The Edmonton Oilers play their fourth pre-season game tonight, against the Vancouver Canucks. The team from the left coast is bringing a group that barely qualifies as an NHL group, while the home team is giving three lines and two pairings worth of hopefuls a chance to shine. For fans, it’s an opportunity to see who will step up.
- The top line should rain down blows upon the Canucks tonight.
- Iiro Pakarinen has the best chance of winning an NHL job among the men on the second line. Chris Kelly’s performance tonight probably needs to be impressive. Kailer Yamamoto remains a long shot but the fact he is here one week after the big games started is a very good arrow.
- The third line includes three men who are unlikely to make the opening night lineup but could be recalls during the year. You could say the same thing about Mitch Callahan on the fourth line.
- Yohann Auvitu has a chance to make this team, not sure it’s secure yet. Mark Fayne and Keegan Lowe are possible recalls during the year, Ryan Mantha’s presence in the lineup is a major tell in my opinion.
Anton Slepyshev is at “80 percent” according to Jason Gregor’s tweet and that should mean we’ll see him in the coming week. We’re now at a point where the battle for two spots (2R and 3R) comes down to four men: Drake Caggiula, Jesse Puljujarvi, Anton Slepyshev and Kailer Yamamoto. There are myriad possibilities of course, but the easiest route has Kailer Yamamoto heading back to junior and Jesse Puljujarvi heading to Bakersfield. Is that the best route? We wait.