The Edmonton Oilers have made a couple of no-brainer decisions this year in regard to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
First, they made the center the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 Draft. Then late last week, they announced Nugent-Hopkins would not be returning to his junior team.
"It's pretty awesome," Nugent-Hopkins said. "I really didn't know what to expect coming in, and I'm really happy with the way things have gone."
Per the league's collective bargaining agreement, if the Oilers play Nugent-Hopkins in 10 games this season, the first year of his three-year, entry-level contract would count this season.
Edmonton can still send Nugent-Hopkins back to juniors for whatever reason, but general manager Steve Tambellini can't foresee that happening.
"I'd suspect based on his play, he's here for the year," he said.
It was hard for coach Tom Renney not to smile knowing No. 93 will continue to don the blue-andorange sweater.
"It means we have a very good young hockey player in the fold for ...