The Edmonton Oilers have decided to keep rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on their roster instead of sending him back to his junior league team. In doing so, the first year of his entry level contract automatically kicks in as soon as he takes the ice at Pepsi Center against the Colorado Avalanche.
Though there are fears of the young Nugent-Hopkins staying healthy throughout the long NHL season, he forced the front office's decision with the stellar start to his rookie year. He leads the team with five goals in nine games, and is a big reason they are tied for first in Northwest Division.
With Nugent-Hopkins staying in Edmonton, this game becomes the first of many meetings between the first two picks of the 2011 NHL Draft. Gabriel Landeskog has played well for Colorado this season and is second on the team in goals scored with four. His physical presence and smart play has given Ryan O 'Reilly a great weapon on the wing, and has added depth to the Avalanche's special teams.
The first meeting between Edmonton and Colorado this season was already going to be interesting because of the two teams' hot starts. Now, it becomes a fascinating matchup of two of the best collections of young talent in the league.