Edmonton Oilers: Why Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov Are Future of NHL
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After finishing at or near the bottom of the NHL standings for the past three seasons, the Edmonton Oilers have been provided an extremely unique opportunity with four of the brightest young superstars in the game.
As the game continues to evolve, and as the players adapt, these four potential superstars represent a new breed of player that will thrive in the NHL.
Be it the rugged and skilled Hall, the crafty and talented Eberle, the cerebral Nugent-Hopkins or the explosive Russian dynamo Yakupov, these four Oilers will continue to grow into the future flag bearers of the NHL.
Here are reasons why each of the four players are the future of the NHL.
Taylor Hall: The New Hybrid Star
Hall is young, fast and plays with a ferocity that should remind Oilers fans of a young Mark Messier.
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When the Edmonton Oilers decided to draft Taylor Hall instead of Tyler Seguin, they opted to go with a player who they thought brought an explosive offensive game to a team that struggled on offense.
They also knew they had a player who at times played the game with a bit of reckless abandon, whose speed and all-out attitude on the ice could lead to exciting plays or devastating injuries. It was a chance the Oilers were clearly willing to take.
Hall's game style represents a new breed of NHL superstar.
He's extremely fast, physical and is a pure sniper whose offensive prowess will provide fans with plenty of highlight moments for many years to come.
Hall also has a bravado about him that is sometimes missing from the game today. Perhaps it's due to the fact that he is young and talented as well as the fact that he is surrounded by other young and talented players on the rebuilding Oilers franchise, but the swagger the young winger has brought to the Oilers is infectious.
Whatever it is, his attitude has translated on the ice, and it should only be a matter of time before the former Windsor Spitfire becomes the favorite NHL player for a new generation of young NHL fans.
Jordan Eberle: Captain Material
Eberle's first NHL goal was a preview of things to come for the Oilers and for the NHL.
Jordan Eberle cemented the fact that he was going to be someone to watch in the NHL in his first game for the Edmonton Oilers with one of the best first-career goals of recent memory.
This display of sublime skill was nothing new for Oilers fans, who were already salivating for the young Regina native to make his debut in an Oilers uniform after displaying clutch performances for the Canadian World Junior squad.
Eberle's heroics and clutch performances were mere windows into the potential that the gifted playmaker possesses.
This clutch ability and poise on the ice is something that should easily translate into a positive locker room presence.
The NHL has already seen an increasing number of teams naming young captains; once Shawn Horcoff's stint as captain is over for the Oilers, Eberle should be among one of the top candidates going forward.
Eberle is a new breed of NHL player who is allowed to thrive in the today's NHL thanks to the evolution of the game.
Though he is small in stature, his adept playmaking abilities and vision is something that will allow him to thrive in the NHL.
Gone are the days when players had to be a certain height and weight, as smaller players such as Eberle help to dispel this preconceived notion.
Eberle should open the doors for future NHLers who may not have got a decent look due to a lack of size.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: The Cerebral Playmaker
With his slight frame but gifted vision, "The Nuge" should remind fans of the a former Oiler who was elusive and extremely gifted.
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At only 19 years of age, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins still has time to mature physically, but it's safe to assume that he will never really be a physical player on the ice. Instead, he will utilize his cerebral vision and will play a more elusive game than most of his contemporaries.
"The Nuge" should continue to develop into a player who will thrive in situations to make those around him better.
While he may not win many battles in the corner, he represents the type of player who will rely upon his playmaking abilities and vision on the ice to keep himself out of those types of situations.
Being surrounded by other young talented forwards will elevate Nugent-Hopkins into the upper echelon of NHL forwards.
Between the smooth skating and the on-ice vision, Nugent-Hopkins should only continue to blossom into one of the top young players in the NHL today.
Nail Yakupov: The New Russian Rocket?
Yakupov is a throwback style player who should conjure images of the "Russian Rocket," Pavel Bure.
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Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin represented an evolution in the prototypical Russian superstar when they were drafted. Both players were big, physically imposing players on the ice whose on-ice abilities were second to none.
Nail Yakupov may be short in stature, but his dynamic scoring ability and excellent top-end speed on the ice should draw comparisons to a former Russian dynamo in Pavel Bure.
While Yakupov does have a physical side to his game, it is his speed and tenacity to score goals that should the help the young Oilers forward develop his own reputation as a prolific Russian sniper.
Yakupov has seemingly already started to embrace the spotlight provided by being a top draft pick and should continue to provide headlines both on and off the ice.