Tough blow for Edmonton as it looks like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could miss the entire first month of the season as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury. RNH had surgery back in late April to repair a torn labrum.
This should give Sam Gagner's value a boost in the early part of the campaign, as he will likely see plenty of minutes on the top line. Gagner was on a nice pace in 2013 putting up 38 points in 48 games.
Perhaps part of the reason it seems to be taking longer than expected for the Oilers to start turning a corner with their young core, is the fact that they have had several key injuries over the past few seasons. Gagner and Jordan Eberle have been fairly healthy, but Taylor Hall and Nugent-Hopkins have both missed significant time with ailments. It's tough to build cohesiveness and come together as a group when key contributors are shifting in and out of the lineup.
Some of you have been asking for more extensive coverage from the prospects camps and tournaments. Dobber had some stuff on it yesterday, but here are a few more things I dug up.
I mentioned Jean Gabriel-Pageau the other day and where he might fit in the Sens lineup this season, and he has been dominating in Ottawa's prospect tournament. Luke Richardson, who may be slightly biased because he coached Pageau with the Binghamton Senators, said he was the best player at the tournament. Richardson also added that some people in London asked him why Pageau was even there. It looks like he should make Ottawa's squad this year.
Over in Traverse City, Mike Morreale of NHL.com writes that Valeri Nichuskin is looking good for the Dallas Stars. The top 10 selection in from this past June has two goals and generated quality several scoring chances both with the power play and five-on-five. Morreale also said that Nichuskin is oozing confidence, which is always good for a young player.
Morreale has been keeping a blog from Traverse City that should give you more insight about all the teams and their prospects.