Edmonton Oilers Must Hold Onto Ryan Nugent-Hopkins


Trade rumors have been swirling around Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a while now. He has struggled somewhat this season. With the emergence of Leon Draisaitl and the inevitable return of phenom Connor McDavid, “Nuge” appears to be in a tough situation with two quality center men.

The appealing aspect is that he has very high trade value as a top centerman, which could undoubtably net the Oilers a very significant return in a deal with another team.

Since the Oil will at some point have to consider dealing a young star on their current roster, it makes sense in the eyes of some people to trade a player with high value. However, I believe that trading Nuge would be a major mistake.

Nugent-Hopkins has been a very useful first-line center. His two-way ability easily stands out the most when you watch him play. Nuge is reliable defensively and I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Oilers have struggled mightily with defensive play for a long time. For the past couple of seasons, Nuge has went up against opposing teams toughest competition on a nightly basis and playing monster minutes often. Since the 2013/2014 season, he has averaged just over 20 minutes per game. In 289 NHL games, Nuge has 211 points. Although he hasn’t posted all star numbers, the fact of the matter is he brings so much more to the table with his versatility and 200 foot game.

There is a calm demeanor about Nuge. He is swift and smooth every time he has the puck. There is no panic in his game. He has great vision and is always looking at the play in front of him. What I like best is his ability to read a play when breaking out of the zone. When he transitions for a breakout he swoops down very low till he is pretty much behind the D-man that has the puck. He then recognizes his lane and skates hard to receive the pass from the defense men and busts down the ice with a wicked fast rush.

The key to a breakout is to start behind the play and have a quick look at whats in front of you. Always swoop low so you time the play perfectly and put yourself in the best position to receive a pass with speed. Nuge always executes this perfectly.

He also possesses a very accurate shot with a lightning quick release. I love his ability to snap a quick wrist shot when he’s skating hard down the wing towards the net. He scores a lot of goals when he shoots from the outside perimeter of the net and finds a hole to sneak the puck through. Particularly on the power play as well, he can always control the play well and add calmness to the flow of puck movement in the offensive zone.

Last year Nuge made an appearance at the 2015 All Star Game in Columbus. The game itself is a joke but just having the honor of being named an all star in the NHL speaks volumes in terms of Nuge’s value and elite level of play. Nuge is an all star.

Let’s not ride off NUge off Nuge just because he has a stretch of mediocre games. Lets not forget he was battling the flu which significantly affected him for a decent amount of time. I see so much of Pavel Datsyuk in Nuge. Maybe not in terms of offensive numbers but I see tremendous parallels in both their offensive and defensive game. Not to mention if you trade a player like Nuge, there will be a massive hole on the roster.

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Players of Nuge’s quality are very hard to come by in this day and age, so do not get rid of a player like that unless you get equal value in return. A player of Nuge’s experience is extremely valuable to a young team like the Oil. Nuge is a keeper.