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BLOG: Young defencemen have opportunity

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

Injuries have hit the Oilers defencemen as of late. Veteran blueliners Andrew Ference (concussion) and Nikita Nikitin are not practicing with the team. With Mark Fayne, 27, skating with the team today at practice, the average age of the seven Oilers defencemen on the ice was 23.4.

Take him out of the lineup, like he was last game with a shoulder injury, and the average age of the remaining six is 22.8.

Youth on the blueline can be an obstacle for NHL clubs. For those players however, it is an opportunity to grow and develop. Trial by fire.

“I think it’s great for those guys, getting experience when they’re that young,” said Fayne. “It’s a tough league for a defenceman to come in right away, every game in the playoff season. I think it’s good that they’re starting to get experience now, playing a lot of different positions and a lot of different match ups. I think, as a team, it might be a little tough of a transition when you have so many but this is the time of year to do it.”

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