There’s no way to start talking about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins without first mentioning his ice vision and hockey IQ. He’s a great skater who has drawn comparisons to players like Joe Sakic and Pavel Datsyuk. When he was with the rest of the best in the CHL Prospects Game, he stood head and shoulders as the best player on the ice.
Over the last season with the Red Deer Rebels, he’s impressed scouts with his willingness to improve his two-way game. While no one is going to nominate him for the Selke in the near future, he’s work ethic proves that he won’t be a defensive liability when he makes it to the NHL.
He isn’t the most NHL ready prospect in the draft, but he certainly has the most high-end career potential. If he’s drafted 1st overall as expected, he’ll be setting up Taylor Hall for the next decade.
Weight: 164 lbs
Team: Red Deer (WHL)
2008-09: 2 goals and 4 assists (6 points) in 5 games
2009-10: 24 goals and 41 assists (65 points) in 67 games
2010-11: 31 goals and 75 assists (106 points) in 69 games
“A couple of people high up — and not naming names — said Hopkins has the best vision since No. 99 (Wayne Gretzky). That’s the highest compliment you can get. But the other thing is the way he competes. He never takes a night off and he works as hard in his own end as he does in the offensive zone and that takes a special player with a special set of skills to do that.”
“He is the kind of player everybody wants on their team. Set up men with this vision and focus are extremely rare. He works hard, has an explosive skating stride and is extremely poised, patient and deceptive with the puck. Most of the plays he starts end up as goals.”
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day