in the culture of the dressing room (sound familiar?) and then they need to take advantage of a Canadian fan base that will follow a team through hell in order to do it right.

          I do not believe that the people necessary for that process are in place in the Flames organization right now.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            A lot of Oiler fans don’t feel they have the right regime in place to pull this off either, but they went ahead and did it. Calgary just needs a guy like Lanny MacDonald to be break the news to the fanbase on this. They’ll buy in hook line and sinker like the fans have here in Edmonton.

            Now that Broduer is almost done in Jersey, give him a 3 yr deal along with another aging wonder to soothe the fanbase while the most difficult yrs pass. Hopefully Feaster can do a better job of selling the farm (Iginla,Kiprusoff,Bouwmeester) than the Oilers did with their aging often injured assets. Fans in Calgary will buy it just like the Oiler faithful have. It’s tough to screw it up when there’s pressure to take the BPA in that first overall position.

          • RexLibris

            I’m not convinced that Tambellini is or isn’t the right guy, yet. He’s below .500 on the free agent signings right now. Khabibulin, Belanger are even, Potter, Petrell are looking astute (but those are guys that Renney and Serdachny told him about, not the pro scouting team) while Eager isn’t looking so hot. Hordichuk I’m reserving judgement on until he gets 15 to 20 games in. And the free agent signings are the ones that will make or break this team in it’s next phase. But for the Campbell deal (and Bowman’s RFA fiasco) Chicago can keep Ladd and Byfuglien at least. However, he is patient and seems to keep an even keel when it comes to the decisions he makes, and I’d much rather that than someone who sees the slightest sign of success and changes plans to accelerate a program, as Colorado has to their detriment.

            I don’t know who the Flames could get to break the bad news, but honestly at this point that’d be shutting the barn door after the horses have bolted. If/When they announce that they are rebuilding it will probably be met with a huge sigh of relief and a chorus of laughter by the media. As though the managament was the last to know.

            I have no worries about the fans in Calgary buying into it, that’s the luxury we have in Canada (not including Vancouver where the bandwagon’s shocks get replaced every year). I’m happy I’m an Oiler fan though, than facing what Flames fans have ahead of them because of their ownership/management group.

      • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

        I’m actually hoping Calgary start their rebuild sooner rather than later. I so miss the days when both Alberta teams were good. The BOA hasn’t been the same for a long time now.

        If the flames start their rebuild now, they’ll only be a couple of years behind us. So maybe in five or six years we might see some great battles again.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          Smart GM’s can rebuild a team in fewer that 5 or 6 years.

          Case in point is Dale Tallon who blew up the Panthers last season and has his team as legit contenders for the EC championship.

          I’m not sure Feaster is that smart but I’m not sure he isn’t either.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            They are hot right now to be sure… but will it last? 1/4 of the way in some numbers continue to hold defying expectations (Oil, Leafs)… but it is still too early to tell. The oil are only 5 points out of first in the league right now and that spot is occupied by the Wild…

          • RexLibris

            Can I officically call a “wait-and-see” on the success of the Panthers before we say they are EC championship-bound?

            I think Tallon had to use the cap space the Panthers had to make the team better and improve the following from the fan base, something that wasn’t as big a consideration in Chicago.

        • RexLibris

          I’m not sure about the Flames rebuild. If someone could guarantee that it’d be Feaster putting the pieces together then I’d be all for it. But if it meant spending a decade with them like we did in the 80s except they walk away with four cups to our one, I’m less than enthused.

          I think we will see some great battle sooner rather than later. My guess is Feaster uses the summer to convince Ken King that he deserves another shot (they didn’t fire Scott Howson, so why fire me?!) and uses the cap space to “remodel” rather than rebuild.

          • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

            Just to be clear, I’m an Oilers fan thru and thru. I hate the Flames with a passion. Every fall my facebook status reads:

            “This Fall, as the leaves fell in Edmonton, I noticed the trees also started leaning south. I thought this was a little weird and then I remembered Calgary sucks.”

            It’s a lame joke I know, but it’s always relevant.

            I am hopeful that both teams become contending teams at the same time again. The 80’s BOA was freakin’ amazing.

          • RexLibris

            I actually like that. It’s subtle.

            Yeah, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the BOA until ’89. Watching Fleury slide on the ice like that scarred me. Some things you can’t un-see.

            I absolutely understand the desire to get back to the natural order of things, where we get the hate on for the Flames, not Dallas and Vancouver. I just don’t want the Flames to win another Cup for as long as I live.

            And since I plan on living forever…


    • 10 million in salary for 6.7 million in salary and Washington only has 700+ grand left in capspace. Dosen’t work. Semin is a free agent in 12-13. He isn’t going to get 6.7 million again based on his playoff performances of late.

      Calgary is dead in the water. No place to go but down and they’ll be going down with a team thats capped out and a Captain that will not waive his no trade clause because (A) He doesn’t have to and (B) He feels that there is hope for the Flames.Until there is none.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      so hemsky and whitney for essentially 2 first rounders?

      1 pick probably around the 8-10 mark and the other in the 20-24 range?

      were you dropped as a child?

      • Quicksilver ballet

        The Caps are a team on the brink of doing sumfin don’t you think? With 2 first rounders next summer and a hockey club that should be in the win now mode. Something’s going to give here before they fire their coach.

        Time to back the truck up and give them anything they want outside of 4,14,93 and 94.

        I have no doubt i’ve fully recovered from that fall i suffered in my youth…..i think.

        • RexLibris

          I think a lot of GMs are going to become more and more covetous of that Colorado pick. I wrote to some friends at the start of the season that Washington could be the first team in living memory that gets to go up to the podium as both Stanley Cup Champions and celebrating the first overall pick. The idea of Yakupov, Backstrom, and Ovechkin would be so much fun to watch…from a distance…against someone else’s team.

  • The question shouldn’t be “Seguin vs. RNH?”.

    If anything it should be “Seguin and Landeskog vs. Hall and RNH?”

    Cause that’s what it boils down to.

    Personally, I’ll take the guys wearing blue and orange

  • I found this quote on canucks army in my boredom researching on how dumb nucks fans are.

    “Not tuff enough. Miss Torres and Glass more than some would think. Time for Louie or Schneider to go. We should be able to pick up a decent piece of the puzzle. How about Schneider to the Oilers for Hopkins ? Think the Oilers would go for it ? lol Or Iginla from the lames.”

    This quote sums up how blind the canuck fans are and why I hope they never win the cup. Schneider for Hopkins…. my god, I almost puked.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33


    I think you’re not seeing Petry right. He has played very well on the whole, has a complete skill set including wheels, and is just hitting his prime.

    I’m not a Gagner fan but he has outscored Turris pretty well so far career, same draft year, worse team. However I haven’t looked at TOI.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      At almost 25 i just don’t see him ever as a top 3 guy on your back end. He looks to me like he’s over coached, someone who’s deathly afraid of his next mistake. He should be beyond this phase at this point in his career.

      Timing is everything, perhaps by the time an opportunity presents itself (another club asking for him) he’ll be beyond this tentative stage.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    if we are going to talk trades and Gags draft year… trade him for Couture. I’d make that trade no problem, but there’s no way SJ would go for it. They don’t want to upset the Ghost of Mike Ricci.