Remember the only knock that people could find on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins around the draft, that he was too small? Not on Sunday.
The No. 1 overall draft pick this summer to the Edmonton Oilers made his NHL debut last night and also scored his first NHL goal. It was a big one, too. With just about five minutes to go, it broke up Brent Johnson's shutout and eventually helped the Oilers get a shootout win over the Penguins.
The surprising thing about Nugent-Hopkins' goal? There was nothing easy about it. It was a tough, physical goal. Fighting a battle for a rebound in the slot after a tremendous pass from Hall on the end boards, he muscled his way to the free puck and jammed it by Johnson and into the side of the net.
"Going into the game I was really nervous but I tried to use that to my advantage," Nugent-Hopkins said among a media swarm after the game. Job well done.
He was quick all game long. Oilers fans had to be dreaming of fast-forwarding two seasons or so after watching the line of Nugent-Hopkins, 2010 No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky. They were exciting and electrifying all night despite Edmonton's inability to score.
You can see where the future is heading in Edmonton, and the future is good.
Photo: Oilers Twitter account