Ryan Nugent-Hopkins plays in his 800th NHL game
Photo credit:Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
By baggedmilk7 months ago
On June 24th, 2011, the Edmonton Oilers selected Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall at the NHL Entry Draft in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Tonight, Nuge is playing in his 800th game for the Edmonton Oilers.
I remember when the Oilers drafted Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The conversation on this website back in those days was whether the Oilers should take Nuge or Adam Larsson with the first overall pick with a smaller group thinking Sean Couturier should be the guy. Ultimately, as we all know, Steve Tambellini walked up to the mic and called out Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ name from the Red Deer Rebels, locking in the player that was going to be the first line centreman for the next decade and beyond.
What we didn’t expect on Nuge’s draft night was that it would be six more years and a handful of coaches before RNH would find himself in the playoffs, and even longer before the team legitimately had a chance to win. Yet, despite the seemingly endless kicks to the shin that were his early years as an Oiler, Nugent-Hopkins never once complained even as the team and quietly went about his business as the team’s best two-way player. Since the day he arrived, he’s played in every situation you can imagine with linemates of all different calibers, and if ever there was someone to get thrown in front of the camera after a horrible loss you knew our ageless prince would be one of the first people out there. To put it lightly, it wasn’t the most enviable job one could have in this market. Silver linings only keep your spirits afloat for so long, ya know?
Now in his 12th season with the Oilers, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins plays on the best team he’s ever seen around him and I couldn’t be happier that he’s finally seeing some success after some of the horrible seasons he saw earlier in his career. I remember a couple of years early on when the Oilers were basically out by Halloween, and when you think back to those days, it almost makes it more incredible to think that Nuge is still here and playing in his 800th game with the franchise. That milestone puts him only 45 games back of Glenn Anderson for 4th place in team history and 51 games back of Mark Messier for 3rd. That’s an incredible accomplishment for a guy that we used to joke was a toddler not so long ago but is actually a soon-to-be dad that turns 30 years old tomorrow.
Ahead of tonight’s matchup with the Colorado Avalanche, Nugent-Hopkins had registered 233 goals and 398 assists for 631 points in his 799 games played with the Edmonton Oilers. And with plenty of time left on his contract, I can’t wait to see how these numbers change as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins works to become the longest-serving Edmonton Oilers ever. Put another way, I’m still pumped we kept him forever.
NUGENT-HOPKINS’ CAREER SO FAR
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