While doing some research for upcoming articles about Sean Couturier and Adam Larsson, I noticed that Nugent-Hopkins has an abysmal points from goals ratio of 29.2 percent. I wasn't sure if this should be a concern. After all, Henrik Sedin had a 20.2 percent ratio this year. As you can tell from the title, we should be very, very concerned.
I went back through the last 20 years of NHL entry drafts and compared Hopkins' 29.2 percent to either the first overall pick, or the first forward picked if first overall happened to be a defenceman or goalie. I'll simply list the results here:
1990) Owen Nolan, 46.3 percent
1991) Eric Lindros, 47.6 percent
1992) Alexei Yashin, 58.3 percent
1993) Alexandre Daigle, 32.8 percent
1994) Radek Bonk, 48.2 percent
1995) Chad Kilger, 44.2 percent
1996) J.P. Dumont, 45.7 percent
1997) Joe Thornton, 33.6 percent
1998) Vincent Lecavalier, 38.2 percent
1999) Patrick Stefan, 31.4 percent
2000) Dany Heatley, 50 percent
2001) Ilya Kovalchuck, 58.1 percent
2002) Rick Nash, 44.4 percent
2003) Eric Staal, 39.7 percent
2004) Alexander Ovechkin, 54.1 percent
2005) Sidney Crosby, 39.2 percent
2006) Jordan Staal, 41.1 percent
2007) Patrick Kane, 42.7 percent
2008) Steven Stamkos, 55.2 percent
2009) John Tavares, 55.7 percent
2010) Taylor Hall, 37.7 percent
The numbers in bold are those players who scored less than 35 percent of their points from goals. As you can see, not the best track record. One is the most famous bust in history, and the other is best known for missing empty nets. Only Joe Thornton became an elite NHL player.
Other players I looked at that were drafted near the top of the draft that had less than 35 percent include Jason Bonsignore (25.5 percent), Paul Kariya (25 percent), Boyd Devereaux (34.4 percent), Olli Jokinen (34.1 percent) and Scott Hartnell (32.9 percent).
Out of the 20 years of history I studied eight players did not reach the 35 percent threshold in their draft years. Four of the eight are what I would consider as outright busts. Two became PPG players over the course of their careers, Olli Jokinen had a couple good years and Scott Hartnell? Well he's a useful player, but was he really worth the sixth overall pick?
History tells us that if the Oilers select Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall, they will have a 50 percent chance of him being a bust. I don't know about you, but those odds don't exactly inspire confidence in me.
One only has to look at the Oilers own drafting history to see red flags. In 1994 the Oilers selected Jason Bonsignore fourth overall. He had less than 35 percent, and he busted. Two picks later they chose Ryan Smyth, his ratio was 47.6 percent.
What about the players Hopkins is continually compared to, Joe Sakic and Pavel Datsyuk? Sorry, no dice. 45.1 percent and 37.5 percent respectively in their draft years.
Would it be a mistake for Steve Tambellini to select Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall?
Maybe it's a different story at even strength? Actually yes. As in a much worse story. At EV, Nugent-Hopkins' points from goals ratio plummets all the way down to 22.9 percent. What exactly qualifies this guy to be the first overall pick?
In fact, RNH's 29.2 percent is the second worst mark amongst Central Scouting's top 30 North American forwards, ahead of only Shane Prince. The average among these forwards? Forty-three percent.
If Ryan Nugent-Hopkins does end up going first overall, his points from goals ratio will be the worst for a top draft pick by the Oilers since Jason Bonsignore. The same Jason Bonsignore who played a grand total of 79 games in the NHL, and scored all of 16 points in those games.
I will now issue a challenge to any supporters of the Nuge reading this; refute my claims. Prove me wrong. Please, I would love nothing more than for there to be some evidence that Hopkins is projecting to be anything more than Pierre Marc Bouchard, because right now I'm not seeing it.
Until then, I ask you: What qualifies Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to be the first overall pick?