Oilers Roster Missing Pieces As Camp Begins

Duncan Keith #2, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Duncan Keith #2, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

While the majority of the Edmonton Oilers roster will be hitting the ice for training camp in the coming days, a number of players will be missing due to injury or other reasons. Added to the absent Dylan Holloway, defensive prospect Dmitri Samorukov will not be seen in Edmonton for some time due to a broken jaw incurred in the Oilers vs. Flames rookie game. The 22-year-old Russian is seen as a candidate for a breakout season, but is now out of the lineup for roughly six weeks.

Additionally, third string goaltender Alex Stalock’s under-usage in an Oiler uniform was finally given explanation when the team revealed he developed a lingering heart condition as a result of contracting Covid19. His lack of playing time seemed odd at times last season, but this news clears things up. Some saw Stalock as a potential #2 goalie if the Oilers ever found a taker for the overpriced Mikko Koskinen, now his National Hockey League career as a whole could be over. Hopefully he has a speedy recovery.

In other Covid-related roster news, Duncan Keith will be late to camp following his quarantine period after receiving his vaccination.

The 38-year-old defenseman flew to the United States to get the single shot Johnson & Johnson version of the shot, giving him the shortest path to immunity, and rejoining his teammates at Rogers Place. It’s unclear what delayed his inoculation but, as a seasoned veteran and known fitness fanatic, the shortened pre-season shouldn’t be a problem for Keith.

With two defensemen out of the picture in the early days, other prospects such as Philip Broberg and Evan Bouchard will have a great opportunity to push their way onto the opening night lineup. Bouchard, who couldn’t convince head coach Dave Tippett to keep him on the roster last season, showed flashes of offence in his brief appearances in the NHL.

Broberg has slightly lower pedigree but his elite skating skill could move him past aging vets like Kris Russell.

With the news of #4 being sent to the rafters, Russell will be wearing Adam Larsson’s vacated #6 on his jersey this season. The jersey retirement will occur on November 5th, when the New York Rangers are in town. Hopefully, the pandemic situation allows for a full house, it would be a shame for the ceremony to happen in front of an empty arena.