GM MacTavish says Taylor Hall is expected to be out four weeks due to his injured left knee.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 22, 2013
It hardly needs to be said that losing Hall for any amount of time is a significant blow to the Oilers. In a strange way though, I can't help but feel a little relieved about that timeline. It certainly could have been worse. It could have been a timeline measured not in weeks but months following surgery to repair torn ligaments. This is in no way good, but it could have been worse, a lot worse.
It might still get worse too. I'm not seeing the words "results of an MRI" anywhere right now, and as the Oilers said yesterday Hall wouldn't be having an MRI until late yesterday or even today. So it's possible that this nothing more than an estimate and the four week timeline is a minimum and will be updated following the results of the MRI. That's just speculation of course, and I certainly hope that isn't the case.
Assuming for now though that Hall is back in the lineup in four weeks, he will miss a total of 13 games, including 8 on the road. Outside of a trade there is no way for the Oilers to replace Hall in the lineup, and so if they hope to be within shouting distance of a playoff spot when Hall returns they are going to have to be a hell of a lot better over the next four weeks than they have been over the seasons first three. Looking at the roster that seems unlikely.