Edmonton Oilers: Draisaitl’s Injury Creates Opportunity

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 09: Leon Draisaitl. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 09: Leon Draisaitl. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl will not suit up against the Ottawa Senators Saturday, due to an injury pertaining to his eye.

The 21-year-old was hit by Jacob Trouba in the Oilers’ 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets Monday, which according to head coach Todd McLellan, is where the injury came from. There is no video film of the incident, and there is still uncertainty in regards to what exactly happened. Nonetheless, he has not been at practice due to swelling in his eye, as well as lack of vision.

McLellan also told the media that the German centre wouldn’t be playing against Ottawa following Friday’s practice. He said that Draisaitl has a black eye and that the team is further waiting to see “how it affects his head.” It was later revealed Saturday that he is suffering concussion-type symptoms.

Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers /

Edmonton Oilers

Through three games this season, Draisaitl has a goal and three points. Last season, he had 29 goals and 77 points through all 82 games and was also a huge factor in Connor McDavid’s 100-point campaign. He signed an eight-year, $64 million deal with the team this offseason, and is expected to be a long-term contributor moving forward.

As a team so far this year, Edmonton has scored seven goals heading into their fourth game. However, they are not getting contributions from many of their wingers beyond the top-six. And with Draisaitl gone, Edmonton will need more effort from their other forwards.

High Expectations

Perhaps the biggest name to look to step up is Ryan Strome. The 23-year-old is scoreless so far with the Oilers but could see time in Draisaitl’s spot on the top-line wing. In turn, he will have to take more shots and use his speed and skating to his advantage if he wants to produce.

Additionally, Kailer Yamamoto could see more ice time with Draisaitl out and even skated with McDavid and Patrick Maroon Friday. Though he could be in the midst of a simple nine-game trial up in the NHL, he has a chance to stay a little longer, while also proving his worth. He has a lot of speed and skill, and though he’s only played limited minutes so far, he will likely get more time with one of the Oilers’ star players out of the lineup. That alone should translate into more opportunity and ultimately goal-scoring.

Jussi Jokinen also needs to show more aggression on offence. After failing to follow up his impressive 60-point campaign in 2015-16, the Finnish winger got a one-year deal from the Oilers in the offseason. And heading into the year, he was supposed to not only put up numbers and add offensive depth to the wing and bottom-six, but he was also supposed to potentially compete for a top-six spot. And now, with Draisaitl out, there is a lot left for him to prove.

Next: Edmonton Oilers Need More from Ryan Strome

Overall, it will hurt to see one of the Oilers’ biggest offensive threats out of the lineup. However, it is an opportunity for many of their forwards waiting in the wings to step up and make the most of the opportunity.