Tonight, the Edmonton Oilers will host the Nashville Predators at Rexall Place in what promises to be an interesting affair. Why interesting? Because the teams come in boasting two unlikely leading scorers.
For Nashville, it’s 31-year-old veteran David Legwand, who leads the team (and is tied atop the NHL leaderboard) with 2G-6A-8PTS through four games.
Yes, Legwand is Nashville’s franchise leader in almost every significant statistical category — goals, assists, points and games played. But that’s more a product of “if you hang around long enough…” than anything else. Legwand’s never been a sniper, breaking the 20-goal plateau just twice and the 50-point plateau once.
Heck, he didn’t score his eighth point until middle of November last season.
As for Nugent-Hopkins (aka: the NHL’s Cam Newton) — the hype amplifier’s been cranked to 11 ever since his hat-trick effort against Vancouver on Saturday. The 18-year-old broke the record for the earliest three-goal game by the first overall pick in an NHL Draft, set by Dale Hawerchuk in 1981.
Hawerchuk did it in his eighth NHL game. Nugent-Hopkins did it in his third.
Heading into tonight, RNH leads the Oilers with four points — all of them goals — and has accounted for 100 percent of Edmonton’s power play scoring this season.
Now, this isn’t to say Nugent-Hopkins’ offensive prowess is a huge surprise. A surprise, sure…but not huge. He did score 106 points in 69 games with Red Deer of the WHL last season. It’s just that the kid was lauded for his vision and passing ability, not goalscoring. Going back to the Netwon comparison, it’s like how everybody lauded him for his athleticism and mobility as a QB…then he came out and threw back-to-back 400-yard games.
That’s where the comparisons stop, though. Netwon is 6’5, 250 lbs. Nugent-Hopkins kinda looks like Ellen Page.