He has only played 3 games for the Edmonton Oilers and already, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 4 goals in his very young NHL career.
Last night in the Edmonton Oilers hosted the Vancouver Canucks and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins posted his very first hat trick at Rexall Place.
After receiving some hefty criticism from the hockey pundits about his lack of size and then of course hearing suggestions that he should return to Jr.'s for some seasoning; last night Nugent-Hopkins silenced the doubters with his play, but is it safe to say that the "The Nuge" is here to stay?
"I definitely didn't expect to have that kind of start. I just want to keep it going." said Nugent-Hopkins after scoring his first hat-trick."
His first goal came off of the power-play when "The Nuge" converted on the brilliant feed from Eberle and Hall. His second, was a tip-in from Potter's shot from the point and his third caused a bit of confusion among the referees who originally gave the goal to Hall. After, careful review, the puck did in fact leave #93's stick to grant the kid his first trick.
"It was all very exciting, but it's disappointing that we didn't get the win. There is a lot of other little things I need to do to get a definite spot on the team. I'm going to be working as hard as I can at both ends of the ice." said Nugent-Hopkins.
While Nugent-Hopkins admits that he does have some areas to work on, however with 6 games remaining in his "probationary period" it would be ludicrous for the Oilers ship the 18 year-old back to Red Deer. In fact, Nugent-Hopkins' supporting cast of Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall combined for 7 points yesterday evening and there is no question that this line could in fact be one of the top in the NHL.
At this point it is very clear that Tom Renney likes what he see's with the trio. With less than 2 minutes left in the game, Renney threw out the kids to find that even strength goal. Sadly, the kids couldn't find the back of the net and the Oilers fell 4-3.
"There is a freshness to their game to be honest. There's a certain exuberance and enthusiasm. They can make things happen offensively."
Welcome to Edmonton Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.