UPDATE ON NUGENT-HOPKINS

Jason Gregor
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.

QUICK HITS

  • 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. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 DSF
May 21 2013, 07:01PM
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HardBoiledOil wrote:

and Stephen Weiss is more of a "cure" than Gagner is? not in my book and a lot of players have ups and downs during the season, it's not unique to only Gagner. and Gagner outscored Eberle, so i guess Eberle folded like a Taiwanese chair too then? he didn't seem so dreadful to me defensively last year either, so sorry, but i would stick with Gagner over Weiss.

You may want to read more carefully before spouting off.

In a comment above I expressed my belief that Weiss is NOT the "cure".

Neither is Gagner.

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#52 Citizen David
May 21 2013, 07:49PM
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Eddie Edmonton wrote:

How much time does Gagner need to develop? 8-10 years?

Gagner holds the record for years spent developing in a professional league. Gagner has reached his peak. There isn't much to his game. His point production and value is measured in his linemates. Gagner rides the wave but is never in tide, rarely found later in the season when games matter.

I disagree that Gagner is done developing. He won't stop until 25-26. That's what everyone does. Doesn't matter where they do it. He's not quite in his prime yet. Don't be surprised if the Oilers trade him, that he will play well and a large group of Oiler fans will groan about letting him go.

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#53 Eddie Edmonton
May 21 2013, 07:58PM
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Citizen David wrote:

I disagree that Gagner is done developing. He won't stop until 25-26. That's what everyone does. Doesn't matter where they do it. He's not quite in his prime yet. Don't be surprised if the Oilers trade him, that he will play well and a large group of Oiler fans will groan about letting him go.

I'll agree to disagree. I believe he is done developing, I can't see much improvement in his game, mentally or physically. I don't believe everyone stops developing at 25-26. It does matter where they do it, that is why the NHL has the AHL. I will be suprised if the Oilers don't trade him. I can't understand the second part of your last sentence.

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#54 Citizen David
May 21 2013, 08:01PM
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DSF wrote:

6 years is plenty.

He still needs to be sheltered and gets his ass kicked by tough competition.

His Corsi is just dreadful...among the worst in the league.

Flush.

We shall see.

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#55 Eddie Edmonton
May 21 2013, 08:02PM
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HardBoiledOil wrote:

maybe you should take a breath and give Gagner more time to develop as a player before...er... "spouting off" that he's not the cure! in no way shape or form do i believe this KID is finished developing yet at 23. i don't agree with your opinion on this and never will...don't take it so personal and move on.

How many 24 year old kids do you know? How many people takes those kids seriously?

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#56 HardBoiledOil
May 21 2013, 08:15PM
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DSF wrote:

And I will defend your right to be wrong...as long as it takes.

He's going to 24 when the next season starts.

He's not a "KID".

i'm wrong in your opinion. that's OK, we agree to disagree...as long as it takes. 24 and a young man , how that? let's move on.

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#57 DSF
May 21 2013, 08:16PM
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Willis wrote an article about Gagner at the Cult of Hockey today.

Heres an excerpt:

"Offensively, despite strong totals overall he didn’t actually do any better at even-strength; his point totals relative to 5-on-5 ice-time actually dipped slightly in 2013 as opposed to his previous two seasons, and his modest increase in 5-on-5 ice-time wasn’t enough to make much difference.

The difference came on the power play, where his scoring numbers were significantly better than they have been in years prior.

We looked at this difference earlier in the year, and discovered something interesting: compared to previous seasons, the power play was shooting less with Gagner on the ice yet scoring more, thanks to a very high 5-on-4 shooting percentage.

That holds true today; a power play that once averaged over 40 shots per hour with Gagner on the ice dipped to just a hair over 34 this season.

The shooting percentage was over 22 percent with 10 games left to go; by season’s end it had dipped back to the 16 percent range, and Gagner’s 5-on-4 points/60 minutes had fallen from almost 8.0 down to their current levels.

The power play scoring was a mirage and like all mirages it disappeared;

Gagner had 12 power play points in 29 games and just three in his final 19 contests. Over a full season, it seems doubtful that Gagner would have significantly outperformed his previous point totals."

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/05/21/sam-gagner-the-more-things-change/

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#58 madjam
May 21 2013, 09:08PM
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Lighten up - Oilers toughen up at center using T.Peckham = maybe he'll be another Burns .

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#59 Wax Man Riley
May 21 2013, 10:22PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

The Flyers do make a lot of sense, the Oilers get an exceptional prospect, they get need and most importantly they get a two way player.

I'm not sure the Flyers do Hartnell, I haven't checked cap geek but does he not have a NTC-NMC?

As much as Holmgren loves a good deal you have to convince Snyder too.

Regardless, I still think the Oilers get a center and trade Gagner for Weber or Yandel.

Crazy, but I got a gut feeling.

I'm sorry. I like your Hall to center points. You nail it for sure, but...

WEBER IS NOT COMING TO EDMONTON.

No matter how many times you say it does not make it so.

If 4 1st round picks and the thought of $100MM didn't do it, Gagner and the 7th won't be close.

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#60 jonny94
May 22 2013, 12:50AM
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@DSF

Love that idea. If we can get Couturier without giving up our 1st rnd draft pick I'd be thoroughly excited. Keith Yandle is someone I'd love to get too. If MacT can bring in some names we've heard of hats off to him. No more Eagers, Belangers, or Smithsons please

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#61 The Beaker
May 22 2013, 07:13AM
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jonny94 wrote:

Love that idea. If we can get Couturier without giving up our 1st rnd draft pick I'd be thoroughly excited. Keith Yandle is someone I'd love to get too. If MacT can bring in some names we've heard of hats off to him. No more Eagers, Belangers, or Smithsons please

Why not give up our first?

And people had heard of Eager and Belanger.

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#62 madjam
May 22 2013, 07:14AM
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Doesn't make much sense to get rid of anyone on current roster unless its an upgrade . Gagner is a talent and still improving . He makes an excellent winger and can even play center as a bonus . You can make a good case for all our current Oilers and prospects, but you can also make a case for replacing them all for upgrades , as our results are still low .

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#63 Romulus' Apotheosis
May 22 2013, 07:26AM
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too many comments to respond to individually...

LW: it is easier to stock this position that it is Centre; Also people have floated the idea of switching Gagner and/or one of Hemsky/Yak playing off-wing

HHOF: not sure this is much of a response. Messier is an exemplar and an outer marker for Hall's own career. Besides the idea (switching to C) has little to do with being or not being in the HHOF.

I happen to think -- in the absence of knowing what the team is going to do this off-season -- that moving Hall to C is an idea worth exploring. That doesn't mean it is the best option or will necessarily work to the satisfaction of all parties.

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#64 Hate Rexall
May 22 2013, 08:13AM
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I sure will be happy to pay my ticket tax since the new Arena will likely:

- Allow me to see the entire Ice surface. (can not from my current seats) with steeper seating - Not be mobbed when leaving the Arena - Offer better food that Boston Pizza - Maybe even speedy service at concessions - More washrooms ??

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#65 YEGFan
May 22 2013, 08:35AM
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I hate to rain on optimism parades but it makes absolutely zero sense for Philly to trade Couturier.

The Flyers are tight under the cap, they cannot afford to trade their players on manageable contracts. Sending them a player who is a due any sort of salary makes their problem much much worse. Gagner, Hemsky, Pajaarvi, Horcoff, or even Hall and Eberle make the Flyers's situation worse. The only way they move Couturier's lovely little 1.375M cap hit is if it is a massive solution to their blueline. I really don't see where Edmonton can come in unless it's Klefbom.

Philly's weakness is often identified to be their defense but they are paying 6 players more than 3.5M. They are keeping their forwards and shedding defense contracts this offseason. They have absolutely no good reason to trade players like Read, Schenn, or Couturier.

MAYBE I could see them move Hartnell or Simmonds, but those are the only two they offerred long term contracts to so far and have demonstrated in every way they want to build around them.

I'd wager Timmonen, Coburn, Meszaros, and Grossman are all very much available. Briere is probably to only top 9 forward but his cap hit would hurt the Oilers too much. Maybe they have a gem on their 4th line I am not aware of.

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#66 YEGFan
May 22 2013, 08:54AM
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The way the Oilers have allocated money so far it's hard for them to go out and pay for any top 6 forwards. The organization just doesn't have the flexibility because they are already paying 3rd liners 5M and have an atrocious situation on the blue line.

Help to the forwards has to come from farm hands stepping up or under the radar trades and signings for under 3M. Regardless of if you feel Weiss is the solution or not, the truth is the Oilers could not afford to pay him market rate (mostly in term). Their situation is bad because of the precedent set by the Hall and Eberle contracts. Nuge, Yakupov, and J Schultz can expect pay increases in the short term or can rightfully feel slighted by the team (even if MacT tries to blame it on Tambo). The Oilers cannot do what Montreal is doing with Subban, what Philly has done with Giroux and Voracek, or what San Jose did with Couture and Pavelski. Without shedding Hemsky or Horcoff first (3rd liners making 5M+) it cannot afford to hire other expensive (players in the 3M range, not 4.5M+) 2nd or 3rd liners.

The Oilers need to invest term and money in the blueline to improve the team in a manageable way.

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#67 YEGFan
May 22 2013, 09:11AM
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DSF wrote:

No.

I think to get Philly interested you would have to include the 7th overall pick so Philly could take Nurse.

They need defensemen in the worst way.

They're also in cap hell ($3.2M over the cap) so I would offer up Hemsky (pay half his salary) in return for a contract they want to get rid of.

Perhaps take a "flyer" on Scott Hartnell who is signed until 2019 @ $4.75M and use a compliance buyout after next season if it's not working.

Hartnell is a MacT kind of player and the Oilers could certainly use his size and grit even if it's just short term.

For defense, I think I would take a run at Alex Edler. If Vancouver can't trade Luongo, they may not want to be locked into Edler's contract which has a NTC kicking in on July 1st.

With Tanev and Corrado coming on, the Canucks could be convinced to move him.

I think you would need to make a really good offer though since a lot of teams will be looking for D this summer so maybe next year's 1st and Marincin.

I like the idea for Edler but I think that is over paying. Unfortunately, I also agree that is probably what the price would be to convince the Canucks to move him in division. I maintain Shattenkirk and McDonagh are probably better options.

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#68 Quicksilver ballet
May 22 2013, 09:36AM
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What about Eberle to Philly, in exchange for Couturier, Hartnell and a second?

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#69 Freewheeling Freddie
May 22 2013, 10:08AM
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The Oilers need to rebuild their medical staff .Getting shoulder surgery at 19 yrs Yikes .Other options non surgically are available. I had a 6cm tear in my labrum had it repaired non surgically 2 years ago. Feels great now. The surgeon gave me a 50 50 chance of it being close to normal. Glad I didn't do it.

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#70 Wax Man Riley
May 22 2013, 10:30AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

What about Eberle to Philly, in exchange for Couturier, Hartnell and a second?

I love Eberle, but this trade makes us better.

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#71 jonny94
May 22 2013, 10:42AM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

I love Eberle, but this trade makes us better.

That is a trade I do all day. We could package our 1st Phillys 2nd and Gagner to try and get into a top 5 range pick for that centremen we need and we wouldn't have to necessarily feed him to the wolves with RNH Horcoff and Couturier plus our newly drafted centremen (insert name here potentially Barkov/Monahan) id be pretty happy with that. Still a hole in defence but its a start.

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#72 YEGFan
May 22 2013, 03:56PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

What about Eberle to Philly, in exchange for Couturier, Hartnell and a second?

I guess...

I don't see this as a huge improvement (my guess is that Couturier never has a season like Eberle had last year but he stays a solid top 9 player) but I understand the argument for it and think there is a case to be made.

Why does Philly do it though? They are in cap trouble and you suggest they tie up 6M in one player instead of two? They have forwards who can score (Giroux, Voracek, Read), why do they give up a top six player with some grit and a low priced shut down centre to add more?

I am not saying it couldn't happen if they are really enamored with Eberle, I just don't see how this solves any of their problems or convinces them they are becoming a better team. I understand why Philly wouldn't want to do it but I don't understand why they would. I didn't even get into the long term difficulties with adding Eberle's long term contract when they don't have one for Giroux or Schenn.

I think Philly is an ideal trade partner if Edmonton wants to trade prospects for a middle pairing defenseman. They are one of the worst trading partners if we are considering young forwards.

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