Oilers Notebook: Connor Brown hurt one game before bonus kicks in, Raphael Lavoie recall incoming?

Photo credit:Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
7 months ago
For Connor Brown, the timing of his injury suffered Thursday night couldn’t come at a worse time.
With it happening in his ninth game with the Edmonton Oilers, Brown will now have to wait before cashing in on a $3.25-million bonus.
After the 4-3 loss to the Stars, Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said Brown suffered a “muscular” injury when he was injured in the second period. The play was innocuous, with the Oilers winning a defensive zone draw, and Brown taking multiple cross-over steps before going to exit the zone.
It’s in those cross-overs where Brown appeared to suffer some kind of lower-body injury.
Brown would immediately leave the ice and head down the tunnell, but returned shortly thereafter to take a spin on the ice. He wouldn’t return, and his night would end with 6:25 of ice-time across nine shifts. There’s been no word from the Oilers as of the time of writing as to how long the injury may keep him out of the lineup.
In his contract, Brown has a performance bonus that would pay him $3.25-million, a number counting against the Oilers’ cap next year, for playing 10 games with the club.
As our own Jason Gregor alluded to last night, the Oilers have limited options. If Brown is able to land on LTIR with the injury, the team would be able to recall a player from the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. But if not, the club will likely have to send defenceman Philip Broberg to the AHL in order to recall a forward.
This, mind you, is with Mattias Janmark on the shelf with an upper-body injury that has kept him out of the lineup for two consectuive games.
The Oilers next play host to the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon with a 1:00 p.m. MST puck drop.


Lavoie recall incoming?

If both Brown and Janmark are unable to play Saturday afternoon, the Oilers could choose to call up Raphael Lavoie, who is knocking on the NHL’s door.
He didn’t have the best pre-season, and I’m sure the Oilers are thankful he was able to squeeze through waivers unclaimed. When it comes to Lavoie, who has four goals, seven points and a Gordie Howe hat trick through five games, the issue wouldn’t be so much “should the team recall him,” but more of “is he ready to stick in the NHL.”
As Lavoie told Jason Gregor last week, his plan isn’t to just get to the NHL, it’s to stick.
For that reason, if the Oilers don’t feel ready to play him 10+ minutes a night, if the club looks to recall Lane Pederson in the short-term. He’s having a solid start in Bakersfield with two goals and four points in four games, but was banged up a bit last week and missed a game. Another option for a short-term recall could be James Hamblin, who played 10 NHL games last year, and has three goals and five points in five AHL games this season.
Lavoie is right on the precepice of having what it takes to stick in the NHL, but the issue is how would the team handle him if he’s struggling, which he very likely might? There’s no tried and true method here for a club in salary cap hell unable to even ice a standard 12-6 lineup.

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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