May 21 2013 01:42PM
There has been lots of speculation lately on the health of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The 2011 first overall pick had surgery on April 23rd to repair a torn labrum, and recently I've noticed some suggesting he will be out for a significant portion of next season.
Rather than speculate, I decided to put in a call to his agent Rick Valette to get an update on RNH's shoulder.
The main question we all want to know is what is the timeline on when he's projected to be ready to play next year, and Valette shed some light on that.
"If you look at where he is at today, I think there is a very good chance he'll be ready for opening night," said Valette. "If he's not ready to go, then we won't rush it, but he's already ahead of schedule and barring a setback it's looking good that he'll be ready to start the season."
Valette also wanted to clarify why he, along with the Oilers medical staff and Nugent-Hopkins waited to have surgery.
"Surgery is always the last option, that is why he and the Oilers tried to rehab it first. In the end it just wasn't getting better, but it made sense to exhaust every other option first," said Valette.
Valette sounded very optimistic that Nugent-Hopkins will be stronger and healthier when he returns for the 2013/2014 season.
When Taylor Hall had his shoulder surgery last season he returned at the start of November, and proceeded to have a great campaign in the AHL and then with the Oilers. The Oilers and Nugent-Hopkins are hoping that surgery will help his overall game as much as it helped Hall.
I've had a few sources tell me that Hall's shoulder had more "issues" than Nugent-Hopkins, so they are confident his rehab will be shorter. It is impossible to predict how a player will respond, but Nugent-Hopkin's rehab is off to a good start.
WILL RNH IMPACT MACT?
Some have wondered if RNH's health will impact how general manager Craig MacTavish looks at his roster? I don't see it having much of a factor. Whether RNH is ready for opening night or two weeks later, I believe MacTavish has a plan in place that won't be altered by a few weeks of recovery.
If Nugent-Hopkins was going to be sidelined until January or February, then it might have altered his plan, but MacTavish is looking big picture. I'd like to believe the Oilers are past the point of looking for quick fixes and band-aid solutions. MacTavish wants to build a roster than is deep enough and talented enough to overcome an injury or two.
- A huge thank you to everyone who came to the King/Queen Karaoke event this past Friday at On The Rocks. It went off better than I expected and there were some killer competitors. I will have some videos up in the near future. We raised just over $9,500 for the MS Society. Thank you to On the Rocks and Oodle Noodle for their generous donations of gift cards. Much appreciated.
- Congratulations to Mayor Mandel on a great career. I loved how he always pushed to make Edmonton better and how he tried to convince Edmontonians to not settle for 2nd rate. I hope our next mayor doesn't "settle" and looks to advance our city. I'm hearing that Councillors Karen Leivovici and Don Iveson will join Kerry Diotte in the race for mayor. There is also a chance Councillor Amarjeet Sohi might throw his hat in the ring. It will be an interesting race.
- The more I watch the NHL playoffs, the more obvious it becomes that the Oilers desperately need to improve their blueline. They need another puck mover and players who are physically stronger.
- I'd take Andrew Shaw on my team any day. The Blackhawks' rookie is fearless. He plays hard every shift, has decent hands, agitates and delivers big hits for a small guy. The Oilers need to find some players who are as competitive as Shaw, regardless of size.
- If Rick Nash is your go-to player, your team will never win. He doesn't dominate enough one-on-one to win a series by himself, and he isn't a great passer who can make others better. Good player, but he isn't a superstar in my eyes.
- Is there a more dangerous shooter than Pavel Datsyuk? Imagine if he wasn't so good defensively, and cheated here and there to create more chances offensively? I know many coaches want guys to be as defensively aware as Datsyuk, but I suspect most fans would prefer to see his offensive magic on display more often. He is an incredible player, but part of me wishes he'd take a few more chances so we could witness his offensive creativity more often.
- It is early in the series, but so far Henrik Zetterberg has been much better than Jonathan Toews. These types of battles/matchups are great to watch, and I'm curious to see if Toews can reverse the trend.
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