Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ rookie of the year hopes took a hit today as the Oilers announced he’ll miss the next 3-4 weeks with a shoulder injury. The news comes just three days after Nuge hurt his shoulder against Chicago and one day after leaving the Oilers’ current road trip to fly back to Edmonton for medical testing.
It’s a big loss for the Oilers. Being without their prized rookie for a month is one thing, but RNH is the team’s second-leading scorer and key setup-man on the powerplay — his 15 PP assists are double that of the No. 2 guy, Jordan Eberle, who has seven.
The injury also blows the Calder Trophy race wide open. Reigning NHL Rookie of the Month Adam Henrique is charging hard and now just seven points back of Nugent-Hopkins for the rookie scoring lead, but there are plenty of others in the mix. Vancouver’s Cody Hodgson (9G-13A-22PTS) has seven points in his last 10 games and seems to have found his groove, Philadelphia’s Matt Read is getting first-line minutes with Claude Giroux/Scott Hartnell and Craig Smith is still Nashville’s top-scoring forward.
If the Nuge misses up to four weeks of action, he could find himself in a real dogfight for a trophy that was all but his after an outstanding first three months.