In a huge turn of events for the Edmonton Oilers, the team announced that Andrej Sekera will undergo knee surgery to repair a torn ACL and is looking at a 6-9 month recovery. The defenseman injured the knee against Anaheim, presumably when he left game 5 in the first period.
While the Oilers had several defensemen take solid steps forward in their development, the team still relied heavily on Sekera this season in all situations. The 30-year old defender played over 21 minutes a night and skated on both the powerplay and penalty kill. Sekera is also the team’s highest-paid defender, and has four years left on a deal that pays him $5.5MM per season.
Six months would put Sekera coming back in mid-November, but nine would take the majority of the season away from the defenseman. The Oilers will need to rely even more on Oscar Klefbom and need another step forward for Darnell Nurse and perhaps even Griffin Reinhart. It will also be interesting to see if this increases the chance that Kris Russell is back with the team, after recently stating his hope to stay in Edmonton next season.
Russell had to settle for just a one-year deal last summer after teams pulled away from his weak analytical numbers. After another season where he posted modest point totals, huge blocked shot numbers and bad possession statistics, Russell will likely be in a similar situation with a limited market. Edmonton may have just become his biggest suitor, as they’ll have minutes to go around at least to start the year.