Saturday, June 25, 2011

Oilers Update - Oilers Welcome Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Edmonton Oilers fans can finally take a deep breath after witnessing a very entertaining weekend in St. Paul Minnesota.

With the number one pick, Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini went up to the podium with a golden smile and announced the Oilers newest member: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

First overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers poses for a photo portrait during day one of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 24, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota.Every hockey pundit and expert predicted for Nugent-Hopkins to go numero uno and there is no doubt in the minds of all Oilers fans that Hopkins is the best choice.  For Nugent-Hopkins, he is still trying to shake off some of the nerves.

“I don’t know what was going through my head. I was just so happy to hear my name,” said Nugent-Hopkins. 

“Coming into Edmonton as much as I did, I’ve seen the pictures of the old teams. To join a franchise like the Oilers, that’s a really good feeling” he said.

Clearly, Nugent-Hopkins is aware of the Oilers dynasty and the many players who literally left their numbers up in the rafters.  With so many young talented players already in the mix of the organization, it is almost impossible to ignore a brand new vibe in the making.  With Taylor Hall, Linus Omark, Magnus Paajarvi, Jordan Eberle and now the newest addition with Nugent-Hopkins, could there be another dynasty on the horizon in the City of Champions? 

"I joined a rebuilding Red Deer team last season and I really liked what we accomplished there in my two years. Edmonton’s going through the same thing, only in the NHL. The ultimate goal is to win a Stanley Cup and doing it in a rebuild ... I’d like that,” he said.

For those who are unaware of the skill and the ability from that lanky kid from Burnaby, B.C, there is something very uncanny about him worth noting.  While it is very impossible to compare an unproven rookie with any of the NHL Hall of Famers, Chief Scout of Hockey Canada, Kevin Prendergast is convinced that Hopkins plays like that skinny guy from Brantford, Ont.

"Who does he play like? I hate to say it, but it’s Gretzky. He’s not big, they say he’s not that fast, but he’ll play in traffic. The puck follows him around and if he loses it, he goes and gets it back. He’s got the Detroit (Red Wings) mentality there.”  (watch video and see why)

At any rate what the Oilers do have in the arsenal is a high end #1 centre.  The kid can pass, shoot and has the vision, the hockey sense and the ability, to make the rest of his players around him better.

Couple him with Taylor Hall and/or Jordan Eberle and you will probably be witnessing the most dynamic and scariest lines in the NHL.  

However, to foreshadow the events for the newly anointed #1 pick, it is safe to say that  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will find himself back in Red Deer and perhaps be given a shot at a Gold Medal at the World Juniors in December.

Don't worry folks, the wait will be worth it.

Believe it.

“That wouldn’t disappoint me, playing again in Red Deer. Another year in junior wouldn’t hurt me,” he said.

And it certainly won't hurt the Oilers.

Day 2 of the 2011 Entry Draft Oilers Picks

The Edmonton Oilers finished their second day at the draft and picked up a couple of names very familiar to the Oilers past.

Chosen at 31st David Musil and Dillon Simpson (92nd) are son's of former Oilers Frank Musil and Craig Simpson. 

Below is the rest of the players picked up by the Oilers in order.

Draft Day 1

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (C) 1st 
Oscar Klefbom (D) 19th 

Draft Day 2

David Musil (D) 31st, 
Samu Perhonen (G) 62nd
Travis Ewanyk (LW) 74th 
Dillon Simpson (D) 92nd 
Tobias Rieder (C) 114th 
Martin Gernat (D) 122nd 
Frans Tuohimaa (G) 182nd overall

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