NHL Draft Profiles: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
The summer after his rookie season in the WHL, Red Deer Rebels center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is back home in Burnaby, British Columbia. His mission until training camp opens: get stronger.
Nugent-Hopkins is listed at 6-foot and 160 pounds; he has a long way to go before he's physically ready for the NHL. But in terms of hockey skills, he's far ahead of the curve. He didn't turn 17 until April but was able to put up 65 points in 67 regular-season games for the Rebels last season. His 41 assists were fourth among WHL rookies and he won the league's Rookie of the Year award. The only Red Deer player who finished ahead of him in points, Willie Coetzee, is nearly three years his senior.
"When you see him off the ice it's 'how does this kid survive out there?'" says Rebels coach Jesse Wallin. "Yet he never puts himself in a situation where he seems to be in danger. And every time you think he is in trouble he seems to make one or two quick little agile moves and he's out of it."
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