Source: Codie McLachlan/Getty Images North America
This morning I was thinking to myself who else could’ve we selected instead at the 2011 NHL draft, forgive me but there wasn’t nearly as much drama as the Taylor or Tyler and the Yak or Murray drafts. I do remember that we needed to draft a centre, so had to go back and look at the top ten, it seems that there were a few other options for the middle.
It’s hard to believe that the Nuge is the ONLY all star from this list, so far. I have to note that none of these centres have developed into pure scoring threats. Third overall pick, Huberdeau put up a comparable 105 points (43G, 62A) in 67 games during his draft season – Nuge had 106 (31G, 75A) through 62 games. Since making their NHL debuts, neither player has eclipsed 60 points in a season – Huberdeaus best season was 2015/2016 where he had 43 points (39G, 59A) in 76 games played, the Nuge meanwhile has put up two 56 point campaigns. When you compare the two, I think the Oilers made the right choice in selecting Ryan.
Now, we could sit here all day and debate the other guys, but let’s face it, the Oilers would’ve never taken them, so there’s no sense in divulging into all of that. I have however left you all a nice comparison chart of all six centres NHL careers thus far.
Aside from that ugly -43 in that chart above, Nugent-Hopkins two way game developed significantly last season. He was thrust into a different role and seemed to do well with the change. It’s unfortunate though, due to the lack of depth down the middle, that Nuge hasn’t had a chance to play alongside McDavid yet.
You have to wonder what Chiarelli is up to in the GM’s office inviting veteran centre Chris Kelly to camp on a PTO. My dreams of seeing Nuge on the wing beside Connor won’t happen at the start of camp as Chia stated that he wants Maroon and Strome on his line, which may mean the Nuge could play with King Leon!
While it’s frustrating to watch Nugent-Hopkins get lost in the shuffle as the core of the Oilers has changed substantially over the last couple seasons, hopefully, this year the lone survivor of that core gets a chance to play a much more offensive role.
Do you think the Nuge will be yuge this season?! Let me know in the comments below or shoot me a tweet @nooorzy.