The Edmonton Oilers have placed star forward Leon Draisaitl on injured reserve following an evaluation, and will not be available to the team during the upcoming road trip. Draisaitl is dealing with an eye injury and now a concussion, and has no timetable on his return.
For the Oilers, this is just another setback in what has been a tough start to the year. With just one win in their first four games and coming off a blowout loss against the visiting Ottawa Senators, the team hasn’t been able to find their identity early in the year. Though Connor McDavid has five points in four games, the team as a whole has only scored seven even-strength goals and just a single tally on the powerplay. Losing Draisaitl—one of only two other players with at least three points on the year—for any length of time won’t help those numbers improve.
With Draisaitl out, the team went with Kailer Yamamoto on the first line with McDavid at practice today, with Ryan Strome moving from center to the second line wing. While Yamamoto registered his first NHL point against Ottawa, and has generally impressed early in the season, putting a 154-lbs, barely 19-year old player out for nearly 19 minutes a night is a lot to ask. While Yamamoto definitely has the skill to stick in the NHL, it’s hard to rely on him that heavily in the face of the “Stanley Cup Contender” expectations.