The Oilers are mired in a four-game losing streak and they currently sit on the outside of the playoffs looking in. The team is currently riddled with injuries, as Oscar Klefbom and Kris Russell’s missing presence has made the blueline paper thin. To compound matters, Alex Chiasson left Thursday night’s loss against Vancouver after getting hit by an Adam Larsson clapper.
The team placed Valentin Zykov on waivers Friday morning for the purpose of assignment to AHL Bakersfield. Zykov only got into five games with the Oilers and played more than 10 minutes just once. This would suggest that the Oilers are ready to activate Kris Russell from the Injured Reserve, but it also leaves the team with only 13 forwards, one of them being a banged up Chiasson.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday FRIDAY EDITION question. Are there any reinforcements from the AHL you’d call up to help the team right now?
With Zykov on waivers, don't be surprised if the Oilers recall Kailer Yamamoto from AHL Bakersfield. Need to find scoring.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) December 28, 2018
Many are suggesting that Kailer Yamamoto will be the one to get the recall for the Oilers to inject some life into a struggling offence. After a slow start in the AHL, the 2017 first-round pick seems to have found a rhythym as he’s scored four goals and has put up eight points over 11 games.
That said, Yamamoto didn’t look NHL ready to start the season. He had just one goal and one assist in 12 games with the Oilers before getting sent down and he even had an opportunity on Connor McDavid’s wing but couldn’t get any offence going. Would it be prudent for his development to bring him up just 11 games into what is becoming a strong stretch at the AHL level?
Who else is there? The team’s top scorer right now is Joseph Gambardella, who has 11 goals in 27 games. He’s on the final year of his post-college entry-level deal, so if there was ever a chance to see if he could hack it, it would be now. Cooper Marody, one of Bakersfield’s best players so far, has been up and down a few times, but he’s received limited ice time at the NHL level. Cameron Hebig and Tyler Benson are both having solid offensive seasons as rookies in the AHL.
What say you, Nation? Is there an internal solution to help the Oilers through their slump right now? Does it make sense to call up Yamamoto as soon as he’s managed to find a rhythm at the AHL level? Or does Peter Chiarelli need to find another way to fix this mess?