Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Returns to Oilers on Monday


Update:

The Edmonton Oilers will welcome back Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to their lineup on Monday night when the New Jersey Devils visit Rexall Place.  Head coach Dallas Eakins confirmed the news following the team’s practice Friday morning and the club’s official Twitter made it public.

This news is music to every Oilers fans’ ears given the lack of depth the team currently has up the middle, not to mention the additional offensive weapon that RNH immediately adds to the lineup.  No word yet on where he’ll be slotted but an early return is better than a late return and the Oilers just became a better hockey club as a result.

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According to Jason Gregor of the Edmonton Journal and TSN 1260 (via Twitter), Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could return next Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens.  Talk about heading into the weekend on a positive note.

It was reported yesterday from both Gregor and Bob Stauffer that Nugent-Hopkins took part in full contact drills yesterday at practice and if things go as planned then Thursday is the target return date.

Gregor does state that it’s highly unlikely we’ll see RNH before the game against the Habs, that he’ll need a week of contact to ensure his shoulder can take the bump and grind that a game action will bring.  Considering the Oilers only have two games between now and then, it isn’t a huge concern if he can’t go before then.

The debate can now rage on as to what to do with Taylor Hall once Nugent-Hopkins does return.  Given Hall’s performance at centre hasn’t been terrible, the option to move him to the second line and play up the middle could be examined.

Of course moving Hall back to his normal position of left wing and reuniting him with RNH would make the most sense and provide the Oilers with a high flying first line.

Let’s hope there isn’t a setback and we see number 93 back on the ice when the Canadiens visit Rexall Place.

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