5:38 pm: The team also announced that they’ve moved forward Kyle Turris to injured reserve. He’s only played four games since the beginning of January but has been a healthy scratch for most of the time. The nature of his injury is unknown. To fill his roster spot, the team recalled defenseman Philip Broberg from the AHL.
2:41 pm: The Edmonton Oilers will be without Zack Kassian and Duncan Keith for the next several weeks, general manager Ken Holland announced today. Kassian is dealing with a broken jaw that will keep him out four to six weeks, while Keith is in concussion protocol, has upper-body soreness and could miss two to four weeks. The Oilers will recall Markus Niemelainen from Bakersfield to fill one of the roster spots.
Kassian, 31, left last night’s game after playing just 4:52 of ice time, though that wasn’t all that far off from what he had been receiving of late anyway. The veteran forward has just five goals and 14 points through 35 games and will now end up missing at least a month with this latest injury. In the second season of a four-year, $12.8MM contract signed in 2020, Kassian is actually the fifth-highest paid forward on the Oilers. That salary won’t result in much offense this season given this latest absence, especially if he falls closer to the six-week timeline and misses a good chunk of March.
Keith meanwhile might be a bigger loss, even though the 38-year-old is a shadow of the player that helped lead the Chicago Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup championships. The Oilers simply don’t have the defensive depth to lose a top-four option long-term, unless a younger player is able to take a step forward and take on a good chunk of responsibility.
Perhaps that will happen with new interim head coach Jay Woodcroft taking over and defensive coach Dave Manson coming along with him. Niemelainen will obviously be very familiar with both from their time in Bakersfield, though the 23-year-old has just seven games of experience at the NHL level.