Nathan MacKinnon is a serious contender to follow in the footsteps of players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins by being selected with the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
In the meantime, MacKinnon and Nugent-Hopkins are roommates during Team Canada’s selection camp for the upcoming 2013 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. That’s providing MacKinnon with an ideal opportunity to learn from someone who has recently been through a lot of the same obstacles that MacKinnon will face.
“I got the chance to talk with him and I told him to play his game,” Nugent-Hopkins said, according to the Oilers’ website. “He got here for a reason. In practice he looks great — as long as he can put the nerves aside, he’ll be great.”
Nugent-Hopkins speaks from experience. Like MacKinnon, he attempted to make Team Canada as a 17-year-old, but his nerves ultimately got the better of him and he didn’t make the squad.
Fortunately for MacKinnon, high pressure situations don’t easily phase him.
“That’s going to be big for him in his career,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “Off the ice, he doesn’t seem like a 17-year-old. On it, you can tell how much skill he has.”