A veteran of the National Hockey League may have just lost his spot on the roster due to the fact that he can not be consistently relied upon.
Over the week end it was revealed that Edmonton Oilers veteran defenseman Andrej Sekera had suffered yet another injury and would miss significant time during the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season as a result. The Oilers organization officially confirmed that Sekera had suffered a torn Achilles tendon during his offseason training routine in Slovakia. Furthermore the Oilers revealed that Sekera had returned to Edmonton and had already undergone surgery to repair the damage.
Although the Oilers simply stated that Sekera would be ruled out of the line up "indefinitely" history would suggest that this injury would keep Sekera out for at least a minimum of 4 months. That being said though some players take several months more than that to recover and at 32 years old Sekera will likely heal considerably slower than he would have a few years ago.
Sekera's injuries have become a major problem for the Oilers organization as the veteran was just coming off a devastating knee injury the previous season that limited him quite badly. Sekera missed a ton of action to start the season and although he would play in 36 games in the NHL during the 2017 - 2018 regular season it was obvious that he was always trailing behind after the slow start. Things were so bad that many doubted Sekera could fully bounce back from the knee injury this season, although that is now the least of the concerns when it comes to Sekera.
Interestingly enough it looks like Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli is very publicly throwing in the towel when it comes to Sekera and has already expressed a desire to replace the veteran defenseman. Chiarelli hinted at the fact that a move would be made to replace Sekera but added that the quality of player that they go after may depend on just how badly things go for Sekera in his recovery.
“We’ll have to see how Sekera comes along, but at some point, we’re going to have to look at replacing him,” said Chiarelli as per Oilers insider Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal.
“How we replace him, as to the magnitude of the player … we’ll have to see how he’s recovering.”
There is somewhat of a silver lining here if you are Peter Chiarelli and the Oilers and that is the fact that this happened during the offseason. Sekera is currently earning an average annual value of $5.5 million per season and a trip to long term injured reserve would clear a significant amount of cap space for the Oilers moving forward. Sekera is also under contract for two more seasons after this one and given his current cap hit and his current string of injuries you have to wonder if the Oilers wouldn't prefer to make him a more permanent fixture on long term injured reserve.
Sekera isn't getting any younger at 32 years old and this many injuries at this stage is a big concern, it seems Chiarelli is acutely aware of that and is looking to fix the issue as quickly as possible.