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Oilers coach Knoblauch on the bench
Photo credit: Edmonton Journal

Oilers trade deadline acquisition likely to miss game one with injury

Published May 7, 2024 at 11:15

When the Oilers beat out the Kings in just 5 games in the first round of the playoffs, the team was looking to really benefit from the rest advantage they'd get on Vancouver. Still, one Oiler forward is looking unavailable for game one.

Since the Oilers eliminated the Kings, both Evander Kane and Adam Henrique have been absent from practice described as maintenance. Kane returned to practice today but Henrique did not, indicating he may not play in game one.

Yesterday afternoon at practice, coach Knoblauch said he was optimistic both players would be on the ice for practice today and show their readiness for Wednesday night. Not being on the ice today is a sign that Henrique won't be able to play.

Evander Kane has made it public knowledge that he's been battling a sports hernia injury all season. There's little doubt that Kane will continue to take maintenance days through the playoffs, but will always push through the pain to play in games.

Oilers forward Adam Henrique unavailable to play game one against Canucks

With Henrique looking unavailable to play game one, Oilers coach Knoblauch may still be searching for the right player to ride on the top line with McDavid and Hyman. So far, Mattias Janmark has taken that spot in practice, but it's possible he's acting just as a placeholder.

With Sam Gagner, Connor Brown, and many more Black Aces currently on the roster, the Oilers have plenty of options for depth if Henrique can't play. It's not likely that any of those players, including Janmark, would get consistent reps on the top line, but could get more depth ice time as another player is promoted to the first line temporarily.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would be a prime candidate to move up, as he's shown great results and chemistry on the top line this season. However, the Oilers finally struck a perfectly balanced lineup with McDavid and Draisaitl separated against the Kings, and Knoblauch may not want to take away from the second line. That seems to be the case for Knoblauch, who may look to cycle a few depth forwards in Henrique's spot.

It'll be very interesting to see how Knoblauch alters the top line if Henrique isn't able to go for game one. He wasn't the most high profile trade deadline acquisition, but Henrique has proven to fit seamlessly on the Oilers lineup, and produced a goal and an assist on the first line against Los Angeles. Even if he can't play game one, hopefully he can enter the series quickly.
May 7   |   65 answers
Oilers trade deadline acquisition likely to miss game one with injury

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