It looks like we’ll see a slightly different version of the Edmonton Oilers’ blueline in the coming days.
According to Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic, the Oilers are planning to call up defenceman Markus Niemelainen from the Bakersfield Condors this week. Nugent-Bowman also said that the team would then roll with 12 forwards and seven defenders on their roster, so Brad Malone or Devin Shore would presumably be sent to Bakersfield to make room for Niemelainen.
Niemelainen played 20 games for the Oilers last season and quickly endeared himself as the big defender who wasn’t afraid to throw big hits. Listed at 6′ 6″, 190 pounds, Niemelainen would give the Oilers some much-needed size and physicality on their blueline.
The Oilers allowed four goals in the first period of Saturday’s loss to the Calgary Flames and wound up losing the game by a score of 4-3. The pairing of Evan Bouchard and Ryan Murray had a particularly difficult night, as they were on the ice for three of Calgary’s goals.
We could see Jay Woodcroft opt to use 11 forwards and seven defenders during a game this week, something he did many times with the Condors in the past and did a few times with the Oilers last season.