Evander Kane’s injury during the Edmonton Oilers’ Tuesday evening game versus the Tampa Bay Lightning was gruesome and terrifying. As he went down to the ice, Pat Maroon’s skate cut his arm just below the wrist, leading to a scary scenario of watching the Oilers’ winger race off the ice in a panic. This injury is a devastating blow to the Edmonton Oilers roster.
Luckily, Kane will be okay. After undergoing surgery later that evening, he was able to send out a message to fans by the next morning and gave an interview Friday morning as he rejoined the team. He will be back, however, it will be a three to four-month recovery time.
With five goals and 13 points in 14 games, Kane was expected to be a crucial part of the Oilers’ depth scoring, sitting fifth in the team’s scoring race. Additionally, his size and physicality added some dynamism to his game that helped make him one of the most valuable players in Edmonton’s lineup.
To fill the lineup after Evander Kane’s injury, the Oilers will be hard-pressed to find ways to replace everything that he provided. There are some internal options, but all of those rely on players breaking out of slumps. The team could also start looking outside the organization, as there have been some big names that the Oilers may be interested in.
Can the Oilers Cover Evander Kane’s Injury Internally?
Quite simply, there is no one-to-one replacement from within the organization that will cover Evander Kane’s injury absence. But, a few players with different skill sets could come together and step up to spread those contributions throughout the lineup.
At this point, Jesse Puljujarvi is probably on his last chance with the Oilers. The team was trying to trade him (and might still be). But if there is anyone in the Oilers’ lineup who can most closely match Kane’s style of play, it will be the Finnish winger.
Puljujarvi is in a major slump with just two points in 15 games. In past seasons, a lack of production was quite easily negated by his tendency to make everyone around him play better and his amazing underlying numbers. But this season, he is not even getting that part of the game right.
When he is on his game, Puljujarvi is able to use his big frame to win battles on the forecheck, his speed to keep up with the pace of play on the top lines, and when he gets chances and isn’t snakebitten, he does have a good shot. But he will have to step up from where his first 15 games have left him.
Another player who has had a rough start to the season is Warren Foegele. Two points in 14 games, along with some poor performances in general, and he will be needing to break out of a slump as well.
Similar to Puljujarvi, Foegele is a player who is able to play with a physical edge to his game. He may not have much of an offensive touch, with a career high of 30 points, but he can still be a more physical presence in the bottom half of the lineup.
The holdup for Foegele is that he is a bottom six forward, whereas Puljujarvi can fit in with the top-six.
Replace by Committee
Obviously one player will not replace Kane. But, there are a collection of younger players with complimentary skillsets who could get the team pretty close.
Dylan Holloway has had a quiet start to his career, but his offensive talents and intelligence still do shine through. He is a potential option to play in the top six and get a regular chance with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl to jump start the offensive side of his career. Holloway isn’t an overly physical player, however he does not shy away from engaging.
Klim Kostin, acquired before the season started, has been called up and is expected to be in the Oilers’ lineup moving forward. He is a talented skater who has so far struggled to stick around in the NHL, with just 11 points in 46 games in his time with the St. Louis Blues. A key part of his game, however, is his size and strength.
If he can use that to contribute to the Oilers’ lineup, a combination of Kostin and Holloway could be a bit of a poor man’s replacement for what Kane provides,
Who Could the Oilers Trade for to Cover Evander Kane’s Injury?
Patrick Kane has been a rumored trade target for the Oilers since late last season and now might be the time to make a play. The Chicago Blackhawks are in full rebuild/tank mode and have to imagine that he is available as the team goes for younger players.
Kane would be a great addition to the Oilers’ offensive potential, but he wouldn’t help replace everything that Evander Kane, who is more of a power forward, provides. But it is an interesting thought nonetheless as a combination of retained salary, dumping a contract like Foegele’s, and the LTIR space gained could make this a feasible option.
The St. Louis Blues’ hot start to the season very quickly took a turn for the worse and they now occupy the basement of the league. If this continues for much longer, the Blues may be in a place where they start selling. Vladimir Tarasenko might be one of the first names to go, as the scoring winger can play a complete game and has a very reasonable cap hit, especially as a retained salary transaction.
Tarasenko would be a more appropriate addition as the Blues’ winger is bigger and more physical, helping to replace what Kane would have been adding to the Oilers’ lineup were he not injured.
Those are a few options for how the Edmonton Oilers could cover Evander Kane’s injury absence. How would you handle the roster moving forward? Any players you want the Oilers to acquire? Drop a comment down below!
main image credit: Embed from Getty Images