The Edmonton Oilers were obviously dealing with several key injuries by the time they were eliminated by the Colorado Avalanche, including limiting issues for Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl. When speaking with the media today in his end-of-year press conference, general manager Ken Holland announced that none of the injured players are expected to need surgery at this point.
That’s huge news for a team that obviously has its sights set on contending for the Stanley Cup again next season. As we’ve seen around the league, playoff injuries can cause absences at the beginning of the following season that drastically hurt a team’s chances–or at least their seeding. Draisaitl, who Holland confirmed was dealing with a high ankle sprain, still had 32 points in 16 playoff games. Nurse was dealing with a torn hip flexor for all three rounds.
- Holland also admitted that the Oilers didn’t have a true number one goalie this season but explained just how few of those actually exist. He explained that he still needs to talk to Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen but the team is hoping that Stuart Skinner can take a step into a regular NHL role next season, even if that obviously isn’t going to be at that number one level. Koskinen is an unrestricted free agent and not expected to be back with the Oilers, while Smith still has one year left on his contract at a $2.2MM cap hit.
- One of the more interesting moments in the press conference was when the manager was pressed about Jesse Puljujarvi, who found himself in the bottom six more often than not at the end of the year and is a restricted free agent this summer. When asked if Puljujarvi was part of the solution for the Oilers moving forward, Holland simply said “that’s what I have to sort out.” The 24-year-old forward is due a $1.41MM qualifying offer and is eligible for arbitration.