OILERS NOTES: Josh Archibald is back with clean bill of health – Toronto Sun

If he won’t get vaccinated, it’s a moot point, though. He can play games in Canada but with border/health/quarantine issues, travelling to the U.S. for games is likely out of the question

Josh Archibald of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Feb. 11, 2021, in Montreal.
Josh Archibald of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Feb. 11, 2021, in Montreal. Photo by Minas Panagiotakis /Getty Images

Josh Archibald would be like getting a trade pick-up if healthy enough.

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“He’s in Edmonton right now, quarantining, after driving up from Nebraska. He’s had many, many tests and been seen by three different doctors and he’s been given a clean, bill of health,” Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland said of the player who suffered from myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.

Archibald would obviously need plenty of practice time because he hasn’t played all season after the training camp heart issue last September, coupled with being unvaccinated for COVID-19. Has he taken the jab?

“I believe not,” said Holland.

But if he did get vaccinated, and he got up to speed with practices, Archibald would be a welcome fourth-line, right-wing penalty-kill addition.

If he won’t get vaccinated, it’s a moot point, though. He can play games in Canada but with border/health/quarantine issues, travelling to the U.S. for games is likely out of the question. The Oilers have two of their 15 remaining road games in this country. In Calgary on March 7 and March 26. He can drive there.

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The Oilers have home games against Washington, Tampa, Detroit, Buffalo, New Jersey, San Jose, Arizona and Los Angeles in March. Also, St. Louis, Colorado, Las Vegas, Dallas, Colorado, San Jose and Vancouver in April. So, 15 games he could play.

But U.S. road travel, unvaccinated? He couldn’t even go on the Oilers plane.

Another unvaccinated NHLer, the Red Wings’ Tyler Bertuzzi has been playing and unable to travel to games in Canada. It’s much more challenging the other way around.

The March 21 trade deadline is clearly upper-most in Holland’s eyes. If Archibald got vaccinated before that, he theoretically would be a fine addition. But after the deadline, six of the next 10 Oilers games are in the U.S. So, he would be of no use to them.

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LOOKING AT THE DEFENCE

When Holland was in Detroit, he lost Vlad Konstantinov to the awful limousine crash and Jiri Fisher to his heart issues, and that left a huge hole on their back end. Same here with Oscar Klefbom. Two years now he’s been out with a bad shoulder, and we now know how important he was in the big picture.

“He was making $4 million a year and all those minutes he played,” said Holland.

Right now, with Duncan Keith (concussion) still out, the Oilers played three basic left defencemen — William Lagesson (50 games), Markus Niemelainen (14) and Philip Broberg (15) — who have played 79 total NHL games, against Tampa. Not even one full season.

This ‘n’ that: Defenceman Slater Koekkoek, who cleared waivers before the all-star break and was sent to Bakersfield, Calif., missed the last three Condors games for personal reasons. He’s been giving time away to deal with that and there’s no timeframe for his return. He did play two American Hockey League games … Leaving Amelie Arena in Tampa on Wednesday, Connor McDavid offered his congratulations to Lightning forward Corey Perry on his 400th NHL goal and posed for a picture with Perry and Perry’s four-year-old son, Griffin, who was clutching the puck. Nice touch by the Oilers captain. Perry’s first NHL goal, scored on Oct. 10, 2005, was also against the Oilers in Anaheim with Jussi Markkanen in net … The Flyers’ Justin Braun, unrestricted free-agent right-shot defensive D-man ($1.8 million) is the cheapest Oilers alternative at the trade deadline. While Koekkoek, who just turned 28, and Kris Russell can play left and right defence, Russell’s injury status is up in the air … If the Oilers are looking at Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov, they may be giving D-man Scott Mayfield a look, too. Those are the two prime trade assets the Isles have … On close to the fourth anniversary of his trade, ex-Oilers forward Patrick Maroon scored for the fourth straight game against his old club when he got Tampa’s first goal Wednesday. Maroon has now played 251 league games since then-GM Peter Chiarelli dealt him to New Jersey for forward J.D. Dudek and a third-round draft pick on Feb. 26, 2018. Maroon has three Cup rings (two in Tampa, one in St. Louis). Dudek is currently toiling in the semi-pros with the Allen (Texas) Americans, Seattle’s farm club. The third-rounder they got was turned into goalie Ilya Konovalov, in Bakersfield now … With Tony DeAngelo out a month (midsection injury) in Carolina, they’ve lost their power-play QB with the Oilers there Sunday. Meanwhile ex-Oilers defenceman Ethan Bear is back as pretty much a regular on the ‘Canes defence, playing seven of the last nine after they seemed to favour a tougher Brendan Smith over him…Tough luck for former Oiler winger Jujhar Khaira, done for the season in Chicago, after lower-back surgery (up to 12 weeks). He has also had a number of concussions the last few seasons to battle through … The Oilers, like many NHL teams, are probably sniffing around free-agent Russian winger Andrei Kuzmenko (Evander Kane’s agent Daniel Milstein), second in Kontinental Hockey League scoring for St. Petersburg. Ottawa may have the inside track though because Artem Zub, his former KHL teammate, is with the Senators … While winger Matvey Petrov (North Bay) is fifth in Ontario Hockey League scoring (66 points in 44 games), another prospect Tyler Tullio (Oshawa) is seventh with 65.

E-mail: jmatheson@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @jimmathesonnhl

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