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NHL Notebook: Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan McLeod still ‘out for a bit’ with ankle injury, NHL considering lengthening schedule and more

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Photo credit:Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
Despite getting out for a twirl Friday, Ryan McLeod still isn’t near returning to the Edmonton Oilers lineup.
Injured on Nov. 26 late in a three-assist game against the New York Rangers, things have been quiet around McLeod’s injury. Friday, McLeod spoke with media in Edmonton where he said he suffered an ankle injury, but still isn’t sure when he’s returning.
The good news, at the least, is that he’s back out with the team and hitting the ice. Ankle injuries can be fickle, so it’s best he comes back at 100%.

NHL considers longer schedule

The NHL is considering expanding its schedule to 84 games, ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reported Friday.
The move would come to help create more regional rivalries after the league some teams complained about an imbalanced schedule against rivals.
Oilers fans know this all-too-well. This season, they only meet the Calgary Flames three times, all of which are finished by December. The fact that it comes right after the two teams met in the playoffs for the first time in decades is larceny.
Here’s some of Wyshynski’s report:
The addition of two regular-season games would allow the NHL to keep its current schedule format, which sees every team visit every opponent at least once, while giving divisional rivals four games against each other every season. One theory is that the preseason schedule could be shortened to compensate for the additional games. Games against divisional rivals typically draw larger crowds and bigger audiences on national and local television. “They could play Calgary in Edmonton 10 times and sell them all out. It’s crazy,” said one NHL general manager.

Can Ovechkin score 1000?

There’s little question about whether or not Alex Ovechkin will break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time scoring record. The chase is on and there shouldn’t be an issue.
But could Ovechkin further defy typical aging curves and score 1000? Over at Daily Faceoff, Matt Larkin dove into just that. Here’s some of his writing on it.

ALEX OVECHKIN

SeasonAgeGoals/60MinsTotal goals
2022-23 (pace)371.831,68151
2023-24381.651,51342
2024-25391.491,36234
2025-26401.341,22627
While it optimistically projects Ovechkin to play every game over the rest of his contract, the 10 percent aging factor creates a decline that would look pretty realistic, no? He’d 40 by the end of that contract and sitting at 934 goals.
Would he be willing to stick around long enough to get 1,000? Let’s apply the 10 percent decline factor again on a new imaginary contract…
SeasonAgeGoals/60MinsTotal goals
2026-27411.211,10322
2027-28421.0999218
That would get Ovechkin to 974 goals through his age-42 campaign. And, again, that’s with a projection that he gets 10 percent less effective and plays 10 percent fewer minutes per game every season. That doesn’t factor in what lengths the Capitals would go to feed him the biscuit.
And if you’re at 974 and you’re the player who gets more joy out of scoring than any player in NHL history…you can’t squeeze 26 more goals out at that point? He’d get there late in his age-44 season. If Howe and Chris Chelios and Zdeno Chara and Jaromir Jagr can play that long, so can Ovechkin.
It would qualify as a mild upset now if Ovechkin doesn’t catch Gretzky and eventually hit 900. But don’t rule out 1,000. He’s literally the only human being in history we can bet on to do it.
 

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.

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