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Oilers Give Depth Guys Shot as Henrique Unlikely for Game 1

If Adam Henrique is out for the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 vs the Canucks, some depth guys on the roster are getting a golden opportunity.

With it unlikely that veteran forward Adam Henrique suits up for the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of their series with the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, some depth guys on the roster are getting a golden opportunity. Specifically, it looks like Mattias Janmark will start on the top line, while Connor Brown will see his first playoff action of the 2023-24 season.

Reports coming out of Oilers’ practice on Tuesday are that Henrique’s ankle injury isn’t progressing quite as quickly as everyone would have hoped. Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch expected Henrique to get a practice in before the series started, but Game 1 has been pushed back to Wednesday and the forward still isn’t ready. Knoblauch isn’t ruling Henrique out, but a Game 1 return seems unlikely.

In his place, it is believed that Janmark will start on a line with Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman, but that the coach will shuffle things around frequently, not necessarily using Janmark exclusively in that role. Meanwhile, Brown will slot in on the Oilers’ fourth line, alongside Warren Foegele and likely Derek Ryan.

Henrique Out Means a Great Opportunity for Janmark and Brown

For Janmark, this is a chance to prove he’s capable of quality minutes in the top six and his job is to avoid letting that top line suffer without Henrique available. The goal of that top line is to produce offense, but Janmark will be the defensive presence on that line, there to ensure the Canuck’s potent offense doesn’t hem that trio in their own zone.

Connor Brown Adam Henrique Mattas Janmark Oilers

For Brown, he’ll get his first taste of playoff action and he needs to bring energy, forechecking, sound penalty killing, and, hopefully, some depth scoring. He had a rough start to the 2023-24 season, but started to produce a bit as the year wound down. If he can add something to the lineup, his signing won’t look like a complete failure when all is said and done.

The Oilers are on the road Wednesday night. If they can take Game 1 (or at least one of the first two) and steal home-ice advantage, that would be a huge plus, especially as the Canucks don’t have the services of their starting goaltender Thatcher Demko.

Next: It’s Not Great News for Canucks’ Star Goalie Demko in Series vs. Oilers

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