Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
25-Year-Old Left WingLW
Edmonton Oilers
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Nugent-Hopkins is primed for a breakout 2018-19 campaign. Had he played a full 82 games last season and not been bogged down by rib and lower-body injuries, the electrifying playmaker would've had no problem eclipsing his career high in points given that he accrued 24 goals and just as many helpers over 62 contests. Of course, playing alongside generational talent Connor McDavid certainly helped, and since he's projected to reprise that cushy assignment, RNH should remain a no-frills, set-and-forget fantasy opton. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a seven-year, $42 million extension with the Oilers in September of 2013.
Flirting with point-per-game pace
LWEdmonton Oilers
November 30, 2018
Nugent-Hopkins registered a pair of assists -- including a power-play setup -- with the Oilers eking out a 3-2 home win over the Kings on Thursday.
Nugent-Hopkins indirectly factored into Jesse Puljujarvi's goal to open the scoring in the game, and then the heady vet set the table for defenseman Oskar Klefbom's game-winning tally with 2:20 remaining in the third frame. RNH has never finished out a given campaign with a point-per-game average, but this could be the year that he accomplishes that feat since he's currently operating at a pace of 0.96 PPG.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Nugent-Hopkins had a mixed bag of a 2016-17 season -- he saw his role reduced as Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl held the top two center spots with iron grips, and he managed just 43 points, but the 2011 draft’s top pick was able to stay healthy for all 82 games and set a new career high in shots on goal (200) despite a decline in usage both at even strength and on the power play. While that improvement in efficiency is promising, Nuge remains stuck in the No. 3 center role, which limits his fantasy upside entering the 2017-18 campaign; it'll be hard for the 24-year-old to crack 50 points even if he continues enjoying second-unit power-play time. The fact of the matter is, he’s getting paid way too much money ($6 million a year) for the way the Oilers are using him, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him get shipped out of town in the next year or two if they can find a willing taker with a top-six role available.
Nugent-Hopkins already has three 50-point NHL seasons to his name at just 23 years of age, yet he’ll have to fight tooth and nail to win a top-six role over fellow young centers Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. A broken finger limited 2011’s first overall pick to just 55 games in 2015-16, but his 34 points in that span would’ve prorated to yet another 50-point campaign. However, he did see his shot rate fall – after averaging 2.49 shots per game the previous season, RNH wasn’t able to crack even the 2.00 mark last year. If the Oilers finally do make the leap into playoff contention, it’ll likely be in part because Nugent-Hopkins takes a leap of his own. If they don’t, expect yet another season of decent scoring and subpar plus-minus.
Nugent-Hopkins’ game will actually be helped, not hurt, by the arrival of Connor McDavid. Think of it as a 1A/1B situation, at least in the short term. The Oil can now effectively split up its top-heavy forward corps and work with pairs. RNH and Jordan Eberle are a natural fit, and so are McDavid and Taylor Hall. And the trio of RNH, Eberle, and Benoit Pouliot was especially impressive late in 2014-15. Nugent-Hopkins has finally started to fill out that slender frame, and that should help him navigate the rugged Western Conference a little easier. Consistent linemates in a more structured system could deliver career totals in goals and points. Add it all up, and you’ve finally got a guy who deserves to be drafted where he’s been picked in the past.
Nugent-Hopkins will anchor what could be one of the best young lines in hockey (RNH, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall) this season. That being said, RNH needs to not only stay healthy, but produce from the get-go if that line is to reach its full potential. Despite a wealth of talent, RNH still has yet to score more than 19 goals or record more than 56 points in a season. He won't be drafted among the top 10 centers, but he certainly has the upside to end up there eventually. Just not this year. Sixty points are possible, but a big jump in his production is more likely to come in 2015-16. And only you know where a 55- or 60-point center with a painful plus-minus fits in your format.
RNH was the top pick in the 2011 draft and has yet to fully live up to his billing. He underwent shoulder surgery in April and while he is expected to be 100% healthy prior to training camp, that's the kind of injury that could give fantasy players cause for concern. The good news is that Nugent-Hopkins plays on one of the better lines in the NHL and should produce good fantasy points just by osmosis. But he would benefit by being just a little more selfish and shooting the puck more rather than always trying to dish out helpers to his linemates, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. He's not a true number one center yet, but there's still time for that. He'll have a good season and should take a step to the 65-point level.
The future is so bright for Nugent-Hopkins that he should wear shades. The top pick in the 2011 Entry Draft did not disappoint in his rookie season, scoring 18 goals and 52 points. RNH should only get better with experience and has plenty of offensive firepower to play alongside Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall, and possibly even the top overall pick from this season, Nail Yakupov. He is a player to target earlier, rather than later, in fantasy drafts as he will be one of the key players that will lead Edmonton back to respectability.
The first overall pick in this year's draft, Nugent-Hopkins has great vision and will be a tremendous playmaker in time. That time, however, may not be the beginning of this season as he is only 170 pounds and will need to beef up in order to take the pounding that comes along with playing in the NHL. He is a player to remember in dynasty leagues who will be playing on a line with Taylor Hall before long.
Agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level deal with the Oilers in July 2011.
More Fantasy News
Scores in win
LWEdmonton Oilers
November 21, 2018
Nugent-Hopkins potted a goal and fired three shots on net in Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Sharks.
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Off to spectacular start
LWEdmonton Oilers
November 18, 2018
Nugent-Hopkins posted a secondary assist in Sunday's 6-3 home loss to the Golden Knights.
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Sets up goal in defeat
LWEdmonton Oilers
November 6, 2018
Nugent-Hopkins notched an assist on Leon Draisaitl's power-play goal in a 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
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Delivers two assists in loss
LWEdmonton Oilers
November 5, 2018
Nugent-Hopkins racked up two assists in Monday's 4-2 road loss to the Capitals.
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Scoring binge continues
LWEdmonton Oilers
October 25, 2018
Nugent-Hopkins provided a shorthanded goal and an even-strength assist in Thursday's 4-1 win over Washington.
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