2007-08: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins played for the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins. He was named MVP of the 2008 Western Canada Bantam Championships. Nugent-Hopkins was chosen first overall in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft by the Red Deer Rebels.
2008-09: Nugent-Hopkins saw hi first WHL action, scoring 2 goals and adding 4 assists in 5 games for Red Deer. For most of the season, he played for the Vancouver NW Giants. Nugent-Hopkins was named tournament MVP for the Mac's AAA midget hockey tournament, and also was named the 2008 BC Minor Hockey Player of the Year.
2009-10: Nugent-Hopkins' rookie season in the WHL with the Red Deer Rebels. He appeared in 67 games, scoring 24 goals and adding 41 assists for 65 points. Nugent-Hopkins played in 4 playoof games for the Rebels, picking up 2 assists. He was named the 2010 WHL Rookie of the Year, and was a finalist for the CHL Rookie of the Year award that was won by the OHL's Matt Puempel. Nugent-Hopkins played for Team Pacific at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, where he picked up 1 goal and 4 assists in 5 games for that squad.
2010-11: In 69 games for the Rebels, Nugent-Hopkins scored 31 goals and added 75 assists for 106 points, a point total that was good for fourth overall in the WHL. His assist total was the best in the WHL. In 7 playoff games for the Rebels, Nugent-Hopkins scored 4 goals and chipped in 5 assists for 9 points. He represented Canada at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament where he was Canada's leading scorer with 5 goals and 2 assists in 5 games. Nugent-Hopkins was invited to the tryout camp for Canada's entry at the 2011 World Junior Championship but missed the cut. He played for the WHL squad in the 2010 CHL Subway Super Series. Nugent-Hopkins played for Team Orr at the 2011 CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game, which was victorious in their 7-1 win over Team Cherry. Nugent-Hopkins was named the Player of the Game for Team Orr as he registered 2 assists on the game.
2011-12: Nugent-Hopkins shared the points lead for NHL rookies with Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog despite skating in just 62 games. He scored 18 goals with 34 assists and was minus-two with 16 penalty minutes; missing twenty games after suffering a shoulder injury in January. He was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game but was unable to play due to the injury. He played for Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Championship tournament in April; scoring 4 goals with 2 assists in eight games and finishing plus-two with 4 penalty minutes. Canada finished fifth.
A creative playmaker and an above-average skater, he possesses tremendous anticipation, and an ability to find open ice near the opposition’s goal. While he is a little undersized he is very effective operating in traffic and is very comfortable putting himself in high traffic situations. He is a very smart player, thinking the game at a high level, which shines through in his excellent positioning, angles taken, and his impressive defensive game.
Nugent-Hopkins went from first overall pick to immediate top six forward with the Oilers, a role he will most likely occupy for more than a decade going forward. He is already a top line talent at just 18 years old.