Oct 7, 2011, 3:11 PM EDT
Rejoice Edmonton Oilers fans: your defense has a chance to go from horrible to semi-putrid.
Jim Matheson reports that Ryan Whitney could return for the Oilers’ season opener on Sunday, although Ladislav Smid is likely to be sidelined. They didn’t guarantee that he’ll be back, mind you, but it seems like he’ll return in the near future.
It’s unclear when exactly Whitney transformed from a cleft-chinned turnover machine to a defensive savor, but when you look at the Oilers’ defense, their urge to see him back makes some sense. (That’s especially true if they compare Whitney to Cam Barker.)
If nothing else, the Oilers missed his puck-moving ability and scoring skills since he was sidelined with a “freaky” ankle injury in December 2010. The Oilers are expected to work him back into the lineup slowly since he couldn’t even play a preseason game this summer. Eventually, they expect him to return to playing big minutes again, though.
Edmonton’s game plan will likely revolve around scoring and allowing a lot of goals, so a healthy Whitney ranks as a logical fit. We’ll keep an eye open for updates about his status.
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- Update: Wild’s Harding out indefinitely with fractured foot 17
- Johansen heads home from Columbus as talks get even messier 14
- Kesler accuses Vancouver media of making up stories, ‘throwing people under the bus’ 19
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal 49
- Mike Yeo is pretty unhappy with Minnesota’s goalie situation 20
- Much to his relief, Lecavalier will start season at center 14
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands 61
- Advantage Kuemper? Harding on crutches after ankle injury 15
- Done deal, finally: Wings ink DeKeyser to two-year, $4.375M extension 11
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (61)
- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman (56)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (50)
- Will the NHL publicize divers? (48)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)