In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, the team has placed Joakim Nygard on waivers Saturday. It’s an interesting decision based on the CBA rules regarding taxi squad players so there might be something else going on. Meanwhile, it seems as though, barring an injury, Evan Bouchard’s time with the Oilers is likely done for the season. There is news on Alex Stalock possibly playing for the Oilers and finally, talk of Oscar Klefbom’s health status and what his injury means for the NHL Expansion Draft.
Nygard Waived by Oilers
As per a report by the team on Saturday, the club has placed Nygard on waivers and Thedor Lennstrom has been assigned to the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL. The Oilers gave Nygard a one-year, $875K extension this past offseason but he’s not done much to earn it this season. He cleared waivers back in January and has played in just six games with Edmonton. He hasn’t hit the scoresheet yet.
The player showed some good things last season but just hasn’t had a chance this year to do anything. This move is a little odd as the NHL CBA reads: “A player does not need to pass through waivers if the player has not been on the NHL active roster for a cumulative 30 days since last clearing waivers, and has not played in 10 or more NHL games.”
Could this be the Oilers just trying to see if another team might grab him? It could be that the Oilers are gambling the Vancouver Canucks might need to pick up a couple of players via waivers since a huge chunk of their team just got placed on the COVID protocol list.
Why Bouchard Hasn’t Been Demoted
Defenseman Evan Bouchard is on the taxi squad for the Oilers if needed but the defenseman hasn’t played in over a month. He got a run of games when Ethan Bear was dealing with an injury and as per Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal: “at this point it would likely take another injury for him to get back in the line-up.”
There has been some talk that the Oilers might be wise to assign Bouchard rather than Lennstrom to the AHL club just to get some games in, but that would require two border crossings and a bunch of time in quarantine before he could again be available to the NHL club. So for now it seems he is going to have a stunted development year of practicing and travelling with the NHL club, but not a whole lot of actual playing.source – ‘Edmonton Oilers make two minor moves as Joakim Nygard waived, Theodor Lennstrom assigned to AHL’ – Bruce McCurdy – Edmonton Journal – 04/03/2021
Some fans will be all over the Oilers for potentially hurting Bouchard’s development but the reason the team hasn’t demoted him is because he’s essentially the No. 8 defenseman and the organization doesn’t want to get stuck in some sort of weird limbo situation if something happens and they need to slot him in.
What’s Up with Alex Stalock?
The Oilers needed to activate Alex Stalock and get him into some practices so he could get caught up and game ready. This doesn’t mean the Oilers will be giving Stalock any games prior to the playoffs. In fact, he’s not likely to play if there isn’t an injury issue for Mikko Koskinen or Mike Smith. Stalock is essentially an insurance option and a player that is available to Seattle during the expansion draft.
As a result, Tyler Ennis was knocked off the main roster and will be going to the taxi squad after clearing waivers Friday.
Klefbom’s Injury Update
As per Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic, Klefbom’s surgery went well and the Oilers are optimistic about his future. Nugent-Bowman writes:
… it’s still too early to tell its true effectiveness. The Oilers are hoping to know with near certainty before the expansion draft about Klefbom’s status. Will he be back in time for opening night? Will he play at some point next season? Will he play again at all? If it’s either of the first two scenarios, the Oilers will have to decide whether to protect him.source – ‘What I’m hearing about the Oilers ahead of the trade deadline: Taylor Hall, Evan Bouchard and more ‘ – Daniel Nugent-Bowman – The Athletic – 04/03/2021
There is news on his exemption status as well and a source told the scribe Klefbom would not be exempt from the draft unless he’s ruled as out for the entirety of next season. This means, if the Oilers think Klefbom will make a full recovery, they are likely to protect him.
Nugent-Bowman adds, “His health could determine if Tyson Barrie is re-signed to quarterback the power play. A power play …”
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”