Earning a hefty sum of $6 million per season as one of the most handsomely-paid forwards on the Edmonton Oilers‘ roster, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is still expected to play a key role for an Oilers squad that has since become Connor McDavid‘s team. The 2011 No. 1 pick has recast himself as a two-way pivot in recent years, aiming to become a reliable depth presence while McDavid took over as the team’s top-line offensive dynamo. But it seems head coach Todd McLellan is looking for his other star centre to inject a little more excitement into his game. “I asked (Nugent-Hopkins) to play perhaps with a little more risk in the summer,” McLellan told NHL.com’s Tim Campbell on Friday. “I don’t think he’s doing that yet. I haven’t seen him cheat at all, and that’s fine. I don’t want him cheating. But he’s got a better nose for the net, to jump in on loose pucks a little quicker around the blue paint.” Nugent-Hopkins tallied two goals in Edmonton’s 5-4 victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday, including the game-tying goal in the latter half of the third period. “Shooting, well. His second goal (against Dallas), he got the puck and he released it,” McLellan said. “It doesn’t have to be pretty. He’s got a nice little pace going here to get back up to that 20-goal barrier where he should be.” The 24-year-old said he has the same hopes in mind, his attention turning to increasing his offensive contribution.
McLellan wants Nugent-Hopkins to ‘play with a little more risk’
Sportsnet | Oct 27