There will be a change this weekend. Nugent-Hopkins won't play for the Barons the next month. Nugent-Hopkins stayed in Edmonton this week to undergo treatment for a sore shoulder. Next week the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft is expected to join Canada's junior world team.
Mark Arcobello will fill Nugent-Hopkins' center spot on the No. 1 line.
“It's like when somebody gets called up,” Nelson said. “You have to find the right combinations again. But we'll have guys coming back like Josh Green (and others). Obviously, Ryan is a great hockey player and will be missed. But we have some other parts we can insert as we move along.”
It's uncertain whether the Oilers' young stars will remain in OKC all season. NHL contract negotiations were making progress this week but hit another snag on Thursday. In the meantime, they're compiling insane stats for the Barons.
“They're going good right now,” Nelson said. “They're using each other real well in the offensive zone. They're getting their chemistry back to where it was last year in Edmonton. They're fun to watch.”