Andrej Sekera will undergo surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament Thursday and will require six to nine months to fully recover. The timeline has the 30-year-old defenseman in line for a mid-November -- at the earliest.
However, some athletes have missed closer to a full year with the injury, and considering the severity and nature of the ailment, Edmonton will probably be cautious with Sekera. After all, he is inked for four more years at a $5.5 million cap hit.
Sekera suited up for 80 regular-season games and posted eight goals, 35 points and 128 shots while averaging a hefty 21:28 of ice time. 11 of his points were with the man advantage, and he also average of 2:11 of power-play time while frequently quarterbacking the No. 1 power-play unit last season.
Sekera's possession game will also be missed. He's a serviceable two-way defender that has posted a 49.1 and 49.8 Corsi For percentage at five-on-five through his first two seasons with Edmonton. As the Oilers continue to their progress toward being an annual contender it wouldn't be surprising if he were able to improve his CF% closer to the 52.0 mark he posted with Carolina over a year-two span. Simply put, his minutes will be difficult to fill.
The injury hands Oscar Klefbom the point gig on the No. 1 power-play unit without question. Klefbom probably had the job locked up anyway, but he also appeared to have it secured a number of times throughout last season, and Sekera often found his way back to the top unit.
It will be interesting to see how Adam Larsson's role is impacted, and whether or not he sees power-play time with the second unit. The 24-year-old Swede played just 20:09 per game during the regular season but jumped to 23:43 during the post season, albeit overtime minutes helped bump the average up. Without doubt, Larsson will handle a larger role to start next year. Unfortunately for our fantasy interests, it'll likely be more defensively slanted.
Perhaps the biggest beneficiary in fantasy terms is Darnell Nurse. He should see an expanded role early and may never look back. His upside in the real and fake game is higher than Sekera's, and if Nurse takes a sizable step forward through the first two months of the season, Sekera could be rejoining the Oilers as a complementary top-four defenseman and not their go-to blue liner.
It isn't out of the question that Sekera's injury will also cause the Oilers to be more aggressive in the trade market or during free agency to bolster their blue line. More changes could be on the horizon.
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