The Edmonton Oilers pulled off a pair of trades to add to their forward group yesterday, perhaps knowing what they would be announcing today. The team released notice that Kailer Yamamoto will be out week-to-week with an ankle injury, meaning Markus Granlund is on his way back up from the minor leagues.
Yamamoto, 21, basically became the turning point for the Oilers’ season when he was recalled at the end of December. The team has gone 13-5-3 with him in the lineup, while Yamamoto himself has recorded 21 points in those 21 games. Finally providing some wing support that allows Leon Draisaitl to play the middle of the ice, the young forward has made the Oilers a much more dangerous team.
His absence now means Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis will have plenty of weight put on them as they begin their Edmonton careers. The two speedy forwards were acquired for draft picks yesterday to boost the team’s offensive depth, and could end up playing on the top two lines.
More importantly perhaps is when Yamamoto can return, and whether he’ll have time to get his feet back under him before the playoffs. That is of course if the team makes it; the Oilers will have to continue their strong run to secure a playoff spot in the Pacific Division, as three teams are still within three points of them in the standings.