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Edmonton Oilers place defenceman Markus Niemelainen on waivers

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Photo credit:Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images
Zach Laing
9 months ago
The club announced Friday that the Edmonton Oilers have placed defenceman Markus Niemelainen on waivers.
The 25-year-old, 6’6″ rearguard drew in for three pre-season games this year, scoring no points, playing 13:48 per night.
Niemelainen suffered an injury, however, and it put the Oilers in an awkward spot as roster cuts neared. Due to the injury, the Oilers could not place him on waivers to be cap-compliant for the season, and the club ended up waiving forward Raphael Lavoie, Lane Pederson, and defenceman Ben Gleason.
As I wrote in Niemelainen’s player review and preview last week, he finds himself at a crossroads in his professional career.
He’s appeared in 43 NHL games over the last two seasons and an additional 85 in the AHL. While he’s scored a single assist in those NHL games, he’s fared better offensively in the American League with 21 points.
For Niemelainen, he’s struggled to stay healthy over the last number of years, and it’s been something that’s hurt his ability to find momentum at either level. His footspeed and puck skills aren’t where they need to be to truly stick in the NHL, at least with the Oilers, and it’s a big reason why he’s landed on waivers here today.
It also means that Niemelainen’s now healthy, so he’ll have an opportunity to head to the Condors and munch some minutes near the top of their defensive depth chart.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

NIEMELAINEN’S CAREER SO FAR

Regular Season
Playoffs
Season
Team
Lge
GP
G
A
Pts
PIM
+/-
GP
G
A
Pts
PIM
2015-16
Saginaw Spirit
OHL
65
1
26
27
28
-23
4
0
0
0
0
2016-17
Saginaw Spirit
OHL
59
3
6
9
40
-5
2017-18
HPK Hameenlinna
SM-liiga
42
1
2
3
24
-12
2017-18
LeKi Lempaala
Mestis
1
0
0
0
0
-1
2018-19
HPK Hameenlinna
SM-liiga
50
1
4
5
8
5
18
0
2
2
4
2019-20
Assat Pori
SM-liiga
55
1
6
7
42
-6
2020-21
Assat Pori
SM-liiga
14
0
3
3
35
-2
2020-21
Bakersfield Condors
AHL
21
2
4
6
6
0
2021-22
Bakersfield Condors
AHL
34
2
6
8
12
4
3
0
0
0
0
2021-22
Edmonton Oilers
NHL
20
0
1
1
4
-5
2022-23
Edmonton Oilers
NHL
23
0
0
0
4
3
2022-23
Bakersfield Condors
AHL
30
2
5
7
18
4
2
0
0
0
0
NHL
43
0
1
1
8

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