Why Ekholm's Injury Is a Concern for the Oilers.

Published October 6, 2023 at 11:58

Injuries to defensemen pose some of the most significant challenges for any hockey team. When a forward is injured, teams can often manage by finding another player who can partially replicate the playing style of the injured player and integrate into the same line. Teams can develop chemistry among their forwards and can mitigate the impact of such injuries.

However, defensemen present a different scenario. Teams have limited defensemen available on their roster, and they develop unique chemistry with their defensive partners, leading to dynamic partnerships. Defensemen possess intangibles that other players do not, including the ability to shut down power plays and stifle offensive plays through skills like shot-blocking.

This situation is currently unfolding with the Edmonton Oilers, as Mattias Ekholm remains sidelined with a hip flexor problem, wreaking havoc on the Oilers' defensive pairings.

Replacing a player of Ekholm's calibre is a daunting task, especially considering the significant capital the Oilers invested in acquiring his talents during last year's trade deadline.

The initial expectation was for Ekholm to be part of the top 4 and fulfill the offensive role that Tyson Barrie had occupied. Ekholm had a remarkable performance at the end of the Oilers' season and played a crucial role during their playoff run.

Additionally, there was an expectation for Ekholm to mentor young defenseman Philip Broberg, who shares a Swedish connection with him, as Broberg strives to secure a spot in the lineup.

Nevertheless, many fans are following the updates from head coach Jay Woodcroft, who expresses confidence that both Ekholm and McLeod (who is also injured) will be ready for the start of the season.

He stated,
"I expect both (Ekholm and McLeod) to be ready for the start of the year. They're putting together good days. We're closely monitoring our medical team's advice. If it were a playoff game, they would be playing. However, we have some time right now, and we want to make the most of it. Both are seasoned professionals and will be ready to join the team full-time whenever that may be."

Let's hope he is right.
October 6   |   96 answers
Why Ekholm's Injury Is a Concern for the Oilers.

Will Mattias Ekholm be the Oilers best defenceman this season?

Yes8184.4 %
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