Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov will be out 2-4 weeks with an ankle sprain, the club announced Thursday. During a faceoff at center ice in Wednesday’s game against Carolina, a linesman fell awkwardly on Yakupov’s leg and twisted the forward’s ankle.
The Oilers have placed Yakupov on the injured reserve list. He has 2 goals and 12 points in 22 contests this season, though the majority of his offensive output came back when he and Connor McDavid were linemates. However, Yakupov had earned an assist to break a seven-game point slump before going down with the injury. Oilers head coach Todd McLellan has been forced to juggle the line combinations once again. This is the third serious injury to the Oilers’ top forwards so far this season. McDavid has been out since early November when he sustained a broken collar bone, and Jordan Eberle missed the first 13 games of the season.
The Oilers have been a much more entertaining team to watch this season compared to recent years; as a result, the team has been involved in a lot of close contests. However, the franchise is still struggling to find ways to secure two points on any given night. As a result, the Oilers find themselves near the bottom of the league standings once again.
I am not trying to make excuses, but when you are without significant players like Connor McDavid, Jordan Eberle and now Nail Yakupov for extended periods of time throughout the season, it’s naturally going to be difficult to win games that you otherwise could or should. I am well aware that this team needs a lot of help to get competitive. However, it’s nearly impossible to know what the Oilers truly need when the team has not been 100% healthy for one single game this season…