The last thing the Edmonton Oilers need to do is rush Ryan Nugent-Hopkins into their lineup this year.

On the other hand, what's the kid going to learn if he's forced to go back to junior with the Red Deer Rebels?

It will come down to whether the Burnaby native, chosen No. 1 in June's NHL entry draft, earns a spot at training camp, Steve Tambellini said.

"I know the kid and he wants to make the team," the Oilers general manager said on Sunday before his prospects played Canucks prospects at the Young Stars tournament.

The Oilers are deep at centre and it's unlikely Nugent-Hopkins will join Edmonton's group of talented young forwards. But don't tell him that.

"That's my goal right now, I want to make that jump," the 18-year-old said.