The Edmonton Oilers are already on a two-game winning streak and scored eight goals against the Nashville Predators Monday. Now they will get a little more offense injected into the lineup Tuesday. James Neal has been activated from injured reserve and will play against the Dallas Stars. Neal hasn’t played since Jan. 29.
Neal, 32, was actually in a goal slump when he was injured, with just five in his last 24 games played. Still, the consistent scorer is set to crack the 20-goal mark for the 11th time in his career, something he has done every season except 2018-19, when he struggled with the Calgary Flames. Neal has always found a way to contribute, and this season most of that has come on the power play with the Oilers.
Edmonton already possesses the most lethal power play in the entire league, with a season-long success rate of nearly 30 percent. If Neal’s return can improve that even further, the team will be hard to beat down the stretch.
The question now, however, becomes where does Neal fit in to the lineup at even strength. After Kailer Yamamoto’s emergence as a running mate for Leon Draisaitl and Edmonton’s acquisitions of Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis, the Oilers have more depth on the wing than they are used to.
You'll receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams.
Emailed daily. Always FREE!
Four teams (Detroit, New York Rangers, Ottawa & Vegas) do not currently have a captain, while Carolina has co-captains.