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Will RNH shake off the sophomore struggles and develop into one of the NHL's elite players?
Unfortunately for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, his sophomore season hasn't gone quite as planned.
After registering 18 goals and 34 assists in his rookie campaign, 'The Nuge' has only managed to score three goals this season and a total of 22 points.
Though the points haven't been there this year, Nugent-Hopkins has continued to develop into one of the Oilers' most valuable players, and with another season under his belt he should be primed to take the next step in his career while entering his third season in 2013-2014.
In the next five seasons Nugent-Hopkins could develop into one of the NHL's premier playmakers, he has the on-ice vision and the elusiveness with the puck to avoid taking serious hits while finding his open teammates.
Assuming that he re-signs with Edmonton after next season, and continues to grow with the teams' young nucleus of players, his point totals should continue to rise.
RNH has the ability to be both a goal scorer and a set-up man, and while comparisons to Pavel Datsyuk may be unfair at this time, the potential is certainly there for the Burnaby native to climb the ranks of the NHL's elite.
2013-2014: 15G - 40A - 55P
Assuming RNH can regain the form he enjoyed in his rookie season, he should register at least 50 points.
2014-2015: 21G - 43A - 64P
This should be the year that RNH starts to take the next step, his fourth year in the league should see his offensive zone faceoff percentage rise, leading to an increase in points. He should also have filled out his slight frame by this point as well, making him even harder to take off of the puck.
2015-2016: 25G - 45A - 70P
It remains unseen whether or not RNH can take the next step but if he does continue to improve and grow with his teammates it's not a reach to assume he'll be at least a 70 point player by his fifth season in the NHL.
2016-2017: 28G - 45A - 73P
If Nugent-Hopkins hasn't made the jump to elite status in the NHL by now, his point totals will likely hover around the 60-70 point plateau. However if he has found his stride in the league and asserted his role on a team, the points could roll in.
2017-2018: 30G - 45A
It's hard to imagine where a player will be five seasons from now, but assuming that injuries haven't occurred and progression is being made, I think Nugent-Hopkins will hit at least 30 goals by this point in his career.