WATCH | Video from Saturday's All-Star/World Cup Press Conference
The NHL announced on Saturday that there will be a World Cup in 2016.
One of the teams that will be in the tournament is an Under-24 team of North American players competing as a unit. If the event was held in the fall of 2016, Nugent-Hopkins would be eligible to play on this team.
“I think it gives a good opportunity to a lot of the guys. There’s a lot of great players out there. If you give as many players a chance to play in that tournament as possible, it’s a good thing,” Nugent-Hopkins said, adding that he would prefer to play for Canada but would be happy to simply attend the tournament in any form that may take.
“It’s definitely fun representing Canada, putting the sweater on your back. It’ll be a lot of fun playing in that tournament no matter who you’re playing for.”
As for how a 23-and-under team would do, he was optimistic.
“I think they’d be the underdog for sure but there’s a lot of great players who are under 23 in the league. I think they’d have a good shot.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be participating in three different events at the NHL Skills Competition tonight.
He will be passing the puck in the Accuracy Shooting competition and also will be participating for Team Foligno in the NHL Skills Challenge Relay, trying to pass the puck into the mini-nets (arguably the most difficult task in the relay).
Finally, he will take part in the shootout at the end of the Skills Competition.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was chosen as the second last pick at the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, going to Team Foligno. He was selected there by a fan vote over Filip Forsberg. In an interesting twist, the last two players picked both got a free car, instead of only the last player as initially announced.
“I thought I had a good chance of going last. I said the one spot I didn’t want to go was second last because you wait the whole time and still don’t get a car but it worked out for me. It was a nice little surprise,” Nugent-Hopkins said after the event.
Nick Foligno, the captain of Team Foligno, was glad to have Nugent-Hopkins on his team.
“Great player. I was excited to get him. I’m glad the fans voted in my favour for it,” he said. “He’s an awesome player, really talented kid and young guy. Happy to see him get the car as well. I think he’s really going to enjoy his time here for sure.”
Foligno added he feels that Nugent-Hopkins has a lot more all-star games in his future.
As for the car, RNH said he hasn't yet decided who will get it.
“I’m still not sure. I’ll have to talk to them all, have a little group meeting and then find out,” he said. He also noted that he was glad to be wearing the black all-star jersey.
“I’m happy, personally, I like the black one a little bit more than the white one so it’s nice that I get to be repping that for the next few days. I think they went with something a little unique.”
1-on-1 with Nugent-Hopkins | Media Day Interviews | RAW: Nugent-Hopkins at Media Day
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was asked at All-Star Media Day in Columbus Friday afternoon about some of his own personal favourite memories when it comes to the annual event.
“I remember Kane wearing the glasses and the cape, coming down and shooting (in the Skills Competition). Same with Ovechkin. Nothing too specific other than those two things,” he said.
“It’s definitely an honour to be here. It’s exciting for sure. Meeting some players I’ve watched for years is pretty cool for me. I’m just a young guy so seeing the experience some of these guys have is really cool for me.”
Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins doesn't expect to go early in the Fantasy Draft tonight as All-Star festivities kick off. The 21-year-old pivot said that didn't matter, however.
“Just being here is for sure a big honour. The fantasy draft is just a fun part of the event. No matter where you get picked, I don’t think anybody’s going to be mad about it,” he said. “I think I’ll go pretty low tonight. I’ll be one of the last guys picked, I think. And if I am, I wouldn’t mind going last and getting the car. We’ll see. It’s all going to be a lot of fun and we’ll see how that goes.”
The last player chosen in the Fantasy Draft wins a car. Nugent-Hopkins said he hasn't really thought about who might get the vehicle if he wins it.
“It’ll probably go back home to one of my family members. We’ll see. They’ll have to fight for it.”
Having just got in last night, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hasn't had a lot of time to mingle with his fellow all-stars but he's definitely looking forward to. When asked who he was looking most forward to meeting, he was quick to answer.
“Jonathan Toews," he said. "I’ve watched him for a long time now. The only other time I got to meet him is when I was in Bantam, we played in the Western Championships and it was in Winnipeg. He actually dropped the puck to start the final game.
“I’ve been playing against him for a few years. He’s definitely a guy that I’ve looked up to in the past.”
Bob Green talked about being named as the team's Director of Player Personnel on Tuesday morning.
“It means a lot. It’s exciting. It’s a huge challenge. That’s what makes it so rewarding. I’m just excited to get going and move forward,” said Green.
As part of his duties, he'll be overseeing not only everything on the amateur side of things with scouting, but also pro scouting. Green talked about having a lot on his plate.
“It’s a lot. I’ll spend lot of time with the amateur draft. A lot more than I’ve had in the past. And with pro scouting as well. It’s a bigger umbrella for me. It covers a big area in the organization,” Green continued. “It’s great to have a strong voice and that’s what makes it so exciting.”
The former Oil Kings GM was also asked about working with Stu MacGregor, head amateur scout, and Morey Gare, head pro scout.
“It should be good. I’ll concentrate more on the amateur draft for sure. I’ve known Stu for a long time and we’ve worked well together. With Morey, things are going to keep moving on the same as they have in the past, concentrating a lot on preparing for the trade deadline, unrestricted free agency and those things. Continue to evaluate other teams’ players and prospects as well. Nothing’s really going to change a whole lot there.”
He did add that there will be -- and already are -- changes implemented in terms of how the team scouts amateur players in the hopes of getting more results in the later rounds.
“We’ve made some subtle changes in how we’re going about things with the amateur guys, keeping guys in their own territory. It’s something we started a little bit this year, having the guys concentrate more on their areas. We’re going to keep them in their areas for the rest of the year, hoping that’ll give us a lot more information on some of the later picks and kids that are slower to develop, late bloomers and that type of thing.”
The 2015 NHL Draft has been speculated by many to be the deepest since the 2003 Draft mined the likes of Shea Weber, Jeff Carter, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Anze Kopitar among many others.
Oilers GM Craig MacTavish talked about the importance of the draft for the club.
“It’s an extremely important draft. The primary focal point of our organization right now is in preparation for this upcoming draft. We now have Pittsburgh’s first-round pick. We have two first round picks. We’re going to get an early pick in the second round so that’s going to be a pick that we’ve got to utilize very well. And then we’ve got two third-round draft choices. It’s essential that we do very well at this year’s draft.”
In addition to being deep, at the high-end the talent is extremely highly touted with Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.
“They’re both generational players. I’ve seen Jack play at BU. I’ve seen Connor McDavid play before, going into this tournament. Both players really accounted for themselves well against older, tougher competition. And that’s really a good measure.”
MacTavish was recently at the World Junior Hockey Championships when both 17-year-olds McDavid and Eichel were among their respective teams' best players in a tournament normally dominated by 19 year olds.
“It’ll probably be the last time we have an opportunity to see both those players competing on the same ice surface. Both players, any team would be ecstatic to get. There were many, many good players that were in that tournament as well. Lawson Crouse is another guy for Canada that did very well. Noah Hanifin’s gotten a lot of notoriety at Boston College. Pavel Zacha, Czech-born player who plays for Sarnia, Mitch Marner in London. There are a lot of high-end players in the draft.
“From what I’ve been told by Stu MacGregor and Bob Green it’s a very deep draft.”
Today, Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish confirmed the rumours swirling around that Bob Green has been promoted to the position of Director of Player Personnel for the club.
“These are things that normally are done internally but there’s been quite a bit of information that Bob Green has taken over as Director of Player Personnel for the Edmonton Oilers. He’s going to oversee all aspects of our scouting department,” MacTavish began.
“This is really a confirmation of some of the rumours that have been out there. When I go to the rink and run into scouts of other teams who are asking me about this, I felt it was time to reveal some of this information. Other than that, it’s really our policy and my policy to keep these changes as internal as we can. But this is an effort to really fortify the horse power of our amateur and pro scouting staff.”
Green has an impressive resume which includes building an Edmonton Oil Kings squad that made the WHL Finals three years in a row with two Memorial Cup appearances and one Memorial Cup victory.
“He’s been working in our organization now for a few years with the Oil Kings highly successfully, getting a lot of attention for building a Memorial Cup team. Then he took a full-time job with the Edmonton Oilers last year and has been on the job for just over a year now. We’ve been really impressed by the detail of his work. He knows how to build a team and is on side with our preference to get bigger, stronger and faster athletes.”
Heading into a very important draft for the Oilers with two first rounders, a high second-round pick and two third rounders in the deepest draft since 2003, MacTavish felt it was important to have someone in this role who works well within the group.
“He’s shown he can work with this group and do an excellent job. Those qualities were obvious to me and the rest of the management in the organization. Bob’s going to do a really good job for us in this capacity.”
The Oklahoma City Barons have skyrocketed up the standings to first place in the entire AHL. They have 58 points in 40 games, with a record of 27-9-2-2.
“I think there’s got to be a lot of credit given to Gerry Fleming and Tony (Borgford) and Kelly Buchberger too as well,” said Oilers GM Craig MacTavish. “It speaks to the tradition and culture here which was really been started through Bill Scott, who now works for us, and Todd Nelson. It’s a very close-knit group of players. We’ve got a really good mix of veterans who help set the bar for the youth. And we’ve got a good mix of youth. Bogdan Yakimov last night was exceptional. JJ Khaira, Mitch Moroz is down here. That’s to really complement a really good, young D-core.”
MacTavish added that he feels the future is in teams having a mobile blueline and the Oilers are very well prepared for that with the young, mobile defence in Oklahoma City.
“Defencemen that can move the puck, move their feet, get the puck up ice. Dillon Simpson, Jordan Oesterle, David Musil, Gernat, Brandon Davidson who we’ve seen and Marty Marincin who everybody knows. There’s a lot of guys on the back-end who have potentially bright futures in the NHL.”
Having better calibre of players at the NHL level has helped improve player development.
“We’ve been talking about adding more competitive people and more size to our lineup. I’m seeing the evolution of a lot of that. It takes time to draft these players, bring them in and develop them, develop them the right way. I feel like our organization up top is strong enough, deep enough and growing up top so we have the time to put these guys and leave them down here at the American League level where development best occurs. We’re seeing that firsthand.”