It is another massive game for the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night as they continue their push for the Pacific Division crown against the Boston Bruins. Facing a team like Boston is difficult no matter the circumstances, but it is going to be even tougher for the Oilers as an already battered team will be without another key player for an extended period of time.
The Oilers announced on Wednesday that top defenseman Oscar Klefbom has been placed on injured reserve.
Prospect Evan Bouchard has been recalled in his absence.
Injuries have been a problem for Klefbom the past two seasons, but he was finally healthy this season and had appeared in each of the Oilers’ first 59 games.
He played 30 minutes in the Oilers’ most recent game, a 4-3 overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.
What makes the timing of this one so tough for the Oilers is that they are already playing without several key players including Connor McDavid, James Neal and Kris Russell. Combined with Klefbom, those five players account for more than $26 million in salary cap space and close to 30 percent of the team’s goals for the season. That is a lot to overcome when you are in a race for a playoff spot and a division title.
The Oilers, however, have managed to overcome the previous injuries thanks to the continued excellence of Leon Draisaitl, as well as the emergence of young players like Kailer Yamamoto and Ethan Bear. Entering play on Wednesday the Oilers are 11-4-2 since the start of the new calendar year and are tied for first place in the Pacific Division with the Vegas Golden Knights while still having two games in hand.