Todd McLellan shuffled the deck after two periods last night and lit a fire that leveled the Jets. The McDavid line acquired a giant and the Nuge line picked up a very nice fit, with the result in the final 20 (four goals and a 5×5 Corsi event total of 24-7) suggesting it might be worth taking the new configuration out for a spin more often.
- Russell-Benning had a fine game, Benning was firing headman passes often. I like Russell LH side more than right and the pairing won the Fenwicks by a mile. Todd McLellan won’t be able to protect his second pairing, let’s check these possession numbers in a week.
- Nurse-Gryba skated and chased, Gryba turned the puck over a couple of times. Nurse had a good night with the puck as transporter, tried to do less and because of it got more done. Nurse’s passing is going to be a vital part of any success for this duo.
- Jones-Simpson were effective and efficient despite some giveaways, both men cashing assists (Simpson’s on the splendid McDavid goal). Jones was sent out after the game, but he was one of the most impressive players in camp over the first 10 days. Simpson survived the latest cuts, once again exceeding expectations.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) September 24, 2017
No surprises, I was impressed with defenders Caleb Jones and Ryan Mantha. Edmonton has a growing list of defensemen who are big, fast and possess a range of skills. More on the remaining men in a minute.
- The Chris Kelly (Malone-Russell) line was mind blowing, four points and the trio gets to stay and fight another day. That’s some damned fine teamwork.
- Nuge played with Jokinen the entire night, two periods with Puljujarvi and the third with Strome. I thought the line looked good throughout but it was absolutely more lively with Strome on it.
- The Letestu (Khaira-Kassian) line had another solid night, Khaira is really establishing himself. He should probably cut down 17 pim nights, though.
- McDavid-Puljujarvi is a new secret weapon and deadly. JP made a lovely tip pass to Connor McDavid for 97’s goal and then (much like his first NHL goal) was in the right place to poke him a marker of his own. I hope we see this combination again. A note for Patrick Maroon, who confronted slayer Byfuglien who was throwing McDavid around for fun.
- The distant bells are decimated now, a lonely bell ringing for Patrick Russell. Three injured men (Sekera, Ferlin, Benson) also remain but in name only. Patrick Russell is this year’s champion in this category.
- Russell was one of the college free agents from one year ago (Matt Benning, Drake Caggiula, Nick Ellis) and is a Chiarelli-type (pain in the ass, rugged, hitter, some skill). Players like him have played in the NHL on Chiarelli teams. I wonder about the boots, but credit to him for getting this far.
- We are down to 11 now, I count three among these players who will be on the opening night roster (more if someone is on IR with Andrej Sekera).
- Any guesses? I’ll go with Yohann Auvitu, Jujhar Khaira and Iiro Pakarinen.
- Chris Kelly has been inconsistent in camp but the Oilers are giving him the full look, he is probably still in the mix. I will guess he doesn’t make the team, but these games can serve as auditions for other teams.
- Ty Rattie had his best outing last game, earned another. I can’t see a scenario that gets him on the opening night roster but he is absolutely a recall option.
- Kailer Yamamoto has been an amazing success during training camp. No matter what, he has delivered a fantastic performance and given fans a taste of what is to come. Maybe more. That’s breaking news.
- The club has 10 defensemen remaining for seven or eight positions, meaning one or two of these names will make the team. We shouldn’t be surprised by Auvitu and Stanton’s presence, they were hired to compete and Auvitu has a one-way deal. Mark Fayne remaining is fascinating (he has been inconsistent) and Dillon Simpson making the opening night roster would be ultimate Simpson. He’s been winning battles since his draft day.
- This is the heart of the order. I think we could see a RHD acquired by opening night, we often talk about Colin Miller but perhaps there are other targets.
- Anton Slepyshev is 10 days from Game One. He’ll need to play some this week.
- The entire group has yet to play together, the four lines look promising so far this fall, led by an outstanding group of centers.
- Cam Talbot is Cam Talbot.