The Edmonton Oilers have bought themselves some time, though they are now in a tricky situation. Today’s activation of Kailer Yamamoto from long-term injured reserve comes with the reassignment of both Dylan Holloway and Vincent Desharnais, leaving the team with only 20 active skaters.
That’s enough to cover a lineup, though if the team suffers any minor injuries – ones that do not need long-term injured reserve – they will be forced to play short. Once they do play a game with fewer than 20 skaters, they will receive a cap-free recall for a player under $850K, but that still limits their options. Holloway, for instance, couldn’t be brought back under that exemption.
So, for the time being, the 21-year-old forward is stuck in the minors, despite having played in 51 games this season for Edmonton. They can play it off as an opportunity for Holloway to get big minutes and continue to develop, but there’s little reason to think this was the plan all along. The Oilers are stuck, until they make a trade to free up some cap space or bite the bullet and waive one of their more expensive forwards.
Yamamoto’s return is a bright spot, at least. The 24-year-old forward is coming off his first 20-goal campaign and has 12 points through 31 appearances this year. He gives the team a nice boost as we close in on the trade deadline, and hopefully, will be able to retake his position as a top-six option next to their superstar forwards.