As expected, the Edmonton Oilers have activated Evander Kane, allowing him to return just over two months after his scary wrist injury. To make room, the team has moved Kailer Yamamoto and Ryan Murray to long-term injured reserve. Today, the team announced that Yamamoto’s injury would keep him out weeks, while Murray – who has already been out for a while – is still dealing with a long-term absence.
Kane’s return comes at a key time for the Oilers, who are finally playing some consistent hockey and find themselves within striking distance of a divisional playoff spot. The club has won three in a row, including a statement win over the division-leading Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.
One of the biggest critiques of the Oilers this season has been a lack of emotion when things go wrong or players on the other team take liberties with Connor McDavid. While Kane isn’t an enforcer by any means, he does seem to light a fire under his teammates, and never shies away from physical battles. He also has done nothing but score since joining Edmonton, racking up 27 goals and 52 points in 57 regular season games.
It will be interesting to see how much ice time Kane receives in his return, but expect him to approach 20 minutes a night before long. With him in the lineup, the Oilers forward group looks much more imposing, even if it did come at the cost of Yamamoto.
With him and Murray on LTIR, the team actually has enough space to make another recall when necessary. That won’t be the case once he’s eligible to return, at which point some hard decisions will need to be made.