It was less than a minute into the game on Saturday night when defenseman Slater Koekkoek took a big hit in the neutral zone that put the Oilers on the powerplay and ended the night for Koekkoek. The hit has also likely ended his regular season. Per his Instagram, Koekkoek has suffered a broken collarbone as a result of the hit. He’s likely to miss roughly three months, which takes him to the end of May.
Koekkoek, who signed a one-year contract with the Oilers in late December, emerged as a solid penalty killer under Dave Tippett. He had recently found a role at five-on-five with rookie Evan Bouchard, providing a veteran presence on the third pairing.
With his long-term injury, the Oilers are now dealing with some issues on the blueline. Ethan Bear has been out since January 30th with a face injury, and reportedly suffered a setback last week. In addition, William Lagesson is day-to-day after getting injured in last Monday’s 6-5 loss to the Jets. The Oilers, who were carrying nine defensemen for injury insurance, are now down to just six healthy bodies on the active roster.
The Oilers were expected to recall a defenseman from AHL Bakersfield as soon as this afternoon. They have officially done so, as 26-year-old Swedish defenseman Theodor Lennstrom has been reassigned to the taxi squad. Lennstrom is in his rookie season in North America, and has appeared in seven games with the Condors this season and has scored three points (2 g, 1 a).
Prior to coming to North America, Lennstrom played parts of four seasons in the SHL, including earlier in the 2020-21 season. In 18 games with Frolunda, Lennstrom scored eight points (4 g, 4 a).
Lennstrom will be required to complete a 14-day quarantine upon recall and arrival in Edmonton. If the club can get him to Edmonton tonight, he’ll be eligible to join the active roster and take the ice on March 7th.
The good news? Both Bear and Lagesson skated on Sunday and could be available as soon as this week.
Samorukov Done For Season
Jason Gregor of Oilersnation and TSN 1260 published a report earlier on Sunday that stated prospect D Dmitri Samorukov’s KHL season is over.
Gregor wrote the following regarding Samorukov’s situation in Sunday’s report.
Dmitri Samorukov suffered a shoulder injury in practice a few weeks ago and his season is over. The Oilers medical staff, management and Samorukov’s team had a conference call to discuss his options. They will decide if surgery is needed. It seems likely. Samorukov was having a great year in the KHL, and the plan was for him to come and play in the American League when his KHL season was over.
After a mediocre 2019-20 season in the AHL with Bakersfield, Samorukov was enjoying an outstanding campaign with CSKA Moscow. He had appeared in 48 games, was playing a top-four shutdown role and scored eight points (2 g, 6 a) for one of the league’s best teams. Now, while barreling towards the postseason, Samorukov’s season comes to a halt. As mentioned by Gregor, it will also prevent him from getting some AHL games in the coming months.
It’s a tough blow for a player who seemed to be positioning himself for a shot at NHL employment next season.