Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is working his way back to NHL action—and we should see him for the (about) final 10 games of the year. Based on today’s events, I would be willing to bet he has a fire lit under his ass. 

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Across North America today, hockey fans are cursing grey-haired men and their ridiculous decisions. In many cases, the choices must have been damned difficult (Team Sweden’s defense for instance, or Canada’s forwards). I don’t believe choosing RNH for the North America team is a difficult decision. That said, his injury-riddled 2015-16 season has obscured his obvious talent. 

  • Peter Chiarelli: “Ryan is an important part of our team in Edmonton. He’s been hurt.
    We’ve got a management group. There’s certain assessments we have of
    certain players

Sean Couturier is a fine young center, brings some offense (more than the Nuge this year) but can play a strong two-way role and that is probably what got him the gig. Nuge has those qualities too—and he can be dynamite on the power play. The management group saw him good, and Couturier got the nod before RNH. Suspect they will both be on the team in September. 

I don’t buy that. Chiarelli is part of a group making the decision, and I assume these men are using the 2015-16 games for evaluation. RNH has missed a lot of those games, and he was clearly not 100 percent before his injury. If we look at his numbers this season and compare them to past campaigns, we can see where he is under-performing:

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I believe the Nuge was playing with some kind of malady from around mid-November and that flu kept hanging around. That injury, and his performance, can be seen in the 5×5 offense and possession numbers.

I think Oilers fans are probably wondering about Peter Chiarelli’s assessment of RNH as it pertains to the town team moving forward. We all know Edmonton will be shopping for top drawer defensemen in the summer, and there have been reports for most of the season about availability (the Seth Jones rumors being one example). I don’t think the roster announcement offers much in the way of clues about the future of Nugent-Hopkins in Edmonton. At best, we can assume he could be in play depending on the team with that mystery defenseman needs, and we will have to wait until summer for our answer.

The Nuge can write another chapter in the final games of the season and possibly at the World Championships. He has never had a problem with motivation, but as Pierre Lebrun mentioned above, there is certainly something to strive for in September.

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  • Heschultzhescores

    Traditionally all-star teams and teams that represent the country aren’t comprised of players from the worst team in the league for that year…let alone that decade. It’s really quite understandable why Oilers are always overlooked. I’d say start winning boys if you want to be recognized as a top player in the league. Sorry, but the greatest players tend to play on winning teams. Simple solution, PROVE yourself by leading your team out of the basement for a change and the accolades will follow.

  • You just got LITT up!

    Hahhahah! ROTFL – So only our newest and shiniest 1OV makes their respective team. Recap: segiun – check! landeskog – check! Ryan Murray – check! Classic oilers. So embarrassing to be a fan. 3 1st OV in a row. Terrible.

    • Oilerchild77

      Do you even pay any attention to what goes on in the NHL?

      Ok, the Yakupov pick was a bit of a head scratcher, but every GM in the league would have drafted Hall and RNH first.

      Don’t try and convince actual hockey fans that other organizations somehow knew something the Oilers didn’t about these picks, because they all know they made the right choice. The problems with the Oilers picks wasn’t in the first round, it was every round after that where they sh!t the bed (and I guess the Yak pick, can’t argue that one).

      To compound the problem, the Oilers forced these 18 year-old kids into a situation where they were expected to turn the organization around because they had absolutely no depth to hide them behind. As a result, we now have fans like you thinking and trying to tell everybody else that these guys were basically busts. Give your head a shake.

  • socaldave

    Just look at Chiarelli’s quote for more that two seconds – Nuge will absolutely be on the team, and by the time the tournament starts, nobody will care who was part of the original sixteen or not. It’s just not worth getting worked up over – Chia’s pretty much guaranteed Nuge’s spot on the team. Relax.

  • Is there still going to be an IIHF world championship this summer?
    I’m pretty sure Nuge will be at this nonsense money-spinning pseudo tournament come September if for no other reason than to have him, and the other top Oiler players in better shape come training camp. It’ll be just like an early camp for them.

  • camdog

    RnH is going to make the team. The team picked like 4 Canadian forwards, so nothing to get excited about.

    If his facoff percentage was better he would have made the team off the start.The only question with RnH is if he’ll play centre or the wing?

  • Oiler Al

    See McLellan go his appendage [Woodcroft] on the team to likely run the power play.

    Woodcroft hopefully organizes a better scheme than he has with the Oilers!!! Give this guy a boat load of number one picks or all-star types and he still can’t figure it out.

    PS: He will be in trouble in the “Worlds” as he won’t have Letestu on the power play.