The Edmonton Oilers are headed back to the playoffs for the first time in eleven years. The long awaited playoff appearance is due in large part to Connor McDavid, who is separating himself as the best hockey player in the world. Cam Talbot has stood on his head at times and their defense isn’t a dumpster fire anymore. While the Oilers have to be happy with breakout star Leon Draisatl and phenom Connor McDavid, former 1st overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hasn’t been able to replicate his past success.
Nugent-Hopkins currently has 41 points in 80 games this season playing on a line Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic. His .5 points per game will be the lowest of his career after consistently putting up .6 to .7 points per game in his first five seasons. It can be frustrating for fantasy owners who were expecting Nugent-Hopkins to take the next step in his career. With Connor McDavid garnering most of the attention of the opposing teams it would have seemed that Nugent-Hopkins would get more favorable matchups. Instead he has been thrust into a more defensive role with his offensive zone start percentage being the lowest of his career at 50.6 percent. His defensive zone start percentage is at 49.4 percent the highest of his career. Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said this of Nugent-Hopkins early in the season,
“He’s not going to put up a lot of points or score lots but he does a lot of good things all over the rink and doesn’t get enough credit for it,” said McLellan. “He plays in every situation — on the power play, killing penalties, important face-offs, regular-strength shifts — and he’s gone against some of the best players in the world.”
McLellan obviously sees Nugent-Hopkins contributing more in a defensive role. This role change certainly affects Nugent-Hopkins’ future outlook for dynasty owners. Long term outlook for Nugent-Hopkins will likely be around 50 points per year with his peripheral stats not looking to good either. He’s averaging the lowest ice time per game of his career at 17:45. His face off percentage is 43.6 percent, he has 47 hits, and 35 blocked shots. Definitely not something you want to see out of a player with his skill set.
Rumors have swirled for the past year or so that Nugent-Hopkins was getting shopped for a defenseman. While it seemed likely last offseason that he could get moved, the emergence of Draisatl on McDavid’s wing and McLellan happy with Nugent-Hopkins’ all around play it doesn’t look like he will get moved anymore. Unless he is moved, Nugent-Hopkins isn’t an appealing dynasty asset like he once was. If you are in a league with a deep lineup then perhaps he will add good depth to your team. If I owned Nugent-Hopkins I would be trying to sell him. Shop him around your league is see what you can get. There may be an owner that still values him highly. If you can’t find a buyer holding onto Nuge isn’t horrible considering he will be a decent depth player to have. At all costs do not buy Nugent-Hopkins!
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