The Edmonton Oilers simply cannot catch a break when it comes to injuries right now. The club saw two new additions, Mike Green and Andreas Athanasiou, leave Wednesday night’s loss against the Golden Knights. Athanasiou practiced on Friday and should be good to go tonight. Green? Not so much.
The club announced on Friday that Green will miss the next 3-4 weeks with a strained PCL. Green had played in place of Matt Benning in each of the last two games, logging time on both the powerplay and penalty kill. Benning is expected to rejoin the lineup tonight.
There is some good news, however. Kailer Yamamoto, who has missed each of the last two games, is a game-time decision just six days after suffering an ankle injury. Sources indicate that Yamamoto is more likely than not to play tonight against the Jets. Nothing confirmed, but it looks good for Yamamoto.
Zack Kassian, who served a seven game suspension for kicking Erik Cernak of the Tampa Bay Lightning, will return to the lineup. He is expected to be eased back in and will play on the third line. Kassian will have to earn another look with McDavid if he is going to get it.
Kris Russell was placed on LTIR six days ago, and his timeline for a return was “murky”. Russell, who is dealing with a concussion, could return to the lineup this evening. He took a number of reps with Benning on Friday and led the stretches at practice. That is a tell that the veteran defenseman is close to getting back into games.
James Neal practiced on Friday, but is at least a week away still with an ankle injury suffered in January. Joakim Nygard and Oscar Klefbom did not skate on Friday. Klefbom’s status remains in the air.
He had a minor shoulder procedure done roughly two weeks ago. His original timeline to return had him back in the lineup as early as this coming Monday. That seems to be in serious doubt.
Here is a look at Edmonton’s depth chart based off of Friday’s practice at Rogers Place.
Andreas Athanasiou – Connor McDavid – Tyler Ennis
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Leon Draisaitl – Kailer Yamamoto
Josh Archibald – Riley Sheahan – Zack Kassian
Jujhar Khaira – Gaetan Haas – Alex Chiasson
James Neal – Markus Granlund – Patrick Russell
Darnell Nurse – Ethan Bear
Caleb Jones – Adam Larsson
Kris Russell/William Lagesson – Matt Benning
Stay tuned to The Oilers Rig for this afternoon’s pregame report! Tonight is, without doubt, the biggest Oilers game since the 2017 playoffs.