Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was noticeably absent from the Oilers’ first practice back in North America on Monday. In his place on the top line was extra forward Drake Caggiula, but Jason Gregor reports that Nugent-Hopkins is expected to be ready for Edmonton’s game against the Bruins in Boston on Thursday.
Team didn’t skate today. But he had minor tweak/injury which is why he didn’t skate yesterday. Expectation today is that he will play on Thursday. https://t.co/DR5MXV1oPD
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) October 9, 2018
According to Gregor, Nugent-Hopkins is banged up, but the issue is minor and he shouldn’t miss any actual game action. This is good news, of course, because the top line is going to be key for the Oilers if they want to have a rebound after their ugly season opener showing. While the Oilers struggled on Saturday, the McNuggie line was one of the bright spots offensively. They were on the ice for 15 shot attempts for and 11 against, which was the best differential of any of the Oilers’ forward trios on the game.
That would also explain why Drake Caggiula was filling in on the top line at Edmonton’s practice Monday. Seeing Caggiula jump right from the press box to McDavid’s wing sent Oilers fans into a tizzy, but it made sense that the extra forward filled in that spot with Nugent-Hopkins’ expected absence to be short. Don’t expect Todd McLellan to jumble the lines too much at the beginning of the season.