Feb 22: Koekkoek has been placed on long-term injured reserve. That means he must miss at least ten games and 24 days, though it is expected he will not play again this season.
Feb 21: The Edmonton Oilers focused on defensive depth and fortunately they did. The team has a number of defensemen currently out with injuries and the list got longer as Slater Koekkoek is expected to be out long-term as he has a broken collarbone, according to TSN’s Jason Gregor. While no official announcement has been made, it is believed the blueliner will be out for a minimum of two to three months, likely keeping him out of the lineup for the rest of the regular season, at least.
Koekkoek says he was injured on his first shift of the game Saturday against the Calgary Flames when he took a hit from Sam Bennett. While hardly a top-pairing defenseman, Koekkoek seemed to have found a home in Edmonton with some solid play on the team’s third pairing. He has appeared in 17 of the team’s 20 games this season, while averaging 12:55 of ATOI. He has one goal this season and 29 blocked shots.
The 27-year-old blueliner has bounced around the last few years after being drafted 10th overall in 2012 by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Koekkoek was never able to find a regular rotation spot with the Lightning and later was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for Jan Rutta. He did play in a career-high 42 games with the Blackhawks last year with a goal and 10 points before signing with Edmonton during the offseason.
The team is already without Oskar Klefbom (shoulder, out for the season), Ethan Bear (head, out since Jan. 30), William Lagesson (upper-body, out past three games) and now Koekkoek isn’t helping with their depth issues. Not that he was expected to help, but in a separate tweet, Gregor notes that defensive prospect Dmitri Samorukov, who is on loan to the KHL this season, is also out for the season after suffering a shoulder injury in practice. The team has recalled defenseman Theodor Lennstrom, who has been playing with Bakersfield of the AHL and now has been moved to the team’s taxi squad.