The Edmonton Oilers can’t catch a break this season (outside the draft lottery). Just a short while from getting Connor McDavid back in the lineup, the team has announced that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will miss six-to-eight weeks after blocking a shot on Monday with what appeared to be his hand.
Nugent-Hopkins has eight goals and 30 points in 46 games. His absence thins out their center ranks considerably, especially considering the versatile role he plays, taking time in the top six and on both special teams units.
The center depth now involves Leon Draisaitl, Matt Hendricks, Mark Letestu and Anton Lander. Those last three, now serving as pivots on the second through fourth lines, have fewer combined points than Nugent-Hopkins this season at just 21. McDavid, who played only 13 games to their combined 126, has 12 points.
It’s been a tough season on the injury front for the Oilers, again. Nail Yakupov missed over a month, Jordan Eberle was injured to start the season, Benoit Pouliot missed time, they’re still without Oscar Klefbom, who is on injured reserve with McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins and Andrew Ference, to touch on a few of the bigger issues.
According to mangameslost.com the Oilers have suffered the most man games lost in the NHL and it has had the biggest impact on the team via the site’s IIT-Skater metric.
The given timeframe would have Nugent-Hopkins back in the lineup the first week of March at the very earliest. With the season all but lost at this point, there won’t be much reason to rush him back.
RNH out of #Oilers lineup 6-8 weeks says Coach McLellan.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 19, 2016
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.