The Edmonton Oilers have made their final cuts to bring their roster to 23. Among those left standing is the 2011 NHL Entry Draft’s first overall pick.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins watched the Oilers cut five players, including former first round pick Gilbert Brule, in order to get to the mandated roster size.
Nugent-Hopkins, who signed with Edmonton shortly after the draft, is eligible to play in nine games before the first year of his three-year entry level contract kicks in. He can still be returned to Red Deer after playing in 10 or more games, but in doing so the Oilers will burn the first year of his deal.
If returned before game 40, his year does not count as an accrued season, meaning the season does not move Nugent-Hopkins a year closer to unrestricted free agency.
The Oilers currently have forwards Sam Gagner and Ben Eager injured. Gagner, nursing a high ankle sprain, is expected to be out anywhere from 2-4 weeks. Eager is out indefinitely with a concussion. Edmonton will need to make additional room on the roster when either player to return from injury.
Once the player appears in his tenth NHL game, his contract kicks in. He can still be returned to his junior club after that. But at season’s end, a full contract year will expire.