My friends, I’m here to deliver some bad news. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be out of the lineup for 5-6 weeks with cracked ribs.
After being told that Nuge was probably going to be okay coming out of the bye week, the news has taken a dramatic turn over the last couple days. Originally, Todd McLellan indicated that Nuge would probably be fine after taking a hard hit from Brayden McNabb, but that all changed yesterday when he was added to the IR. Even so, this trip to the IR was supposed to be a quick one as local media guys were talking about a bruised sternum being nothing serious and certainly not a long term injury. I guess life comes at you fast.
It goes without saying that losing Nugent-Hopkins is a massive blow to the Oilers and any hopes they may have had of clawing their way back into the playoff race. In the very least, this RNH injury has been a rollercoaster of emotions. To lose your leading goal scorer for an extended period is never good news, but then to think he was going to be fine and lose him anyway is a kick to the pills that none of us needed right now. Fans aside, I also feel really bad for RNH as he was having the best season of his career and was making good on all the things that the organization wanted from him. We were watching a young player turn into the two-way guy we all hoped he would and to see that dashed with an injury is a tough pill to swallow.
At the end of the day, this is an injury to a key player that will really test the depth in the organization. We’re also going to what life will be like for this team without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. My guess is that we’re going to get a sobering reminder of just how much he does for this team, and to also make a real case for why Peter Chiarelli needs to do everything he can to keep the depth at centre intact. If you’re looking to start putting nails in the coffin that was the 2017-18 season, then this injury will certainly help get you there.
On the bright side, at least this injury will mean that Nuge won’t be traded at the deadline? *sigh*
RNH’S SEASON SO FAR
Source: Reid Wilkins, 630 CHED Radio, 1/19/2018, 12:30pm MST