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Larsson out 6-8 weeks for Oilers with fractured right fibula

Defenseman injured in season opener; Bouchard recalled from AHL

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- Adam Larsson will be out 6-8 weeks with a fractured right fibula, the Edmonton Oilers said Thursday.

The defenseman is on long-term injured reserve and will not need surgery. Larsson was injured when he blocked a shot by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes with 1:01 remaining in the first period of a 3-2 win at Rogers Place on Wednesday. Larsson stayed in the game and played 22:19.

"He's got a broken bone that's going to take some time to heal," Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. "Tough break for him. We'll look to have to fill the hole."

Defenseman Evan Bouchard was recalled from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Thursday, but Tippett said the Oilers may be more likely to turn to defenseman Joel Persson to fill in for Larsson.

Edmonton hosts the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CITY, SNE, SNO, SNW, FS-W, NHL.TV).

Persson, signed by the Oilers as a free agent May 18, 2019, missed the first game with an upper-body injury but has been cleared for contact. He'll practice Friday and the Oilers will then assess their options.

"We don't have a definitive answer yet," Tippett said. "If Persson looks like he's going to be able to go Saturday or even [Tuesday at the New York Islanders], we can make it through."

The Oilers are leaning toward shifting defenseman Kris Russell from the left side to the right side with the loss of the right-shooting Larsson, but Tippett said that's part of the normal course of events during a season.

"Injuries happen," Tippett said. "We went into the season with [forward Riley] Sheahan out. Everybody's going to have injuries. You've got to deal with them. We talk about it all the time, that injuries aren't an excuse for not winning. Somebody else has to take that spot and get the job done."

Larsson, the No. 4 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, is in his fourth season with the Oilers after being traded to Edmonton by the New Jersey Devils for forward Taylor Hall on June 29, 2016. He hd 20 points (three goals, 17 assists) in 82 games last season.

Goalie Mike Smith, who made 31 saves to win his first game with the Oilers, said they will miss Larsson's grit and leadership.

"Anytime you have a player that's willing to do what it takes in front of you to keep the puck out of the net, you love those players as a goaltender," Smith said. "He's one of those guys that is willing to eat a puck to keep it out of your net and that commitment level is contagious as far as I'm concerned. That shows great leadership and wears off on other players around him."

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