Born April 12, 1993 (age 18) in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Center for the Edmonton Oilers
Krista and I had the privilege of seeing Nugent-Hopkins’ first NHL goal last night and figured we should definitely give him Man of the Day, between that and his being drafted first overall this year. He started out playing in his hometown, serving as the captain of the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins when he was drafted to the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels in 2008 (he was also drafted first overall at this time). Though he was drafted, he spent some more time in the minors, helping the Bruins get a gold (’07) and silver (’08) medal in Western Canada Bantam Championships. He was named tournament MVP in 2008. He also played for the Vancouver NW Giants, was named a tournament MVP for that league too and won the 2008 British Columbia Minor League Hockey Player of the Year Award–again all before he ever debuted for the Rebels, which he did in 2008-09 as an underage player. He didn’t play the entirety of that season, so 2009-10 was his rookie year. In that season, he played 67 games and got 65 points, plus WHL rookie of the year.
Ranked sixth overall by International Scouting heading into the 2011 draft, Nugent-Hopkins was selected first overall by Edmonton and got a three-year entry level contract soon thereafter. He was seen in some of Edmonton’s preseason games, but made his NHL debut on October 9 in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was in this game that he scored his very first NHL goal ever–yes, he scored in his first professional-level game. He was named the third star of the game. Teammate Ryan Whitney, who couldn’t play due to an injury, complimented him later on Twitter, saying: “Great win for the boys over a really good Penguins team. Rexall place was bumping. Cant wait to get back out there. The Nuge on pace for 82.” Let’s hope Whitney’s prediction is right; Nugent-Hopkins could be a huge part of Edmonton’s success this season.