Per the team’s official Twitter account, the Oilers have activated defenceman Kris Russell from the Injured Reserve, and, in a corresponding move, have placed Kailer Yamamoto on the IR.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 6, 2019
Russell’s return will be a nice boost for the Oilers blueline which has been decimated by injuries. Both him and Oscar Klefbom got injured in Edmonton’s win over Colorado on Dec. 11 and left the Oilers with a paper-thin blueline.
In Russell’s absence, Caleb Jones has capitalized on an opportunity to play with the big club. In nine games, Jones has been impressive, scoring a goal and an assist, logging 19 an average of minutes per game, and looking cool and composed on the ice like a veteran.
If it were up to me, I would play Jones with Adam Larsson and slot Russell next to Darnell Nurse on the second pair. That would leave Brandon Manning, Alex Petrovic, Matt Benning, and Kevin Gravel as options for the third pair. Jones has certainly done enough to warrant not only staying in the lineup, but playing in a top-four role on the Oilers’ blueline.
Then there’s Yamamoto who has played in just one game since being recalled from AHL Bakersfield. Yamamoto suffered an upper-body injury in Edmonton’s loss to the Sharks on Dec. 29 and it isn’t known how long he’ll be out of action.
The Oilers now have 13 forwards and eight defenders on the roster so we might see another transaction in the next few days to give the team some more depth up front.