Now that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has established that his game does translate at some level in pros, its time for his critics (myself included) to eat some crow. I had no doubt that his hockey sense and his vision would be on showcase in the NHL, its whether or not when push comes to shove and things get hairy out there, would he and the team as a whole, have the resilience to respond, either physically or on the scoreboard.
The Oilers are going to have to hurt teams on the scoreboard. They don't have enough team muscle to go mano a mano and hand out retribution. The Oilers are going to go full Detroit Red Wings on us, and try to hurt 'em on the powerplay. We'll see how that plays out for our young Oilers.
The thing that has impressed me about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is he has brought his full arsenal of tools from Red Deer and has applied them all to his game in the NHL so far this preseason. From positional play, to stripping pucks from behind, to puck commander and distributor, the only thing left for him to show off is his sneaky quick wrist shot. Its rare that a player can bring all of skills quickly from juniors right into the NHL. The Hall-RNH-Eberle will be a petri dish line that all of the NHL will watch closely to see if 3 younger, smaller but highly skilled linemates can not only survive but thrive in today's NHL. If its something that can find a way to sustain the test of time, it will likely be duplicated all over the NHL.
Oilers fans abroad, will bear witness to an experiment that could take over the NHL, move away from the lead footed neanderthals that clog up all kinds of space all over the ice and much like the '80s, bring skill, speed and youth back to the forefront.
Put your goggles on boys, it will be one helluvan experiment to behold.