There is a day(s) long debate going on over at Lowetide dealing with whether or not Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a legitimate #1C.
There is a lot of blather about how he’s playing tough competition, is hampered by the Oilers lack of puck moving defensemen and is playing with stiffs.
That, of course, is nonsense.
Many other recent draft picks face those same obstacles and are having much more success than Hopkins.
Hopkins had a great rookie season buoyed by an unsustainable 13.4 shooting percentage but has settled to a more normal 10.6 career shooting percentage. The larger sample size is, of course, much more representative of what we can expect going forward.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Hopkins is a very good hockey player and he may have another level to get to but he just doesn’t produce the scoring numbers to be a #1C NOW and based on what we’ve seen he may never reach that level.
Hopkins is currently ranked 64th in 5V5 P/60 at 1.69 (very mediocre)
On the PP he is currently ranked 96th at 2.15 (that is dreadful).
If we look at his draft class (2011) Gabriel Landeskog has more GP, more goals and more points.
Landeskog also plays with a porous defense, plays the toughest competition and is far and away better than Hopkins at evens (1.81) and on the PP (3.88)
This isn’t close folks.
There are many young centres in the Hopkins age range that are out producing him 5V5:
Ryan Strome: 2.77
Josh Bailey -2.62
Tyler Seguin – 2.54
Nick Bonino – 2.28
Matt Duchene – 2.22
Alex Galchenyuk – 2.17
Nick Bjugstad – 2.10
Ryan Johansen – 2.09
Nathan MacKinnonn – 1.91
Hopkins – 1.69
GCW-Rocks has been fighting a valiant fight over at Lowetide trying to convince the hive mind there that Hopkins is likely a very good #2C but the force of the hive is convinced that Hopkins is the next Pavel Datsyuk.
While that may be true, it’s also possible Hopkins is the next Tyler Bozak.
I’d put my money on the latter.