UPDATE ON NUGENT-HOPKINS

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

 

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Paging Steven Weiss, paging Steven Weiss.

    Could you please report to the Edmonton Oilers hockey club for the next 3 seasons. You’re their new first line center.

    • paul wodehouse

      If Oilers are gonna replace Gagner they better “Replace” him, not get another one like him except older and less offensive instincts..no thank you.

      Oilers need a younger, meaner Jason Arnott as their number two center.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          my pound of cure is already playing for us…Sam Gagner. he looks like he’s started to finally show his talent, and despite Weiss having a few seasons where he’s scored over 20 goals and 60 points, is he really an improvement over Gagner? if he is, how much of one? i’d rather keep Gagner, at least for now. despite most of us wanting a bunch of earth moving trades to upgrade this team, i just can’t see it happening that fast. i for one am willing to be even MORE patient while this team continues on it’s rebuild.

          • DSF

            You really need to look at Gagner’s season more closely before declaring him the “cure”.

            In his first 10 games, Gagner scored 11 points including 3 goals. (1.1PPG)

            In his last 20 games, he scored only 3 goals and 10 points. (0.50 PPG)

            In his last 10 games, he scored 0 goals and 4 assists, all of them second assists. (0.40 PPG.)

            So, once again we’re looking at a player who can put up points in short bursts and then vanishes for an extended period of time.

            It’s likely the time Gagner spent playing in Austria gave him an early boost while the rest of the league got up to speed but, as soon as the rubber hit the road, he folded like a Taiwanese lawn chair.

            That he was also dreadful defensively should give you pause before claiming he is the answer.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            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.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            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.

          • Eddie Edmonton

            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.

          • Citizen David

            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.

          • Eddie Edmonton

            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.

          • DSF

            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.

          • Bushed

            Agree with all your comments on this particular thread.

            Gagner should be at the top of the list for trade talks this summer. I don`t want him, even on a bargain contract. Too soft on the puck, won`t play defence, won`t be a factor in playoff games. Get something back while we still can.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            i dont know if gagner is the answer but you cant say hes the same player as a year ago. his shot has improved big time, hes faster and you can tell hes got more confidence in his skill now.

            putting up an 11 game point streak isnt a “short burst” its 1/8th of a full season

          • DSF

            Yeah, remember he did the same thing the previous season including his 8 point game and still ended the season with only 47 points.

            In the final 20 games of the 2011/12 season he scored 4 goals and 7 points.

            At that pace, he would have scored 8 goals and 28 points on the season.

            He vanishes big time and I would wait to see him for a full season before declaring him a better player than he was the year before.

            The evidence doesn’t support it.

          • DSF

            I wouldn’t.

            Too small (5’11” 190) too old (30) and coming off a major injury.

            He wasn’t playing well before injury either (4 points in 17GP).

            He is a UFA so the cost will likely be low but I don’t think he is the answer.

            The Oilers need a big, 2 way centre to compliment Hopkins and Weiss ain’t it.

          • DSF

            Thanks for that. Would you or anyone else know who would be good pick ups in the off season? The only 2 names that caught my attention has been Nathan Horton (minus his injury concerns) and David Clarkson. Are there any big centremen that the Oilers have an honest chance at getting? I’m up for trading everyone but Hall, Yakupov, J. Schultz, and RNH…. I realize they are the only ones with any value to other teams but would an Eberle and a draft pick bring over that big minutes D man we desperately need and if so who would u go for… And don’t say Shea Weber cause as Willis already pointed out Nashville paid big dollars to keep him here after that whole Philly fiasco.

          • DSF

            Holmgren in Philly likes to swing for the fences and is not afraid of making major trades.

            I would try and put together a package for Sean Couturier.

            He’s only 20 and hasn’t really blossomed in Philly but a 6’3″ 200 centre is just what the doctor ordered and I think he would thrive in Edmonton the same way JVR took off in Toronto.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            With second line center minutes here in Oil Country, that could be all the kick start he needs.

            Could we still then sell what’s left for Darnell Nurse?

          • DSF

            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.

          • YEGFan

            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.

          • 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.

          • Wax Man Riley

            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.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Who would you suggest be the bandaid till Hopkins and/or Barkov are amongst the better/top half of the leagues centers?

        Arcobello,Lander? In case you haven’t noticed, we suck at that center ice position Toro. Certainly not chop licker* Sammy Gagner.

        *Opposition centers lick their chops when they look across and see Gagner in their path.