The Edmonton Oilers have officially activated Andrej Sekera from long-term injured reserve after clearing enough cap space with this weekend’s Cam Talbot trade. In order to fit him on the roster though, the team has moved Jujhar Khaira and Jesse Puljujarvi to injured reserve. Josh Currie, who has been dominating of late in the AHL, has also been recalled.
Edmonton has also waived Brandon Manning with the intent of burying his cap hit in the minor leagues, giving them some additional flexibility as they head into the upcoming trade deadline. Sekera’s return should strengthen the blue line, though there is no guarantee the 32-year old defenseman will be able to bring his former level of production. It’s been more than ten months since Sekera last played in an NHL game, and his similar comeback in the second half of last season was not exceptional. There was a time when he could be relied upon as one of the team’s most consistent two-way defenders, but the team will hope they can squeeze out even a fraction of that effectiveness down the stretch.
This was the first time the team had even suggested that Puljujarvi is dealing with an injury, and it comes at perhaps the most inopportune time given the recent reports about his availability in trade. The young forward has still not been able to establish himself as a full-time NHL presence, and would likely benefit from some more development time in the AHL. That can’t happen for at least a few days, as even backdating the injured reserve period to his last game—Puljujarvi played 9:31 in Friday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes—would keep him out for this week. Interestingly, Mark Spector of Sportsnet reported that Puljujarvi was a healthy scratch for Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders, apparently not knowing about any injury either. Spector has been told now, as he tweets that the young forward has a lower-body injury that shouldn’t keep him out too long.
While it will be overshadowed by the other news, this is a huge step for Currie who has not yet played an NHL game. The 26-year old forward went undrafted out of the QMJHL but battled his way through minor league contracts and eventually landed an NHL deal with Edmonton last summer. Playing on three ECHL teams across three seasons, he eventually found success in the AHL and is now the Bakersfield Condor’s leading goal scorer with 24 in 49 games this year including 15 in his last 17 contests.