Last night, Leon Draisaitl missed his first game of the season with an undisclosed injury. Draisaitl also missed two practices and has not skated since the Edmonton Oilers won against the Calgary Flames. He was confirmed out when he did not take warm up against the Seattle Kraken. Coach Jay Woodcroft noted in his availability on December 29 that they were dealing with bumps and bruises.
Draisaitl is the second leading scorer in the NHL with 57 points and was recently moved to the second line after a three game losing streak playing on Connor McDavid’s wing. The Oilers have won three in row since going with what Coach Woodcroft calls a spine strategy and using McDavid, Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at centre.
Draisaitl has left a large void to fill
Woodcroft has had to adjust the lineup quite a bit because of the 22 minutes per night void left by Draisaitl’s absence. Nugent-Hopkins has developed some chemistry lately with Mattias Janmark and Klim Kostin, and so that line gets the extra minutes moving up to the second unit. Ryan McLeod moves from the fourth line to third to play with Draisaitl’s wingers, Warren Foegele and Kailer Yamamoto. Jesse Puljujarvi is getting another look on the top line.
Hyman – McDavid – Puljujarvi
Janmark – RNH – Kostin
Foegele – McLeod – Yamamoto
Holloway – Hamblin – Ryan
With Draisaitl listed as day-to-day, this gives us a small sample size of what the Oilers look like without the all-star. The early results are promising with a seven-goal blowout of the Kraken last night.
It appears we will get an extended look at the roster without Draisaitl as Frank Seravalli reports the original plan was to sit him out vs the Kraken next week as well.
Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire