Evander Kane is back, baby!
Kane hasn't played a game since November 11th when his left wrist was accidentally sliced open by Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon in a freak play, but has been cleared for a return and today the Edmonton Oilers activated him off the injured reserve.
Initially, Kane's recovery was reported as 3-4 months, but last week Holland told ESPN Greg Wyshynski that Kane could return to action much sooner.
"He's ahead of schedule," said Holland. "Three months was around Feb. 3. We were kind of hoping that if everything went well, he would return sometime in the month of February. Now [the range] is the end of January to the middle of February."
Kane has been traveling and practicing with the team, but until yesterday we didn't have any clear indication as to when exactly he might return. With today's news though and with head coach Jay Woodcroft announcing that Kane's a 'game time decision' for tonight's game against the Seattle Kraken, it appears that Kane is ready to rock.
In order to fit Kane's $5.125 salary under the NHL's salary cap though, the Oilers were forced to move forward Kailer Yamamoto and defenseman Ryan Murray to the injured reserve.
Check it out:
EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers made three roster moves ahead of Tuesday's game vs. Seattle.
Forward Evander Kane has been activated from long-term injured reserve (LTIR)
Forward Kailer Yamamoto has been placed on long-term injured reserve (LTIR)
Defenceman Ryan Murray has been placed on long-term injured reserve (LTIR)
Kane recorded five goals and eight assists in 14 games this season prior to sustaining a wrist injury during the Nov. 8 road game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Since signing with the Oilers last January, the 31-year-old has scored 40 goals and 29 assists for 69 points in 72 combined regular season and playoff games.
The Oilers have five games remaining this month before they have a week long break over the NHL All-Star Game festivities. To me, it makes sense to get Kane into these games before they hit the break. Get out there, see how your body reacts and then take the 9 day break to really get your body and mind right. If, however, he elects to return to action following the break I feel like he'll have to spend more time getting back into playing shape and learning to trust his instincts again. And, the fact of the matter is that the Oilers can't afford much time for experimentation. They need to stack up some wins and they need to do it NOW.