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Oilers and Evander Kane Seemingly Blow a Huge LTIR Opportunity

News of Evander Kane’s LTIR injury have stirred up debate as the Edmonton Oilers could have secured reinforcements at the deadline.

The Edmonton Oilers are facing mounting questions and concerns regarding Evander Kane‘s admission of a lingering sports hernia issue ahead of Game 1 against the Los Angeles Kings. Fans and insiders are puzzled by the timing of Kane’s revelation and why he would so openly talk about a huge potential issue. From there, others are asking why the Oilers failed to address it earlier, potentially utilizing the LTIR loophole in the NHL to bolster their lineup for the playoffs.

In almost every scenario, there was a better way for both the player and team to handle this. Instead, Kane has put doubt in everyone’s mind about how effective he’ll be, while also positioning the Oilers in a less-than-ideal light. If everyone knew about this injury, why was nothing done?

We may never learn the real conversations that were had between player, coaches, and management. Still, it’s a fair question to ask considering the ramifications that could come from an ineffective Kane or a missed opportunity to add big at the NHL Trade Deadline.

The Oilers Seemingly Could Have Used LTIR

The strategic maneuvering of teams like the Vegas Golden Knights, who time players’ returns from injury to coincide with the playoffs, highlights what now looks like a missed opportunity for the Oilers. Had Kane been placed on LTIR earlier in the season, the team could have had additional cap space to acquire key players, enhancing their playoff prospects. $5.125 million could have gone a long way, adding one, maybe two more key pieces for a playoff push.

Related: 3 Oilers Playoff Tone Setters Beyond Evander vs. The Kings

Kane’s candidness about his injury further adds to the uncertainty surrounding his availability for Game 1. While Head Coach Kris Knoblauch remains optimistic, Kane’s own reservations raise doubts. A healthy Kane would have been ideal. Putting Kane in for Game 1, who now seems unsure of himself, seems like a bit of a gamble.

Is This That Big of a Deal?

The decision to publicly disclose Kane’s injury, a departure from the norm of keeping such matters confidential during playoffs, raises eyebrows. Speculation abounds as to Kane’s motives. Nothing good comes of being so forthright about the injury, other than to justify why he’s less productive in the postseason, should that be the case.

Ken Holland Evander Kane Oilers injury

Fans are likely to jump all over the player and the team for not recognizing an opportunity if Kane isn’t producing. He could have done the right thing and told Edmonton about the issue months ago. They could have pulled him, placed him on LTIR, gone shopping, and then brought him back in time for the playoffs with an extra $5.25 million to play with.

If Kane’s absence or ineffectiveness proves costly in the postseason, this won’t be a storyline that goes away anytime soon.

Next: 3 Big Developments Coming Out of Oilers Practice on Sunday

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