Another outbreak of COVID-19 has decimated the Edmonton Oilers.
On Saturday, the Oilers placed Kailer Yamamoto, Evan Bouchard, Brendan Perlini, Ilya Konovalov and Slater Koekkoek in COVID-19 protocols. Six members of the Oilers’ support staff also entered protocols.
According to our own Baggedmilk, signs are pointing towards the Oilers not playing Monday night against the Ottawa Senators.
Don't be surprised if Monday's Oilers game is postponed.
— Baggedmilk, Oily Boy (@jsbmbaggedmilk) January 8, 2022
Those five players join Connor McDavid, Derek Ryan and Tyson Barrie, all of whom entered protocols on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The virus has been running its course through the Oilers locker room for nearly a month now.
In total, 16 Oilers players have entered protocols since Dec. 14: Ryan McLeod, Devin Shore, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Duncan Keith, Jesse Puljujarvi, Darnell Nurse, William Lagesson, Zack Kassian, as well as the aforementioned eight players.
The Oilers have been stuck in a major slide down the NHL standings over the last month going 3-9-2 since Dec. 1 boasting the third-worst points percentage across the league in that time.
Rumours continue to float around what the Oilers will do behind the bench. On Baggedmilk’s Better Lait Than Never podcast, DailyFaceoff’s Frank Seravalli suggested the Oilers may not make a coaching change, but instead, opt to give this team a new look by placing more trust in young players.
It would be a shift of sorts for the Oilers coaching staff, who have continually relied on ageing veterans on this team in key situations.
Good teams have young players play in bigger roles, and it’s time the Oilers look to do the same.
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 [email protected]