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Tyson Barrie Returning to Oilers Lineup Wednesday vs. Capitals

Defenseman Tyson Barrie is back from injury and will play Wednesday night as the Edmonton Oilers take on the Washington Capitals.

For the first time in a long time, the Edmonton Oilers are playing a game with an almost fully healthy lineup. No, Mike Smith is still not back, but defenseman Tyson Barrie will return to the lineup after missing the last handful of games with an injury. Barrie slots in as the Oilers take on the Washington Capitals and it looks like defenseman Kris Russell is coming out.

Related: Are Oilers Still In Hunt for Goalie After Evander Kane Signing?

Barrie is slated to skate in the third pairing alongside William Lagesson. Not only is Barrie likely to be eased into the lineup with softer minutes and possibly some power play time, but Evan Bouchard has absolutely earned the right to be in the top pairing with Darnell Nurse during Barrie’s absence. Bouchard has logged an average of just over 25 minutes per game in the last five games and he’s got three goals and five points in those contests. It would make absolutely no sense to demote him the way he’s been playing.

Tyson Barrie Edmonton Oilers Upper Deck
Tyson Barrie Edmonton Oilers Upper Deck

The good news is that Barrie offers experience further down in the lineup, plus gives the Oilers a second option on the power play, offering a quarterback for unit two. This should ease the burden on Duncan Keith who has been playing more minutes than the Oilers would probably like.

What Does This Oilers’ Team Look Like?

GM Ken Holland has been saying that he wants to see what a healthy Oilers’ roster can do. This is about as close as the team has been since the start of the season and while it would be great to have Smith back in net, the forwards and the defense is set. If Holland needs to identify where changes are to be made before the NHL trade deadline, this is where that starts.

Of course, this is the final game for the Oilers until after the All-Star break, so Barrie and Smith will get a little extra rest, and barring any injuries for the Oilers tonight, could have their entire roster ready to go on the 8th of February when the team takes on the Vegas Golden Knights in an extremely important Pacific Division matchup.

Should Barrie not be a factor over the next few games, there is potential the Oilers consider moving him as part of an attempt to clear salary-cap space for a deadline move to address their goaltending needs.

Next: Canucks Thinking of Trading Players to Make Room for Miller Extension

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