The Edmonton Oilers have placed Matt Hendricks on injured reserve, the team announced on Monday.
The loss of Hendricks is a blow with Jordan Eberle already out of the lineup for an extended stay on IR. Hendricks has pretty consistently been centering Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins so far this season, with Connor McDavid centering Benoit Pouliot and Nail Yakupov.
The team’s center depth isn’t without options, but they’ve kept Nugent-Hopkins from the center position, playing him largely on right wing with Hall on the left side. That’s probably in part because RNH is miserable on the faceoff dot. Through 85 faceoffs this season, he’s winning just 36.5% of his draws.
In a corresponding move, the Oilers have recalled 27-year-old center Andrew Miller from the Bakersfield Condors. He made his NHL debut last season, playing nine games for the Oil, scoring a goal and five assists.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 19, 2015
While Hendricks didn’t suit up against the Canucks on Sunday, the timing isn’t great for the Oilers who just started to find their mojo over the weekend with a dominant performance over the struggling Calgary Flames. Rookie Anton Slepyshev drew back into the lineup on Sunday in place of the injured Hendricks.
Slepyshev was said to be starting the game on wing with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but that group didn’t stick together most of the game, with the most common assignment for RNH and Hall in the game placing them on the wings with Rob Klinkhammer in the middle, according to Left Wing Lock.
The team’s depth is being tested early.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.