The Edmonton Oilers are building a defense that can move the puck efficiently and defend when necessary. The team’s running six received a major blow today when Peter Chiarelli announced an injury to Andrej Sekera. He will miss the next 6-9 months with a torn ACL.
6-9 months takes it to mid-Nov to mid-Feb
— Matthew Iwanyk (@matthewiwanyk) May 16, 2017
This is a major problem. Edmonton had (imo) reached a point where three of their defensemen (Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson) could be counted on to play NHL defense well. Encouraging additional signs included terrific rookie Matt Benning and improvement by young Darnell Nurse. I’ll rate it about where this Oilers team was in 2001-02 (Janne Niinimaa, Jason Smith, Eric Brewer, plus Tom Poti, Sean Brown and Scott Ferguson), with improvement needed and obvious. Now? Peter Chiarelli has a problem.
- Chiarelli: “I want to have Kris back. I thought he was really good for our team. I thought the way he approaches the game, the way he battles, his poise, his skating, I thought was a really good complement for our group.”
I wrote about his media avail over at ON today, won’t bother going over all of the storylines. I also do not want to have a hornet’s nest conversation about how crazy signing Kris Russell for three years will be (should it come to pass). I will say that options are not strong, and (as I have said previously) signing Russell short term may be a reasonable option. Signing Russell doesn’t address the lack of Sekera for 6-9 months and unfortunately (as we talked about today) there are very few reasonable options. Edmonton needs another blue even if they sign Kris Russell, because one of their best defensemen is going to be hurt for half a season (or more). I think we may be talking trade and would look to the Islanders and Panthers.
I’m not defending Kris Russell either way, and am not going go off half-cocked on the subject of his return. However, I am interested in exploring the idea of Kris Russell as a LHD. I am hopeful we can have an open mind on this subject, and recommend this article as a starting point.
- It turns out that an unsuitably handed defenseman must have a CorsiRel that is greater than or equal to 6.83 Corsi events /60 better than a suitably handed alternative in order to be the better option to pair with a partner-less defenseman on the roster.”
So, if we work it backwards, does Kris Russell (who has a 46.4 Corsi for 5×5 percentage) become a 53 percent defender from the LH side? My assumption is no, that the would regress closer to 50 percent but simply moving the number over would be unreliable. I will ask Darcy McLeod this exact question tomorrow morning at 10:20 on the Lowdown.