After stellar rookie campaigns punctuated with Calder nominations, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Adam Henrique were probably pretty excited about starting their sophomore seasons.
Wonder how they feel now.
Today, Nugent-Hopkins and Henrique reported to AHL Oklahoma City and Albany, byproducts of the current work stoppage. It must feel a bit odd, given what both accomplished with the Oilers and Devils last season — the Nuge became the fourth player in league history to record five assists in a single game while Henrique was the first rookie ever to score two series-clinching overtime goals in the same playoffs.
As such, it’s hard to imagine either guy is stoked about bus rides to Peoria and Worcester.
Not that they’re letting on, mind you.
“I’m just going to go in and play and not worry – too much – about the [lockout] going on,” Nugent-Hopkins told the Globe and Mail. “Obviously, I’m going to be involved as much as I can be with it, but I’m just going to get on the ice and focus on that – and whatever happens, happens.”
Henrique’s situation is a tad different. Unlike RNH, he has some experience at the AHL level — he played 76 games with Albany from 2010-12 — and is familiar with many of the players and coaches.
Henrique also realizes having a roster spot waiting for him is a luxury.
“You want to be playing in the NHL,” Henrique told Rich Chere of NJ.com. “[But] It’s nice I don’t have to worry about not having a place to play.”