Edmonton Oilers player review and 2023-24 preview: Markus Niemelainen
Photo credit:Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images
By Zach Laing1 month ago
Welcome to the 2022-23 season review and 2023-24 season preview player-by-player! In this and other articles, we’ll be, well, reviewing the 2022-23 season of Edmonton Oilers players and previewing their 2023-24 season. You can read about the analytics behind my analysis here.
Welcome back, Markus Niemelainen.
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It’s do-or-die time for Markus Niemelainen who finds him at a career crossroads at 25-years-old. Drafted by the Oilers in the third round of the 2016 draft, you could already consider his career to be a success with 85 AHL games and 43 in the NHL already under his belt.
As it stands, he finds himself on the cusp of the two leagues. In the NHL, his boots aren’t quite quick enough, and his puck skills lack the ability to be trusted with it on his stick. Defensively he’s more sound and packs a mean streak to his game enticing enough to have kept him around the big club for parts of the last two seasons.
The truth of the matter is that where he is in his career, I have a hard time imagining him being able to develop further with his puck skills getting a whole lot better than where they are. For the Oilers, he’s a liability on the ice no matter how much crunch he provides.
It’s always possible the Oilers look to deal Niemelainen in a similar way they did with Dmitri Samorukov last year where they netted Klim Kostin as a return.
NIEMELAINEN’S CAREER SO FAR
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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