Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to Undergo Season-Ending Shoulder Surgery

Curtis LeBlancContributor IApril 21, 2013

DENVER, CO - APRIL 19:  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #93 of the Edmonton Oilers controls the puck against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on April 19, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Oilers defeated the Avalanche 4-1.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Edmonton Oilers announced on Sunday that center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be out for the remainder of the season to have his left shoulder examined and that it will most likely require surgery.

The injury, a suspected left labrum tear, is separate from the one that sidelined him last season when doctors repaired the AC joint on his same shoulder.

Nugent-Hopkins struggled offensively this season, and many will be quick to point at the shoulder as a possible reason for his low scoring totals. Jason Gregor of OilersNation.com suggests that it would have probably been in the team's best interest to get him to the doctor sooner.

Nugent-Hopkins was kept in the lineup because, prior to their stifling six game losing streak, the Oilers were very much in the playoff hunt. Now that the team has been mathematically eliminated from the postseason, though, it seems foolish not to have had him get medical attention sooner.

The surgery is the same that Taylor Hall underwent on April 3 of last year, which kept him out of the lineup until late October, when he joined Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle in Oklahoma City to play for the Barons of the American Hockey League.

Gregor suspects that Nugent-Hopkins will see a surgeon as soon as April 23—well after the point at which Hall had his surgery last season. According to this tweet from Dan Tencer of Inside Sports (630 CHED), Hall himself said that it was a full year before he was feeling close to 100 percent recovered:

Taylor Hall says the rehab is about a 6 month process but says it takes a year for it to feel 100%. Says he feels way better than before it.

— Dan Tencer (@dantencer) April 21, 2013

It is now almost certain that this struggling Edmonton Oilers team, who are now the sole owners of the league's longest playoff drought at seven seasons, will be starting next season without their top center.