RNH going to school on Sharks' top line

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins says he likes the challenge of playing against the Sharks' big first line. (USA...

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins says he likes the challenge of playing against the Sharks' big first line. (USA TODAY)

Derek Van Diest, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:23 AM ET

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is on his way to becoming one of the elite centres in the NHL.

But in order to be elite, he has to be able to go up against some of the best the league has to offer, which will be the case on the Edmonton Oilers current three-game road trip.

Nugent-Hopkins will be lining up against three big, strong, talented opponents in Martin Hanzal, Joe Thornton and Ryan Getzlaf.

“It’s definitely a good challenge,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “Just playing against those guys you can learn a lot from them. They play the way that I want to model my game after. They’re so good on the offensive side of the puck, but they’re really responsible defensively and they’re tough to play against.

“They’re big guys, but I think even a guy my size can take a lot from them. It’s a challenge, but it’s fun playing against them.”

Nugent-Hopkins has made vast improvements in his defensive game since joining the Oilers as the first overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.


Videos

Photos