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Burnaby’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play for the Stanley Cup

The Burnaby Winter Club alum, and first pick of the 2011 NHL Draft, will go toe-to-toe with Florida in hopes of ending Canada’s cup drought.
Burnaby's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (#93) takes part in a goal celebration for Edmonton in the first period of Game 6 on Sunday, June 2, of the western conference final against Dallas. The Oilers won the contest, 2-1, and the series, 4-2, to advance to the 2024 Stanley Cup Final.

A long-awaited opportunity has finally arrived.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has waited 13 years for the chance to compete for the Stanley Cup and is now four wins from possibly hoisting one of the most coveted trophies in professional sports.

The Burnaby forward tallied two goals and four points in six western conference final games for Edmonton, who defeated Dallas 2-1 on home ice in Game 6 on Sunday, June 2.

The Oilers, who finished second in the Pacific Division this year, clinched the best-of-seven series against the Central Division-champion Stars, 4-2.

Nugent-Hopkins, 31, will face-off with Florida in the 2024 Stanley Cup Final starting Saturday, June 8. The Panthers won the eastern conference final series 4-2 over the New York Rangers.

“This is obviously exciting,” he said after Sunday's victory. “This is what we play for. There is a lot of work left. We are going to face a good team. We know who we are playing already, which is kind of nice.

In 18 playoff games thus far, Nugent-Hopkins has compiled six goals and 20 points, as well as a plus-three (+3) rating, nine power-play points, 24 shots on goal and an average ice time of more than 20 minutes per contest.

Broken down, the Burnaby Winter Club alum scored twice against Dallas, three on his hometown Vancouver Canucks in the second round and one in the opening series against Los Angeles.

He potted two on Friday, May 31, both on the man-advantage, in Edmonton's 3-1 Game 5 victory in Dallas.

Nugent-Hopkins was the number-one overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft by the Oilers.

He's currently in the third of an eight-year, $41-million contract he signed in 2021 with an annual average salary of $5.125 million per season.

Across his career, the former BC Hockey minor player of the year (2008) has compiled 251 goals and 699 points in 881 NHL regular-season games.

Internationally, Nugent-Hopkins has played 24 games with a Canadian national team.

The Oilers met the Panthers twice in the 2023-24 campaign, losing both occasions 5-3 (Nov. 20) and 5-1 (Dec. 16).

Edmonton lost the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, their last championship appearance, in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Oilers have won men's hockey's ultimate prize five times — 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990.

Game 1 goes for 5 p.m. PDT on Saturday at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Fla.

- with a file from The Canadian Press