Make no mistake, the recent achilles injury to veteran defenceman Andrej Sekera has put the Edmonton Oilers in a spot of bother. Coming off a down year for both himself and the team — not unrelated outcomes — his position on the Oilers’ depth chart was the subject of speculation.

But in one important respect, Sekera is, or should I say was, #1 with a bullet. His $5,500,000 cap hit is the highest on the blue line.

He was signed to a six-year deal at that figure in 2015 and brought on board to provide some veteran leadership and help stabilize a wobbly Oilers blueline. Halfway through that contract, he remains Edmonton’s highest-paid rearguard, with three others in the $4 million range and one file still open (more on that in a minute).

Sekera had a strong first two seasons in Edmonton, scoring 30 and 35 points while playing reliable hockey at both ends of the ice. But his status as the team’s #1 blueliner came to a crashing halt in the  playoffs when he was felled by a Ryan Getzlaf hit early in Game 5 in Anaheim and was helped to the bench with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

That hit ended his excellent 2016-17 season and entirely ruined his 2017-18 campaign. Sekera missed the first half of the season, returned just before Christmas but was a shadow of his old self. Read more from…

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