Leading up to the 2011 draft, Flordiapanthers.com will be highlighting some of the top prospects to look out for. At number 3, the Panthers have a lot of players to choose from. What direction and who will they pick?
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THE SHINNY: The top ranked North American skate according to C.S.S., Nugent-Hopkins led the Western Hockey League in assists (75) while finishing fourth overall in points (106). The 6'0" center was named an Eastern Conference First-Team All-Star this past year.
Nugent-Hopkins has won numerous awards to date, including the 2009-10 WHL Rookie of the Year and 2008 BC Minor Hockey Player of the Year while also being the first overall pick in the 2008 WHL bantam draft.
NHL Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan: “A couple of people high up -- and not naming names -- said Hopkins has the best vision since No. 99 (Wayne Gretzky). That's the highest compliment you can get. But the other thing is the way he competes. He never takes a night off and he works as hard in his own end as he does in the offensive zone and that takes a special player with a special set of skills to do that."
Nugent-Hopkins: “You probably see my speed come out, that’s the first thing. I think I try to use my speed as much as possible. I like to be a play maker. I might get more goals than assists in some tournaments, but I think I'm more of a play maker.”
NHL Team: Pittsburgh & Ottawa NHL Player: Sidney Crosby Shootout Move: "Fake shot, fake backhand, back to forehand" Movie: Legends of the Fall Website: facebook.com Pump-Up Song: 'Savior' by Rise Against Sport (other than hockey): Football
Nugent-Hopkins, who turns 18 Tuesday, tops Central Scouting's final rankings as the No. 1 North American skater available for the 2011 Entry Draft, to be held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., June 24-25.
Nugent-Hopkin Exceeding High Expectations (4.06.11) Red Deer Rebels center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins wasn't going to take any of the general managers, scouts and coaches in attendance by surprise in August during the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series.
Barring a major setback, they all knew he would be a certain top-five pick at the 2011 Entry Draft.