The Edmonton Oilers face the Los Angeles Kings in Vernon tonight, in a game that confirms television drives everything.
- Cam Talbot, 29. He has been average so far, Oilers badly need .920 or better from him—and probably 60 games based on the current depth chart. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- Jonas Gustavsson, 31. His career numbers do not inspire, and his performance so far seems a good match for his career numbers. Chances of Making the Oilers: 60%.
- Laurent Brossoit, 23. You could make the case for Brossoit fading a little from this picture, but things can change in a quick hurry. Chances of Making the Oilers: 40%.
- LD Oscar Klefbom, 23. His injury in Winnipeg reminded us of just how fragile this season will be—October through the point Edmonton fades from the playoff picture. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- LD Andrej Sekera, 30. Strong play at WCOH reminds us of how well he can play. If the Oilers can use him as second pair anchor, that is a very nice top 4D. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- LD Brandon Davidson, 24. Impressive rookie season, more please. Recent sojourns into the offhanded blue tells us exactly how much value Davidson has to this team. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- LD Darnell Nurse, 21. At no point since Christmas has there been a hint that Nurse would not be on the team. Why stop now? Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- LD Jordan Oesterle, 24. Mobile defender with some chaos, he is in a very good spot for No. 7D at this point in time.. Chances of Making the Oilers: 40%.
- LD Griffin Reinhart, 22. Uneven TC performance have his chances fading. Chances of Making the Oilers: 10%.
- LD Dillon Simpson, 23. The fact he is still in camp (with Musil and others gone) is a tell. The one prospect who seems to improve every year (little by little) has a little traction. Chances of Making the Oilers: 5%.
- LD Mark Fraser, 29. Still in camp, isn’t playing. I think he is the last callup for the season. Chances of Making the Oilers: 1%.
- LD Andrew Ference—LTIR. No chance.
- RD Adam Larsson, 23. Two-way defender has shown some nice passing ability and strong coverage skills. For those of us who enjoy that player-type, it is a breath of fresh air. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- RD Mark Fayne, 29. There may be a time when the Oilers no longer need him but this is not that time. Chances of Making the Oilers: 90%.
- RD Eric Gryba, 28. I think he has a legit chance to make this team, we should see him quite a bit from now through the end of training camp. Chances of Making the Oilers: 40%.
- RD Matt Benning, 23. In terms of mobile, passing defenseman, he is a very rare item on this roster. Has played well enough to get at least two more starts. Chances of Making the Oilers: 14%.
- C Connor McDavid, 19. Every game he plays, everyone wants to see. Appointment viewing.. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 23. He got rave reviews and a head start with the WCOH (remember when they didn’t name him to the team?), this could be a big season for him. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- C-R Leon Draisaitl, 20. I suspect he plays C most of the season, perhaps all if Jesse Puljujarvi and Nail Yakupov emerge on a skill line. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- C Mark Letestu, 31. I think people are looking past this player now, which is a mistake. He is a solid 4C and can help on the power play. He does not bring 5×5 offense, but how many 4C’s in this NHL do bring offense? Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- C-L Drake Caggiula, 22. I increased his chances based on McLellan’s comments. He can play W or C, the Oilers have to love his speed (badly needed on the bottom 6F). Chances of Making the Oilers: 70%.
- C Anton Lander, 25. Subpar camp so far, but his range and experience may hold enough appeal for Lander to keep his job. I think he is in real danger, Edmonton may be checking the waiver wire leading up to opening night. Chances of Making the Oilers: 30%.
- F Jere Sallinen, 25. Plays a quiet game, he does seem to have some range. I have watched games he has played in without noticing him much—don’t know if that is good or bad. Chances of Making the Oilers: 14%.
- L Milan Lucic, 28. The big man is getting into form, while some fans panic at the lack of results. Early days, and his passing remains a strong point. He is not a power-play giant, Oilers will apparently need to learn that about his player. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- L Benoit Pouliot, 29. He is fantastically underrated, mostly because of contract size and those rinky dink penalties. For me, Pouliot is the one winger who consistently checks, causes turnovers and creates offense from broken plays by the other side. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- L Patrick Maroon, 28. Faster and quicker this camp, he has a chance to carve out a nice spot on this roster during 2016-17. Injury appears to be far less than feared. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- L Matt Hendricks, 35. He is back and working just as hard as ever. Speed is the concern, and there are (much less experienced) alternatives. We could see a deadline trade. Chances of Making the Oilers: 85%.
- R Anton Slepyshev, 22. The Oilers clearly like him, despite a disappointing run in the AHL a year ago. Do they like him more than Nail? Chances of Making the Oilers: 11%.
- R Tyler Pitlick, 24. Hot start to training camp, he has a nice combination of size and speed—perhaps he catches on as 14F and finds a way to work up from there. Chances of Making the Oilers: 10%.
- L Tyler Benson—Healthy enough for full practice, will he get a game before heading back to junior? Seems unlikely.
- R Jordan Eberle, 26. Has been slow out of the gate, you would like to see him have a stronger performance his next time out (which could be tonight). Very little worry about his ability to score goals, especially if he gets to play with McDavid. Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- R Zack Kassian, 25. I think he lands on the 4line, but could move up as needed. The one area that could catch him is speed, but one suspects he would be spared over the older veteran (Hendricks). Chances of Making the Oilers: 100%.
- R Nail Yakupov, 22. The time is now. Todd McLellan is finding spots for him—we will see if it works—and perhaps this is the beginning of the push. Chances of Making the Oilers: 90%.
- R Kris Versteeg, 30. He has to be close to making this team now, suspect a contract gets signed sometime this week. He has been a strong addition to this team. Chances of Making the Oilers: 90%.
- R Jesse Puljujarvi, 18. He is big (6.04, 203), fast and skilled—and quiet so far during main camp. He did so some good things with Nuge, needs to have more success in his games this week. Chances of Making the Oilers: 50%.
- R Iiro Pakarinen, 24. I think he makes the team, but as 5R. If the Oilers keep Eberle, Versteeg, Yak or Puljujarvi and Kassian, then Pakarinen is pressbox fodder. Chances of Making the Oilers: 50%.
Bogdan Yakimov has been toiling in the KHL without much success so far this season, but he had a strong game this week and the numbers are beginning to come.
- Boxcars: 9gp, 1-2-3 +1
- Shots on goal: 16
- Shooting percentage: 6.2
- Faceoffs: Only 4 sorties, lost them all (probably playing LW)
- TOI per game: 10:53
- Hits: 8
- Blocks: 5
- Points-per-60 (all disciplines): 1.84
Some believe Yakimov will return one day, I see him more as a Hartikainen-Ewanyk (traded to another NHL team) for Peter Chiarelli. His performance in the KHL may increase his value in trade.
The Oilers have David Musil and Taylor Beck on waivers today, these things are basically impossible to predict. I will tell you that (in my opinion) it is unlikely either man gets claimed, but Steve Valiquette and Rob Schremp were plucked and neither man was a superstar at the time. David Musil is a solid defensive defender who—at the AHL level—impressed the hell out of his coach.
- Gerry Fleming, Condors Coach: “He’s been our number-one shutdown guy and been great on the penalty kill. We use him in all situations, we use him late in the game when we’re up a goal, and he’s responded well. The biggest thing is when you don’t notice Dave during a game, you know he’s had a good game. He reads the play offensively as well. A lot of people underestimate his value in that area but he jumps in at the right times. He activates at the offensive blue line at the right times, he’s been getting pucks down to the net a lot better, and creating offensive chances for himself. But his specialty, obviously, is as a shutdown guy and he’s done a good job at that. We’d like to see him get an opportunity but that’s out of his control. All he can control is the way he plays down here. At times it’s been a little frustrating for him. We’ve had a few talks and he’d like to get an opportunity but you can’t worry about whether or not you’re going to get an opportunity. You have to worry about the things you can control in your game.” Source
Many of you reading this morning do not consider Musil’s skill set to have value—strong defensive defender, not much offense. I think his speed obscures a pretty capable defender, and wish him well either way. It is impossible to view Musil’s waiver move as anything other than a condemnation of that selection in 2011—but we should also remember that Nuge was gifted Edmonton, and they drafted Oscar Klefbom and Tobias Rieder in that draft.