Simon Bennett speaks with Dan Tencer about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

By , July 10, 2011 5:43 pm
The Nuge helps Khabibulin start up his car

The Nuge helps Khabibulin start up his car

Today Dan Tencer did an interview with Oilers Fitness Consultant Simon Bennett about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ physical development.

Here’s a quick but important quote from the article:

Bennett laughs that he was asked the same question, over and over and over again, by the Oilers management and scouting staff in the time leading up to the Entry Draft last month. He gave me the same explanation that he gave the club throughout the draft process: Nugent-Hopkins isn’t being drafted to be a body builder.

In other words, they don’t need the kid to excel at the bench press, they need him to excel in areas like balance, agility and explosiveness.



Do you think Ryan Nugent-Hopkins WILL make the team this year?

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24 Responses to “Simon Bennett speaks with Dan Tencer about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins”

  1. Racki says:

    Lowetide also has an article up now about RNH over at Oilers Nation… here’s a good quote from it too:

    Question: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins may not be the most impressive straightaway skater–because of age and development–but he has that great first step quickness. Do you measure that and if you do how do you measure that?
    Serdachny: I’d probably agree with your first statement that has incredible first step quickness but I disagree with your other comment. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a dynamic skater who in my opinion would probably be at an upper end NHL speed right now. He’s quick and strong, has explosive quickness and dynamic speed. He has multi-directional ability and the control he has and his edges and mobility on and off the puck are exceptional. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would fit in the category of very strong NHL skater and he’s just going to get better.

    Check out the rest of the article here.

  2. chucker says:

    Nice to read. You can never have too many fast skaters. I still think he’s going to the Rebels matter what though.

  3. zackman35 says:

    Great caption! And Bennett is spot on, o course, but that’s a pretty generic answer. RNH will be hitting up the squat rack/deadlifts no doubt because it’s one of the best ways to build the legs and core stability along with some olympic lifts I would think. 

    I would say if he wants some “big legs” he’s going to have to squat/deadlift at least 2x body weight. One of the most exciting things about RNH is how he will develop physically. If he’s dominating the W at his current stature what happens hen he puts another 10-15lbs lean mass on his core/legs?

    EDIT: I agree with Chucker too with RNH playing with the Rebels, there’s a lot of competition, or more, for the center position then there has been in some time and why rush RNH to the show. At this point he has lots he can still learn in the juniors where he has a lot less pressure to win games and gives him more time to grow and mature physically. Unlike Hall, where he was already a decent size and won pretty much whatever could have been achieved in the OHL, I think RNH could reap the benefits of playing another year and attending and competing in the World Juniors.

  4. Racki says:

    I’m not saying that RNH SHOULDN’T go back to Junior, but I’m not so certain he will. 1st overall picks rarely don’t play in the NHL right out of the draft, especially at the forward position.

    The last forward to not play in the NHL straight out of the draft (excluding due to the lockout) was Eric Lindros, and that was because of him being a douchebag and not wanting to play for the Nords. Alexandre Daigle was also returned to Junior after a bad year (and well, he had a very disappointing career, as we all know, so I think he just wasn’t really anywhere near as good as he was thought to be).

    Excluding those two exceptions, you have to go all the way back to 1989… Mats Sundin didn’t play in the NHL that first year after the draft (he played in the SEL).

    Now, all that said, I do realize that just because the last 14 forwards drafted 1st overall either did play in the NHL right away or should have (in Lindros’ case) doesn’t mean that RNH should. But I don’t think he’ll go back. I’ve been on the “send him back to Junior train” most of the time though. But really, I think it all depends on how camp goes. If he comes in flying, then I am thinking he stays with the team. We’ve got those 9 games or whatever to evaluate him.

    I hate to waste a year on his entry level contract, but it’s all about pushing him to his limit and making him the best player possible. If it is at the NHL level that he needs to be in order to really push himself and get the most out of him, so be it.

    However, I will say that I’d really like Lander to have a crack at making the team too. RNH making the team this year makes it hard to see a guy like Lander or Hartikainen in the lineup, doesn’t it?

    Anyways, humoring RNH making the team, I kind of wonder where he’ll fit in at center. But word is from “the Sourceress” (as I call her) that the Oilers are trying to move not just Cogliano but Gagner too. Eep. I sure hope this kid (the Nuge) is as good as we think he is!

    Btw, I definitely wouldn’t be upset at all if he goes back to junior for another year, but I’d sure be ecstatic if he stays with the team because he blows the doors off everyone in TC + his 9 game eval. We’ll see though..

  5. Jay says:

    Does Steve have a brother named Dan Serdachny? I played Bantaam AA with a guy named Daniel Serdachny. Okay, I am actually that old, lol…

  6. chucker says:

    Yeah, I was aware of the first overall history. He could very well stay, however, I look at Gagner and think, let’s take our time with RNH. Sane with Cogs. Same with Brule. All were rushed, and not for the better in my view. Having said that, none of those guys were as good or pegged to be as good as RNH.

    I would love to see him go to the WJC no matter what, even if he makes the team. It is such a huge learning experience. We should have done the same with Gagner too. I even said so at the time.

    I am really liking the competition in our depth chart now. No free passes. No matter what happens, it should be a fun year with lots of competition.

    I am still hoping somehow Tambo signs Fasth and dumps Khabbi.

  7. dawgtoy says:

    A very important quote from LT, one that I completely agree with.
    ” It’s also important to remember that despite being slender, RNH is very elusive and part of that skill set involves his playing at (what will be around) 175 pounds this fall.”
    What makes him special is that he is elusive, and slick, and quick, and move well laterally. Change the size and dynamic of the player, you change the reasons he was drafted. A cliche expression that I love is ” it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” I have been firmly in the RNH camp from early on, and I feel the size thing has been tremendously overblown.

  8. Racki says:

    Chucker: Hard to argue any of that. I don’t want to rush him either. At this point we have a pretty exciting lineup with or without RNH, so he doesn’t *need* to play here for the same reason Gagner did (most fans were crying for it to happen because they wanted the excitement of a potential young star here).

    I think RNH will go where is best for him. If he goes back to junior, it’s because he can benefit from it and has things to work on. If he stays here, it will be because he’s a heck of a player already. The Oilers don’t really have reason to rush him. Hall and Eberle alone could keep fans entertained here for years. But I definitely wouldn’t rule out RNH staying here either.

  9. chucker says:

    Agreed. If he stays it’s because he’s ready and not because the fans need some hope.

  10. zackman35 says:

    I posted lines earlier and both I and Chucker mentioned in the post(s) above that we finally have decent depth at center, or enough to not force RNH into the line-up.

    Currently at center we have,

    Horcoff, Gagner, Belanger, arguably Cogs/Brule and by the sounds of it Lander is pushing for a position. So even if we get rid of two of these players (because I can’t see them pushing to the wing unless we trade Omark), Lander is a likely and suitable candidate to move up the depth chart.

    I really don’t see a benefit of RNH moving up the depth chart this quickly, especially since now we have some time for him to play in the juniors or even the AHL. I think more than anything it could be our impatience and greed of seeing a potential elite level center playing for the Oilers (between Hall and Ebs), something we haven’t seen since… Weight? :P

    I don’t think we are over-blowing the size issue too terribly, if we bring RNH up to play with the Oilers, compared to a lot of the other centers he is undersized. And unless Omark is traded or an injury has occurred I can’t really see him playing on the wings to start out with either. Now he won’t be facing off against Joe Thorton or Ryan Getzlaf any time soon but the size and strength of these men/other centers could be quite overwhelming for RNH’s stature.

  11. chucker says:

    I don’t see Omark getting traded as he is popular with his team mates and creates offense. He is the guy you eventually have running your PP, is going to produce no matter who you stick him with and wins games in the shootout. Him and MPS between Lander or Gagner would be nice.

  12. Racki says:

    I saw your lines Zack…

    Here were the fwd lines you had:

    Hall – Horcoff – Eberle
    Smyth – Gagner – Hemsky
    PRV – Belanger – Omark
    Eager – Lander – Jones

    I don’t mind them. I’m still not overly keen on Eager. I mean, I like the concept of having him rather than MacIntyre, Stortini or JFJ, but I just don’t see Hordi or Eager as regulars.. but who knows.

    My 4th line would be Hartikainen – Lander – Jones. I know that’s hanging a lot on the young guys, but I think Hartikainen is mature beyond his years, and all things seem to suggest Lander may be too. But that will remain to be seen I suppose.

  13. Racki says:

    chucker:
    I don’t see Omark getting traded as he is popular with his team mates and creates offense. He is the guy you eventually have running your PP, is going to produce no matter who you stick him with and wins games in the shootout. Him and MPS between Lander or Gagner would be nice.

    Wouldn’t mind seeing the Swedish connection.. :P

  14. Grass&sOIL says:

    I don’t see any reason for RNH to be playing for the Oilers next season (other then the allowed 9 games). I think we are already loaded with 1st and 2nd year players and anything else would be overkill. Let’s remember that the Nuge is a full 6 months younger then Hall was at this time last year. That is a huge difference. We just added a bunch of vets to this team. Lets just see where that takes us for the year.

  15. Racki says:

    G&O: just to be argumentative.. lol… what if he has a really strong showing in those 9 games and TC?

    Should he really be sent back to junior if he shows he can play with the big kids?

  16. Steve-O says:

    Racki: Should he really be sent back to junior if he shows he can play with the big kids?

    Would it help the team to hold off on him getting paid big by 1 year?

  17. Grass&sOIL says:

    That defiantly would make it a harder decision but outside of Hall our track record in fast tracking prospects is hideous at best. Hall was a different situation as he had the frame to compete in the NHL right away, was 6 months wiser and was a back to back Mem Cup MVP. How do you justify sending that back down?

    I would have loved to see how Gags would be doing now (not that he is as bad as some say he is) if we had let him play out his Jr career and maybe even given him some AHL time as we did with Ebs.

    Most fans say that 1st overall picks should always make the jump to the NHL at first chance but how many of those in the past 20 years had yet to participate in the World JRs before making the NHL? not many if not zero.

    In my eyes the Nuge still has plenty left to prove before he should make the full time jump to the NHL and if he does end up going back to JR then come next summer he will ether be playing in meaning full CHL playoff/Mem cup games or getting in some AHL games at the tail end of the season just like Ebs did if his JR team does not go far. (would he be eligible to play in AHL playoff games in this scenario???)

    My ideal scenario is to send RNH back to JR and let him take the spotlight at the Worlds!!!! If we could somehow arrange for the Nuge to be traded to to Oil Kings then that would be perfect!!!!! (from me being an Edmonton fan’s perspective, Red Deer is probably a better team so it might be better for him to stay there).

  18. Racki says:

    Steve-O: Would it help the team to hold off on him getting paid big by 1 year?

    I don’t think the organization worries about paying players as much as the internets does. Sometimes that is a bad thing, sometimes not so bad. I personally think it’s an issue, but nowhere near as big as him playing where it would best suit him (although I’m not committing to say if it’s at the Junior level or the NHL that it would be best for him).

    Also, what about the internerds greatest argument for not tanking again… keeping the RFAs grouped together in a way that they won’t become UFAs and leave the team before another player hits his stride? Do we want RNH 2 years lagged of Hall/Eberle?

    Grass&Oil: definitely a good argument. My only argument against what you said is that RNH is only the 2nd 1st overall pick that we’ve ever had. There’s a difference between Jason Arnott (7th overall), Sam Gagner (6th overall). Who else did we force in right out of the draft? I don’t think anyone else really played on the Oilers full time right out of the draft. 2 examples isn’t exactly building a strong case… an again, they weren’t first overall picks.

    And again, just for the record, I’m neither for or against him playing here. Just trying to present the other side of the argument and draw more commentary out to see what all the pros/cons are. I guess I’m playing the devil’s advocate here… at least on this “forum”.

    I do think the WJHCs are a good experience for a player though, as would it likely be for him to get some more playoff time with the Rebels under his belt. And if he played here, I wonder if he might get slotted in a line that doesn’t get a lot of minutes or if he’s be playing the toughs (either situation could be hard on him).

  19. Grass&sOIL says:

    For the record I am may be being a bit hard on RNH because I did and still do thing we should have taken Larrson so maybe that is factoring into my thinking that he should go back to JR if that makes sense.

    I am probably lined up to be one of the Kids biggest critics until he shows me that the Oilers made the right choice ( If he does). I am probably being hard headed but it is how I feel.

  20. Racki says:

    I originally was all gung ho for Larsson too, but there’s been a tonne of positive vibe around RNH, so I’m keeping a very open mind and no longer thinking of him as the scrawny runt of the draft.

    He’s got the skillset, but more importantly, he has the drive too, from what I’ve been hearing. He basically has everything on the list that Stu looks for and loves in his draft picks, which is OK by me for sure.

    I won’t hide the fact that I’m still concerned about the size, but apparently he has great wheels and is very evasive. So we’ll see. I am pretty excited to find out what he can do.

  21. Grass&sOIL says:

    It is not even really about size for me anymore ether. Now that he is an Oiler I want him to enjoy some meaningful game scenario’s like Hall did in back to back Mem Cups and in the World Jrs. Let’s face it. His Rebels did not go very far in the WHL playoffs and he never got that World Jr. experience ether. I just want to see him on a big stage before he permanently cracks our roster. I think it is an important experience that all top ranked players should have before making the jump(if possible).

    Lets just let the rookie trio from last season build on their momentum and hopefully by the time RNH is ready to make the team that the Oilers are a much improved team so that RNH can just slide in and not have to shoulder a big load and can instead just focus on learning the NHL game at his pace.

    One thing I know for sure is that he should be playing for team Canada next Dec/Jan regardless of if he is in the CHL or NHL next year. I think most of us would agree with that plus think of all the hype with the tourney being played here in Alberta. He would be under a ton of pressure to preform and I want to see how he handles it.

    Also:
    Don’t the Oilers have a money stake in this upcoming Torney??? I think the Oilers and Flames are splitting profits from the World JRs.

  22. Grass&sOIL says:

    Even with the veteran additions to our team I feel we may still be a bit too young and think we should take a breath and just go with what we have now before introducing even more kids to the team.

    RNH can lead the next wave of kids(Lander, Teubert and so on…..) into Edmonton because I don’t want to push the youth movement beyond what it is now.

    If any rookie is deserving of a spot on the team next year then it would be Harti in my books but still it’s probably better to give him top line minutes with the Barons. At least for the first half of the upcoming season.

  23. Racki says:

    Definitely agree that this team is too young. I think if RNH comes in, they’d push harder to ship Gagner out. Just a hunch. I don’t really want to see that, because I think he has more promise than most people think.

  24. chucker says:

    Why not ship him to the WJCs no matter what as I suggested? That way he gets to dominate at that tourney no matter what. If he stays fine, but still send him there. If he goes back to junior, he goes too and could get called up at the end of the year like Eberle did. I’m good either way.

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