NUGENT-HOPKINS NEEDS SURGERY

Ryan Nugent-Hopkin’s season is over. He will have shoulder surgery, as early as this Tuesday in Cleveland.

He has a suspected labrum tear in his left shoulder. Last year they fixed his AC joint on the same shoulder, but now he will need the same surgery Taylor Hall had last year.

Hall’s season ended on March 27th last year, he had surgery on April 3rd, and he played his first game in OKC on November 2nd, 2012.

Nugent-Hopkins might have surgery as early as this Tuesday, April 23rd, but that means he likely won’t play until mid-November. Due to the lockout the Oilers didn’t have to rush Hall back, and the Oilers will need to fight the urge to get RNH back on the ice next season.

Just like Hall, Nugent-Hopkin’s injury dates back to junior. Hall told me last fall that the surgery process is painful, but that he felt much better, he also said he was glad he didn’t have to rush back due to the lockout. The Oilers must play it safe with RNH in October and give him significant time to heal.

It is fair to ask why RNH didn’t have this surgery a month ago because it was clear from the start of the season that he’s been struggling. I wasn’t at the morning skate so I couldn’t ask him, but it is something I will ask tomorrow. I suspect the answer will be that they were the hunt for the playoffs and the doctors said he couldn’t injure it any worse than it was. 

There is no chance Nugent-Hopkins will be ready for the season opener, and that means the Oilers will be without their #1 centre. I understand the Oilers wanted to compete for the playoffs this year, but I think they should have sent Nugent-Hopkins to the surgeon much sooner.