Wednesday has already been another eventful day for the Oilers, as they have recalled three players from Bakersfield and placed two others on LTIR.
When Raphael Lavoie was loaned to the Condors on Tuesday, we predicted he’d get another opportunity with the Oilers at some point this season. We just didn’t realise it would be so quickly.
Just one day later, Lavoie is back with the Oilers. In many ways this sums up what an unpredictable, crazy and almost surreal season this has been so far in Edmonton, and we’re only one month in!
The quick return of the 2019 38th overall draft pick, is just one of several moves the Oilers made on Wednesday morning. As per a press release from the team, they also recalled two other players from the Bakersfield Condors and placed two more on long-term injured reserve (LTIR).
Injuries a theme for Oilers in 2023-24
Along with Lavoie, fellow forward Adam Erne and blue liner Philip Broberg will join him in Edmonton. Meanwhile Dylan Holloway (lower body) and Mattias Janmark (upper body) are the two players who have been placed on LTIR.
Holloway injured himself during Monday night’s home game versus the Islanders. It happened in the second period, when he lost his balance and slid hard into the boards.
As for Janmark, he has not played since Oct. 26, with his LTIR placement being retroactive to this date. In truth he’d done little prior to this point, as evidenced by zero points and a -2 plus/minus rating in seven games.
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In respect of the players rejoining the Oilers, there has to be some concern about the trio each having no points in a combined 19 NHL games in 2023-24. The team has been struggling to score this season, entering Wednesday’s slate of games ranked 24th in the league, with an average of 2.79 goals per game.
In terms of the two returning forwards, Lavoie has a high ceiling but is still adapting to the demands of the game at the highest level. Meanwhile, Erne offers a combination of veteran NHL experience, hard work and grit.
As for Broberg, he is similar to Lavoie in respect of being talented and having an intriguing upside. If nothing else he gives new coach Kris Knoblauch more options, as the blue line is still attempting to find its identity and a defensive scheme which fits best.
Where do they fit in with the lineup?
After practice on Wednesday, Knoblauch was asked about how he will incorporate the new guys who he had essentially just met for the first time. Speaking to the media, he said:
"“Adam will be going in tonight and playing left wing and Broberg will be as an extra. Obviously having the seven defencemen out on the (upcoming) road trip will be good for us.”"
Erne is expected to join Lavoie on the fourth line, on either side of James Hamblin at centre. Meanwhile, as per Knoblauch’s comments, Broberg was not among the three pairings during practice.
As for the roster makeup, the Oilers now have 22 of 23 spots allocated, along with a projected cap space of $65,098. (All information as per Cap Friendly.) It will be interesting to see what Knoblauch can achieve with this latest version of the team, as they head east for four games following Wednesday night’s home game versus the Kraken.