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Edmonton Oilers


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Edmonton Oilers

Post by jedi17 on Fri 19 May 2017, 8:07 pm

Sekera Out 6 to 9 Months
May 16, 2017, 1:31 PM ET [408 Comments]
Matt Henderson
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSS • Archive • CONTACT
Peter Chiarelli had his year end press conference today and he touched on a few things but really the story was about the defense.

The Oilers General Manager dropped a bomb on the press by disclosing that Andrej Sekera tore his ACL against Anaheim and will have surgery immediately. The recovery time for Sekera will be 6-9 months, which puts his return to the team sometime near the December or January.

Sekera was the Oilers 2nd highest scoring defenseman this past year with 8-27-35. That ranks 43rd in NHL scoring by defensemen. Given that there are 60 1st pairing spots, you can make the argument that his offense is top pairing caliber. He averaged the 2nd most TOI/G, picking up essential minutes in every game state.

Sekera’s major injury will have ripple effects for the club through the summer, impacting their choices in free agency and the trade market. Sekera is the anchor of the 2nd pairing, while Russell was just an anchor. With Russell a UFA and Sekera injured, the entire 2nd unit is surrounded by question marks.

Even though Chiarelli spoke about wanting the defense to continue evolving and that it wasn’t at the level of the Western Conference clubs playing in the Finals, the Sekera injury throws a wrench into everything. Peter Chiarelli went on to say he would like to re-sign Kris Russell because of his poise and character. At this point, intangibles are almost all that Russell brings to the table, but with a new opening on the left side that will need to be filled for at least 3 months of the season, Russell’s chances of being re-signed have clearly been boosted.

Russell could play on his natural left side, potentially on the 3rd pairing if Nurse and Benning push themselves up the order, and he could be another stop-gap in the ongoing evolution for the defense.

Or the Oilers could do something crazy and give him money and term. It’s really anyone’s guess what the Oil will do in this unfortunate situation.

Edmonton’s blueline, with healthy players signed into next year, looks like this:

Klefbom Larsson
Nurse Benning

There is still a need for a RHD, Reinhart is a leading candidate to be taken in expansion, and both Nurse and Benning did reasonably well in the 3rd pair slot but haven’t proven much playing above that place in the lineup. With Sekera out for such a long time, it might be more essential than ever to find a replacement for his PP minutes.

Sekera averaged 2:11 per game on the man-advantage. That will now have to be effectively filled in by either Nurse, Benning, or a player who is not yet an Oiler. Klefbom took over duties on the top unit, but long-term success of the Power Play still requires the 2nd unit to contribute. With both Klefbom and Sekera healthy, the need for an offensively minded defender was mitigated. With one hurt that need rises again.

Sekera will be a difficult player to replace, even if it’s only for half the season.

    Current date/time is Thu 19 Apr 2018, 4:54 am