Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers’ Klim Kostin is back on the ice after lower body injury

2022 ended on an ominous note when the Edmonton Oilers’ Klim Kostin fell awkwardly into the boards during the final seconds of the 2–1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on New Year’s Eve. The forward was chasing a loose puck along the side wall when he fell and appeared to hyper extend his left knee or ankle when colliding into the boards. 2023 begins with good news as Kostin posted on Instagram the following day that he will be ready to go Tuesday versus the Seattle Kraken.

Kostin and Draisaitl back at practice

The good news was confirmed today as both Draisaitl and Kostin practiced. During his availability Kostin went on to explain that he fell into the boards because his skate lost the blade. He did hyperextend his knee however he did a workout after the game and felt good. He was unable to put weight on it immediately after because he had no skate blade, which made the injury look much worse than it actually was.

Kostin finding his place on the team

After struggling to find a spot on the Blues roster, Kostin arrived in Edmonton with a fresh start posting nine points in 22 games. It took a while to get going with the Oilers but when injuries to Zach Hyman, Kailer Yamamoto, and Warren Foegele occurred, this allowed Coach Jay Woodcroft to give the Mattias Janmark, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Kostin line an extended look. This line eventually developed some chemistry producing that elusive secondary scoring the Oilers have been looking for all season. They were even promoted to second line duty while Draisaitl is out with his injury.

The most impressive play from Kostin this season has been his 5v5 with 46.7% CF% and 55.56% HDGF%. Eight of his points have come from even strength including all five goals and 65 hits! He has been a pleasant surprise for the Oilers after being acquired from the St. Louis Blues in October for defensive prospect Dmitri Samorukov. Kostin scored the lone goal for the Oilers against the Jets and had two the night before in Seattle. He was even named the locker room player of game after the Kraken game.

Almost another lineup shakeup for the team

Thankfully Klim Kostin is young and incredibly flexible with the healing powers of your favorite super hero because if he and Draisaitl were unavailable, Coach Jay Woodcroft might have used an 11 forward-7 defence lineup that would look something like this:

Hyman – McDavid – Puljuarvi

Foegele – RNH – Yamamoto

Janmark – McLeod – Ryan

Holloway – Hamblin/Shore

Instead the Oilers get to keep a line together that has been producing at even strength and possibly add the NHL’s second leading scorer back into the top six.

If Draisaitl starts there are two options Woodcroft could utilize, one being the spine strategy of McDavid, Draisaitl and RNH at centre or the nuclear option of loading up the top line with Draisaitl, McDavid, Hyman.

Jason Strudwick mentioned on one of his post game podcasts with Ryan Risaug that the Oilers should use the nuclear option when playing lesser quality opponents as they can overwhelm those teams with talent while using the spine strategy for elite teams that have balanced lineups. I 100% agree with that assessment so I suppose which lineup to go with would depend on your opinion of the upcoming opponent, the Kraken. Either way, having Kostin avoid a potentially season-ending injury is a great way to start 2023!

Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire

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