Hockey Sense: Nugent-Hopkins is an intelligent, team-first player who seldom hurts his squad by trying to force the issue. He makes sound decisions that put his teammates in good positions and consistently makes himself available as an outlet. Though he isn’t the most assertive forward, he also knows how to create space for himself and others.
Passing: He displays stellar vision and touch, offering both accurate and timely setups in all three zones. Whether he needs to fire a puck through a seam or loft a dish into a small window, Nugent-Hopkins has the skill to deliver the goods. He rarely misses the mark.
Defense: While Nugent-Hopkins should never enter the Selke conversation, he’s at the very least a willing defender who puts forth genuine effort at both ends of the ice. He stays on the right side of the puck and supports his defensemen with good fundamentals. His results against stiff competition have been decent.
Shot: For a player who has scored at about a 20-goal pace in his career, Nugent-Hopkins occasionally places too much faith in his average shot. He’s fairly accurate, but he lacks velocity and struggles to beat goaltenders on anything other than premium opportunities. On a team with Edmonton’s firepower, a Nugent-Hopkins bid is often not the best option.
Faceoffs: He’s won more than half of his faceoffs in exactly one season. Typically, he doesn’t even come close to 50%. Considering his defensive responsibilities, this is a problem. His faceoff frequency has consequently taken a nosedive in recent years.