There's no question the Edmonton Oilers future is centered around Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The #1 pick in the 2011 draft has always had a bright future in the NHL ahead of him. The burning question, is the future now? Many teams face the problem with their high 1st rounders. Do we keep him with the big club and pay him now, or return him to juniors for a year of seasoning after his 9 games are up. With the Oilers situation, it's almost certain that the future is now.
The club is off to a 2-2-1 start. Not on fire but showing promise and the hope for fans that they will be playing meaningful hockey come March. I can't envision a world in which the Oilers will send him back. If this organization has any desire to go anywhere this year, he'll stay with the club. His numbers are good. His first hat trick is in the books. He has 4 goals and a helper in 5 games. The more important number, he is plus 1. No defensive liability. This Oilers team is exciting and creative. Its fun to watch. And, even if they struggle, people will pack the arena to watch the possibility of magic between RNH and Taylor Hall.
I hope this team has success. As an Islanders fan, I have suffered years of frustration. I was suspect of the hiring of Garth Snow. But Snow had a plan to rebuild through the draft. The Islanders blue print is finally coming to fruition. The Oilers seem to have taken the same path. This team is young and very talented. There's a few question marks. Goaltending being one of them, But... they should score goals. With RNH, Hall, Hemsky, Gagner and Omark, they have weapons. Adding Ryan Smyth for veteran leadership off the ice and a guy who works hard and has plenty of talent on the ice was a great move. They may not be ready just yet, but the light at the end of the tunnel can't be too far away.
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