Injuries are common during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Edmonton Oilers were no exception.
Now that the team has been eliminated, general manager Ken Holland was able to reveal what some of those injuries were — adding that none of his players are expected to need surgery, but that some will need MRIs to confirm their conditions.
Here is a roundup of the injuries the Oilers were dealing with during the playoffs:
Draisaitl was mum when asked about his injury condition Tuesday but anyone watching him play could tell he was fighting through a serious lower-body injury. Holland confirmed that that injury was a high-ankle sprain, suffered during the first round against the Kings.
Despite his clear discomfort, Draisaitl powered through to record four primary assists in Monday’s Game 4 loss to the Avalanche and finished with 32 points in 16 playoff games.
“It was a struggle…he was playing through a lot of pain,” Holland said. “It was unbelievable the level he played at with what he was going through.”
Nurse told reporters after the Game 4 loss that he played the entire playoffs with a torn hip flexor, which he suffered during the final week of the season. Holland specifically named Nurse as one player who shouldn’t need surgery this summer.
“Our medical staff… tapped it up, gave me some anti-inflamm’s and away you go,” Nurse said. “There’s no excuse when you get to this point in the season. You want to be on your game and play at a certain level. There’s no excuse. Everyone’s banged up this time of year. And myself personally, I wanted to be better in this series. It’s just added motivation for summer to come back and be a difference-maker next year.”
Nurse saw his average ice time drop nearly four minutes in the playoffs, from 25:03 during the regular season to just over 21 minutes in the post-season. He finished with six points and a plus-five rating in 15 games.
Ryan Nugent Hopkins
The longest-serving Oiler was dealing with a shoulder injury, Holland revealed, but that didn’t appear to slow him down. Nugent-Hopkins scored six goals and 14 points in 16 games, including a goal in the elimination loss to the Avalanche.
With Evander Kane suspended for Game 4 against Colorado, Puljujarvi was elevated to the top line alongside Connor McDavid and Draisaitl. But his night was cut short by an injury, which Holland has now revealed to be related to his shoulder and will require a four-to-six week timeline for recovery.
Puljujarvi’s future role with the team will be under the microscope as the 24-year-old was limited to just three points in the playoffs. He will be a restricted free agent this summer and has arbitration rights.
“He scored a couple of big goals for us, one in the LA series and one in the Calgary series. He’s a good player for us,” head coach Jay Woodcroft said Wednesday, adding that Puljujarvi had other injuries to battle through during the season. “He’s a good, young hockey player.”
Yamamoto had a breakout season for the Oilers, setting career-highs with 20 goals and 41 points. But he was unavailable for the team’s final two games against the Avalanche, which Holland now revealed was due to concussion protocol.
Beyond all the players mentioned above, Holland said five-to-seven other Oilers were battling injuries — including veteran goaltender Mike Smith. As the team heads into the summer with a lot of roster questions, getting healthy will also be a key priority.
“This time of the year that’s what NHL players do, they play banged up,” Holland said.