The Edmonton Oilers are huddling these hours, figuring out the final opening night roster. Some decisions have already been made—the club likes several wingers, did not like several blue enough—and we are at a point where we have the 23-man roster surrounded.
OPENING NIGHT ROSTER (A GUESS)
- Milan Lucic—Connor McDavid—Jordan Eberle
- Benoit Pouliot—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Leon Draisaitl
- Patrick Maroon—??????—Jesse Puljujarvi
- Tyler Pitlick—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian
- Extras: Drake Caggiula, Anton Slepyshev
- Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
- Kris Russell—Andrej Sekera
- Darnell Nurse—Brandon Davidson
- Extra: Mark Fayne
- Cam Talbot (Jonas Gustavsson)
I think we see a center acquired, otherwise the ??? becomes Anton Lander. One of the things that the Yakupov trade gave us was more clarity about RW. If we look at pairs and lines over the preseason, the names Jordan Eberle, Leon Draisaitl, Jesse Puljujarvi and Kris Versteeg appear heavily on the skill lines.
- Elliotte Friedman: Edmonton’s decision on Kris Versteeg may not come until after Wednesday. On a PTO, Versteeg played well before a groin injury. The Oilers can take time to make sure he’s healthy, and it can’t hurt start-of-season roster/cap management. Source
Interesting news, and it does inform us in regard to decisions that need to be made between now and opening night Wednesday against the Calgary Flames. I think the chances of Edmonton running Leon on RW opening night are pretty good—especially if Drake Caggiula is ready to go. Also seems to me a RHC may be on the wish list, and Edmonton does have some room—just a little—on the 50-man:
If the Oilers sign Versteeg and add someone via waivers, the roster would be at 49—probably too close for comfort and we may not see a waiver claim. Could we see a trade? I think it probably comes down to this: Edmonton has more than one need, and the season will bring its own surprises. We should probably assume that the roster opening night looks as above.
These are my RE projections for 2016-17 (226-226) and it is interesting to see how little has changed on this roster since I ran these numbers. I have Nail Yakupov on the list, do not have Kris Versteeg and Kris Russell. In looking at this list, interesting to see how equal the GF I projected from RW (Eberle—27; Puljujarvi—14; Yakupov—11. Total: 52) compared to LW (Lucic—22; Pouliot—17; Maroon—12. Total: 51) on the top three lines. I have the top three centers scoring 68 goals, Leon moving over changes things—should that occur.
I think Jesse Puljujarvi has shown he can survive in the NHL, and he will chip in here and there on offense—especially if the club gets him some power-play time. In 6 preseason games, he scored a goal and averaged a little over 13 minutes a night. He made several mistakes via pass, battled well and can certainly hit and take a hit.
The Oilers could send JP down, and play Leon at RW with Caggiula on 3C (Lander until he is ready) with Pitlick, Kassian and Slepyshev vying for playing time. I do not think it is likely, and would be interested in knowing just how difficult the JP decision is for Todd McLellan.