Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a center for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. Nugent-Hopkins, selected first overall in the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, was named the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 24 goals and 65 points in 67 games. He was an assistant captain for Team Canada at the Under-18 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and scored the game-winner against Team USA in a 1-0 victory during the gold-medal game. Nugent-Hopkins, who participated in the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.
It was a huge honor to be ranked (No. 3 among North American skaters) by the NHL's Central Scouting this week. To be mentioned with all those other great players is very exciting. But, really, I'm just going to keep working on my game as much as I can from this point forward. Obviously, the goals are harder to come by this year for me (10 goals, 50 points in 39 games), but I'm just going to keep working on it as much as I can.
I'm also looking forward to participating in the (CHL/NHL) Top Prospects Game in Toronto (Jan. 18-19). I'll be flying out of Regina on Monday to get to Toronto. It'll be a great test for me playing with all the top prospects around the CHL. It'll be a lot of fun. It's something I watched as a kid growing up, so I'm excited about it.
I'm pretty happy with my year so far. I'm definitely trying to become a better defensive player this year and I think it's paying off (Nugent-Hopkins is a plus-8 this season). Being a good defensive player is a huge part of the game and it's something I wanted to improve and get better at this year.
We have some big games coming up. I think at the start of the year we were a little more consistent. Maybe we got away from our game recently, but I thought we really stepped it up in our last one against Kootenay (a 6-1 victory). I think we're just going to build off that and keep it going as good as we can. Hopefully, we can string some wins together here.
Being on the road with the guys is good. Every time we're on the road, everyone bonds together and it brings the team tighter as a group.
Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading and check back next month when I'll discuss the prospects' game.