WWYDW: Reinforcements from Bakersfield

Photo credit:Bakersfield Condors/Twitter
Cam Lewis
1 year ago
Evander Kane suffered a gruesome injury in the Edmonton Oilers’ win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
Blood gushed from Kane’s wrist as he sprinted off the ice and he was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Kane provided an update on Wednesday morning stating that he’s still “in a little bit of shock” but he’s “on the mend.”
We don’t have details on Kane’s specific injury or what procedure was done last night but it’s safe to assume he’ll be out for a significant amount of time.
Back in December of 2019, Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Ilya Mikheyev was involved in a similar incident, as his wrist was cut by the errant skate of an opponent. Mikheyev had surgery to repair an artery and tendons in his wrist that had been severed by the skate blade and he didn’t return to the lineup before the 2019-20 season was ultimately paused in mid-March due to COVID-19. He was listed as month-to-month following the surgery.
There’s no guarantee that Kane’s injury is as severe as Mikheyev’s was but this will surely involve a trip to the Long-Term Injured Reserve, which requires a player to miss 10 consecutive games and 24 consecutive days of play.
The Oilers have operated through the first month of the season with 12 forwards, seven defenders, and two goaltenders on their roster in order to squeeze under the salary cap ceiling. With Kane on the LTIR, they’ll have the flexibility to recall multiple players from the Bakersfield Condors in his place.
Let’s go through the candidates for a recall… 
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Klim Kostin

Acquired just before the start of the season from the St. Louis Blues in a change-of-scenery swap for defenceman Dmitri Samorukov, Kostin seems like the most likely recall in Kane’s absence. The No. 31 overall pick from the 2017 NHL Draft, Kostin is a big, strong forward with skill who isn’t afraid to drop the gloves. He has two goals, two assists, and 15 penalty minutes in nine games with the Condors so far.

Mattias Janmark

Signed in the off-season to a one-year, $1.25 million deal to give the Oilers more depth in their bottom-six, Janmark wound up going on waivers as a salary cap casualty. He had a work visa issue and missed Bakersfield’s first few games of the season but has four points in four games with the team. Janmark has played six seasons in the NHL and can chip in offensively and kill penalties.

Brad Malone

An AHL veteran who’s been with the organization since 2017, Malone is a favourite of the current coaching staff from their time together in Bakersfield. The 33-year-old drew into the lineup during last year’s playoff series with the Colorado Avalanche while Kane was suspended, indicating he’s a veteran that Jay Woodcroft trusts. Malone doesn’t bring much offence but he can win faceoffs and kill penalties.

Tyler Benson

Benson started the season on the Long-Term Injured Reserve with a knee injury but is reportedly close to returning to action. He’s been practicing with the Oilers since last week and is currently travelling with the team. If he doesn’t stick around with the Oilers, Benson would need to go through waivers to join the Condors once he’s activated from the LTIR.

Seth Griffith

Another AHL veteran, Griffith led the Condors with 80 points in 64 games last season and had 10 points through nine games so far this season. Griffith has 80 games of NHL experience but has played just one game with the Oilers since joining the organization in 2020. He can generate some offence but isn’t known for his defensive play.

James Hamblin

An undrafted free agent who started off on a minor-league deal and earned an NHL contract back in March, Hamblin impressed in training camp with his speed and two-way play. Hamblin has three goals and six points through nine games with the Condors this season. The Oilers would love his speed and relentless pressure on the forecheck.

Xavier Bourgault

Edmonton’s first-round pick from the 2021 NHL Draft, Bourgault has hit the ground running in his first season as a pro. He has three goals and six points through nine games and two of his goals have come on the penalty kill. The Oilers likely don’t want to rush Bourgault to the NHL but his play early on warrants him being in the conversation for a call-up.
What say you, Nation? Which forwards from the Bakersfield Condors do you think should get a chance with the Oilers? How can the team best navigate Kane’s injury? 

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