Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been thrown around in trade rumors for several months now, but the former first-overall pick is trying his best to ignore the buzz and focus on hockey.
During the club’s charity goal tournament this week, Nugent-Hopkins was asked about the rumors.
I try not to pay attention too much,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Edmonton Journal. “If it happens, it happens. I know it’s definitely a different group than the one we finished with last season
Since the beginning of the offseason, the young forward has been linked to trade rumors involving the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild, among other teams.
He is right when he says that this year’s Oilers club is definitely different than they were just a month ago. The additions of fourth-overall pick Jesse Puljujarvi and free agents Milan Lucic and Adam Larsson should improve a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in ten years.
Edmonton hopes that their new additions will make up for the loss of star forward Taylor Hall in the deal with the New Jersey Devils that brought in Larsson.
The Oilers drafted Nugent-Hopkins with the top pick in the 2011 draft and has since skated in 313 games with the club, tallying 222 points with a minus-32 rating.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins played parts of three seasons with the Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League, netting 177 points in 141 games.
The 23-year-old center is entering his sixth professional season. He has served as one of Edmonton’s alternate captains for two seasons.
He has been selected to be a member of the North American U23 team in September’s World Cup of Hockey.