Wednesday, November 30, 2011
With his two point performance against the Minnesota Wild, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins through 25 career NHL games has 27 points, which is the highest point total for a rookie since Patrick Kane's rookie season. Here's some food for thought, this time last year, Jeff Skinner and Logan Couture were running away with the rookie scoring race. Through 25 games, RNH has a 7 point cushion over Skinner and 11 point cushion over Couture from this time last year.
We are seeing something truly remarkable, an elite offensive talent that also plays a very good defensive game at the ripe old age of 18. RNH currently sits tied for 4th in NHL scoring, that is unheard of. Not since Sidney Crosby's rookie year has a player that stepped right out of the draft and into the NHL has a player finished top 10 in league scoring.
Naturally there are a lot of games left between now and the end of the season, but the fact that RNH is even there almost a third into his rookie season speaks volumes about what kind of a season he has had to date. Now obviously Kane faltered later in his season as he did not finish the season near a point a game, and we should expect something similar of RNH.
RNH would need to chip in 45 points in his next 57 games (assuming that he plays all 82 like Kane did) to tie Kane's rookie production. While that certainly appears to be a daunting task, I wouldn't bet against RNH's ability to amaze.
Here is a list of where RNH ranks relative to fellow rookies that stepped straight out of the draft into the NHL in recent years.
After 25 Career NHL Games
RNH 11-16-27 +4 49sog.
Kane 7-20-27 +1 68sog.
Tavares 9-11-20 -1 67sog.
Skinner 8-12-20 -3 63sog.
Hall 8-6-14 -5 62sog. 12/2
Stamkos 3-8-11 -12 56sog.
Landeskog 5-6-11 +1 79sog.
Seguin 5-5-10 +2 45sog.
Duchene 3-7-10 -9 48sog.
Gagner 2-8-10 -10 32sog.
Couturier 23gp. 5-3-8 +8 36sog.