Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is close to returning from injury

The Edmonton Oilers could be getting a major boost on the injury front as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins appears to be nearing a return to action.

Nugent-Hopkins was injured during Edmonton’s New Year’s Eve game against the New Jersey Devils and flew back to Edmonton afterward for evaluation. He was placed on the Injured Reserve with an undisclosed injury shortly after and was then shifted to the Long-Term Injured Reserve last week.

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According to Tom Gazzola, Nugent-Hopkins was skating as a centre between Brendan Perlini and Zack Kassian at the team’s practice on Monday. Here’s how the Oilers’ full line combinations and defensive pairings looked…

Ryan McLeod – Connor McDavid – Kailer Yamamoto

Warren Foegele – Leon Draisaitl – Jesse Puljujarvi

Brendan Perlini – RNH – Zack Kassian

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Devin Shore – Derek Ryan – Colton Sceviour

Tyler Benson – Kyle Turris – Seth Griffith

Darnell Nurse – Evan Bouchard

Duncan Keith – Cody Ceci

Kris Russell – Slater Koekkoek

William Lagesson

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This is an interesting look for the team as we haven’t seen the Oilers operate with all of McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nugent-Hopkins down the middle at all in 2021-22. All three have played centre at some point this season, but never at once, as RNH or Draisaitl is usually on McDavid’s wing.

What do you think of these combinations, Nation? Do you like seeing Nugent-Hopkins used as the team’s third centre? Do you think that can help generate some depth offence?