After spending five games down in Bakersfield with the Condors, Andrej Sekera is set to make his return to the Oilers’ lineup as the defenceman has now been recalled from his conditioning stint.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 17, 2019
It’s been a brutal couple of years for Andrej Sekera as the defenceman has had to deal with a pair of very tough injuries that have kept him on the shelf for months at a time. As we all know, Sekera tore his ACL during the playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks and was forced to miss all but 36 games in 2017-18. When he did come back past the midway point of the season, you could clearly tell that his mobility had been hampered and that the ACL injury made Sekera look like a shell of himself. Even so, hopes were high that a full summer spent rehabbing would do him a world of good. Then, during his offseason prep for the current season, Sekera tore his Achilles tendon, putting him back on the long term injured reserve before even having a chance to get going. Now that he’s back, it’s going to be mighty interesting to see how his robotic legs will respond after missing the first 58 games of the NHL season.
At the very least, Sekera should improve the Oilers ability to get the puck out of their own end as he is one of the best they have for making a clean first pass out of the zone. Finding more puck-moving defencemen has been on the Oilers’ wishlist for as long as I can remember, and if there’s one thing that Sekera has always done well it’s finding his outlets and connecting with passes on the tape. That said, there is no doubt that his return will be a work in progress. Considering the time he’s missed and the severity of the injury, there are going to be times when the 32-year-old defenceman makes some mistakes and all we can really do is hope that he can get back up to speed as quickly as his surgically enhanced legs will allow. How long will that take? Who can be sure? But for an Oilers team that desperately needs upgrades on the back end, Sekera should provide a boost but what will be interesting is seeing exactly how much.
Another part of the Sekera story is the need to open up a spot on the roster for him. The Oilers already cleared the necessary cap space when they traded Cam Talbot to Philadelphia in exchange for Anthony Stolarz, but they’ll still need a place in the lineup for him to slide into. According to a few reports on Twitter, Jesse Puljujarvi could be sent down to Bakersfield as early as this weekend and I really hope that’s the case. Having Puljujarvi finish the season in Bakersfield’s winning environment and playing big minutes could do wonders for the kid’s confidence at the tail end of this season, and I’ll be eagerly waiting for an update that tells me he’s headed south.
Since signing with Edmonton as a free agent back in 2015, Sekera has played in 197 games with the Oilers and registered 73 points (14G, 59A) while averaging 20:41 worth of ice time in all situations. Sekera still has two years left on his $5.5 million per deal.
SEKERA’S OILERS CAREER SO FAR
|2018-19||Edmonton Oilers*||NHL||Statistics Unavailable|
Source: Edmonton Oilers, Official Twitter Account, 2/17/2019 – 3:00 pm MT