The Pittsburgh Penguins confirmed today what was readily apparent last night: Jamie Oleksiak has suffered a concussion. The team announced that Oleksiak will be out indefinitely while also activating Dominik Simon from injured reserve.
Oleksiak sustained the injury when he was knocked to the ice by a hard punch from Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson and needed assistance to get to the bench. The fight occurred less than a minute into what would turn into a feisty game, and will cost Oleksiak at least a little time as he recovers. The Penguins will have to find someone else to take on the 16 minutes that Oleksiak averaged with the Penguins this season.
Turning 26 tomorrow, Oleksiak seems to have turned a corner in his NHL career and is finally starting to show the kind of potential that made him the 14th overall selection in 2011. The 6’7″ defenseman never could establish himself with the Dallas Stars, but has 25 points in 79 games since coming to Pittsburgh and was off to the best start of his career this season. Though he doesn’t carry any powerplay or regular penalty kill responsibility, Oleksiak did provide the Penguins with a big, physical presence to balance out some of their smaller skilled defensemen. That will now be lacking while he recovers, a period which is completely up in the air at this point.