Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been the subject of trade rumors all season long. Ironically, Oilers fans will now get a taste of what life would really be like without Nugent-Hopkins, as he will be out of the lineup for 6-8 weeks with a hand injury.
The Oilers earned a critical two points against the Florida Panthers Monday night, keeping Edmonton’s playoff hopes alive. But the 4-2 victory was a costly one, and the team will be missing an important piece of the puzzle for up to two months.
Nugent-Hopkins suffered the injury in the second period when he blocked a shot by Panthers defenseman Dmitri Kulikov during a Florida power-play. He left the ice 2:47 into the second period and did not return.
Nugent-Hopkins has managed 8 goals and 22 assists in 46 contests this season. He is far and away the best two-way player on Edmonton’s roster. Without question, Nugent-Hopkins leaves a big hole in the middle of the ice, especially as Connor McDavid continues to recover from a broken collarbone.
Edmonton has shown great character and resiliency this season in the face of many obstacles. This is just one more test the team will need to battle through.
Featured Image via edmontonjournal.com