According to Central Scouting, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the top ranked North American skater eligible for the 2011 NHL Draft, which will be held this coming Friday in Minnesota. Recent mock drafts on NHL.com have experts in unanimous agreement: Nugent-Hopkins will be the first overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night.
Nugent-Hopkins has spent the last two seasons with the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL. The 18-year-old center had 106 points in 69 games while also boasting a plus-30 rating. He was tied for third in the WHL in scoring, and he led the league with 75 assists.
When I was first asked to do a piece on why Nugent-Hopkins shouldn't be the first overall pick, I admit I was a bit confused. As I looked over his scouting report and his statistics, I failed to see what the drawbacks could be for the Oilers. He has a lot of offensive power, can contribute on the power play and has a good work ethic. What could possibly be the problem?
Well, after some looking around, I think I have come up with five potential reasons the Oilers may not want to draft Hopkins. To help my case, I decided to make some comparisons with his statistics to those of Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall, who were also first round picks for the Oilers in recent drafts.