Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Get Him While You Can

Only four months ago, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the first overall pick in the NHL draft. And just like fellow No. 1 pick and teammate Taylor Hall, Nugent-Hopkins has entered the NHL with a splash. He’s played four games this young season and he has four goals. Granted, three of those came in a hat trick performance came in a loss against the defending Western Conference champs Vancouver, but it quite impressive none the less.

Nugent-Hopkins is 18 years old and has already put three pucks past one of the best goalies in the world in Roberto Luongo. That’s something Team USA struggled with in the 2010 gold medal game. Standing at 6’1″ and 175 pounds (very¬†similar¬†build to yours truly) , Nugent-Hopkins entered the NHL via the CHL-Juniors route just like six of the previous seven No. 1 overall draft picks (Erik Johnson in 2006 is the only exception). He played the last two-plus seasons with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. He is no stranger to lighting the lamp as he scored 31 goals and recorded 75 assists last season. He took a team that missed the playoffs in the two seasons before he arrived to two playoff appearances during his time there. Last season, the Rebels won the division title before losing in the second round of the playoffs.

Now that you have a little background information, check back at my season preview when I said he could be NHL ready at 18. I also said he would spend time on the second line and he’s doing just fine anchoring the young talent the Oilers possess. Only if they can get Ales Hemsky back because he suffered a shoulder injury Thursday night and will be out a couple weeks.

In your fantasy league, he could be available. According to some simple research, he is available in 75 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey leagues. He was still available in the Hockey World Blog fantasy league myself, Chris and EB participate in and I had a difficult decision to make. I was pretty set at the Center position as I have John Tavares, Ryan Getzlaf, Logan Couture and Steve Ott. I picked up Ott because Mike Fisher is on IR and I’m still hoping he can produce when he returns to the lineup. I might regret it, but I dropped Couture because he has not started off the way I thought he would be.

Check out this video of his hatty from the Vancouver game.

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