Blog Entry

Recent No. 1 picks going straight to NHL

Posted on: August 8, 2011 9:46 am
Edited on: August 9, 2011 3:22 pm
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By: Adam Gretz

Fans in Edmonton were able to get an up close look at their most recent No. 1 overall pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, at team Canada's prospect development camp this past week, and the early returns are very promising. He helped cap off a come-from-behind win for the White team during their Red-White scrimmage on Saturday, tying the game in the third period and then winning it with 20 seconds to play.

Donna Spencer of the Canadian Press wrote about the skills he displayed on Friday, while Oilers forward Ryan Smyth, and potentially a teammate of Nugent-Hopkins this upcoming season, called him a "nifty little player" after sitting behind the bench for the Red team during the scrimmage.

It's still not known whether or not he's going to play in the NHL this season, but if recent history is any indicator, it would seem to be a mild upset if he didn't. Going back to 1997 there have been 11 forwards taken with the top pick in the NHL draft, and 10 of them made their debut the same year they were drafted. The only player that didn't, technically speaking, was Washington's Alex Ovechkin, and that was due to circumstances beyond his and his team's control: the NHL lockout. Had it not been for the work stoppage he would have been a lock to make his debut.

What can be reasonably expected of Nugent-Hopkins should he play for the Oilers this upcoming season? Here's a look at what the recent straight-to-the-NHL top picks have done during their rookie seasons:

Top Picks NHL Draft Rookie Season
Player Games Goals Assists Points Avg. Mins. Per Game
Taylor Hall (2010) 65 22 20 42 18:12
John Tavares (2009) 82 24 30 54 18:00
Steven Stamkos (2008) 79 23 23 46 14:56
Patrick Kane (2007) 82 21 51 72 18:21
Sidney Crosby (2005) 81 39 63 102 20:07
Alex Ovechkin (2005)* 81 52 54 106 21:37
Rick Nash (2002) 74 17 22 39 13:06
Ilya Kovalchuk (2001) 65 29 22 61 18:34
Patrik Stefan (1999) 72 5 20 25 14:48
Vincent Lecavalier (1998) 82 13 15 28 13:39
Joe Thornton (1997) 55 3 4 7 8:05

*Ovechkin's first season came after the lockout, which was a year after his draft year.

With the exception of Patrik Stefan, every one of these players has gone on to be a productive player or a star player in the NHL (the jury is still out on Taylor Hall at this point after just one season, but we like his chances).

What's a reasonable expectation for Nugent-Hopkins should he play for the Oilers this season? Well, nobody should expect Crosby/Ovechkin levels because those guys are from a different planet. But 20 goals seems like it would be a solid goal based on recent performances by other top picks, assuming he's able to withstand the physical toll of the NHL. And that seems to be the chief concern for Nugent-Hopkins; it's not his skill or ability, but simply whether or not he has the strength to do it at this point. He currently weighs in at 175 pounds according to Spencer's Canadian Press report from over the weekend. That would make him one of the smallest players in the league

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Comments
kkjyywlpo
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 15, 2011 6:40 pm
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kkjyywlpo
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 15, 2011 5:17 pm
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Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: August 10, 2011 1:01 pm
 

Recent No. 1 picks going straight to NHL

Does this have to get brought up again?  Yes, you can say the Pens tanked to get Mario.  But that argument doesn't hold for Crosby.

Coming out of the lockout all teams started with 3 chances to get the #1 overall pick-Crosby.  You lost a chance if you'd had a #1 overall during the past 3 seasons and another if you'd made the playoffs.  The Pens had no #1 overall picks during that time and hadn't made the playoffs.  They'd played poorly since they'd had bad teams, not to get a better chance at the pick since if they'd played bad enough to be a #1 overall they'd have lost a chance.

Two more things:
1- The Pens traded up from the #3 spot to get Fleury at #1 so that didn't count as having the #1 overall.
2- The Caps tanked the end of the season before the lockout(traded away Jagr, Gonchar...)' finished next to last and jumped the Pens in the lottery that year to have the #1 overall-Ovechkin(Pens took Malkin).  Because of that the Pens didn't have a #1 overall that year, had the extra chance in the post-lockout lottery and were able to pick Crosby.

Yes, the Caps tanking helped give the Pens Crosby and Malkin.

(If that hadn't of happened, Ovechkin would be in Pittsburgh, Malkin in DC and who knows where Crosby would be....Anaheim?)



Since: Jan 10, 2008
Posted on: August 10, 2011 12:25 pm
 

Recent No. 1 picks going straight to NHL

well documented that Pittsburgh tanks for players....arguing it mekes you look silly



Since: Jul 1, 2009
Posted on: August 9, 2011 10:30 pm
 

Recent No. 1 picks going straight to NHL

well #2 and #3 were the sedins and what was Atlanta going to do - break those two up?



Since: Jul 17, 2011
Posted on: August 9, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Recent No. 1 picks going straight to NHL

wow stefan brutal pick



Since: Aug 7, 2009
Posted on: August 9, 2011 2:33 pm
 

Recent No. 1 picks going straight to NHL

Marc, you still got Kirk Muller. And the Pens only clinched the first pick on the last day of the season, so the Devils must have been tanking pretty good too. Just not good enough. As far as Crosby, we didn't even have the best chance in the lottery that year, there were three other teams with three balls. Things could have been worse, the Rangers also had three balls.



Since: Nov 13, 2008
Posted on: August 9, 2011 1:46 pm
 

Recent No. 1 picks going straight to NHL

At least nobody else tanks their season (twice) like Pittsburgh to get a no. 1 pick.



Since: Apr 1, 2011
Posted on: August 9, 2011 1:35 pm
 

Recent No. 1 picks going straight to NHL

"KANER"




Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: August 9, 2011 11:47 am
 

Recent No. 1 picks going straight to NHL

hahahahah,  Good Catch on the Math!!!


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