Edmonton Oilers winger Anton Slepyshev has suffered a lower-body injury which could hold him out for all of training camp.
According to Mark Spector, the Russian winger injured his ankle during training and will be out for a majority of camp. In a Friday update, General Manager Peter Chiarelli told reporters that Slepyshev got his ankle examined and could return before the end of camp, but the timetable of his injury is unknown.
In 41 games with Edmonton last season, the 23-year-old registered four goals and 10 points and was a plus-5. He also spent nine games with the Bakersfield Condors during the regular season, where he racked up three goals and 10 points. However, he shined brightest in the Oilers postseason, where he created plenty of scoring chances and also managed three goals in 12 games.
Looking at the Oilers’ lineup heading into the season, Slepyshev takes away some of their depth on the right side. The Oilers are already pretty thin when it comes to their right wingers, and without the 23-year-old there to make an impact, there will certainly be spots up for grabs.
How Edmonton Copes
Considering Edmonton’s lack of right-wing depth, it seems that with Slepyshev out, Jesse Puljujarvi is nearly a shoe-in for a spot. He has had a year of fine-tuning and development in the AHL, where he has grown more accustomed to the North American game. He did get 28 games with the Oilers, but after posting just a goal and seven points, he was sent down to Bakersfield. There, he finished with 12 goals and 28 points in 39 games.
Still, though Puljujarvi is ready to show he can make the jump, the Oilers still don’t have a full-fledged arsenal of right-wing scorers. Jordan Eberle’s departure leaves a huge hole in the Oilers right side, leaving Zack Kassian, Ryan Strome, Drake Caggiula, Iiro Pakarinen and potentially Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to fill the void. And of course, looking at those names, two of them are not natural wingers.
Kailer Yamamoto is always a dark horse, but the Oilers may want to wait for him to get more development before he joins the NHL ranks. This may lead the Oilers to sign a free agent to a professional tryout, just in case Slepyshev doesn’t recover in time, or if none of their pieces in the system can make the step up.
This may lead the Oilers to sign a free agent to a professional tryout, just in case Slepyshev doesn’t recover in time, or if none of their pieces in the system can make the step up.
Considering the ankle injury is apparently nothing serious, the Oilers have a lot of options and not too much to worry about as they enter the 2017-18 campaign.