Oscar Klefbom didn’t play in Saskatoon and he didn’t practice yesterday. A town without Jessica Fletcher still finds a way to suss out information. If Oscar doesn’t show up for next practice, we can officially become human fidget spinners. This Oilers team would be in a world of hurt without Klefbom, who has had enough foot issues for a lifetime.
A chilly wind drove the practice lines yesterday, serving as a sobering reminder about players developing in a straight line. A cynic would conclude the coach simply decided the experiments were over and he was going to auto correct to what he knows will work.
- Line 1: Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Leon Draisaitl. Everyone loves it when the band gets back together. Todd McLellan talked about this alignment being more about ‘the other three lines’ and that’s telling in its own way. History teaches us NHL coaches don’t piss around a week before opening night, if there’s experimenting then there’s doubt. I believe this could be the opening night No. 1 line.
- Line 2: Milan Lucic—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Kailer Yamamoto. If this holds true, the teenage phenom not only won an NHL job but a feature role in the top 6F. It also suggests his trial run with 97 showed KY was unready for the top line. That too may come to pass.
- Line 3: Jussi Jokinen—Ryan Strome—Drake Caggiula. Strome at center gives the lineup all kinds of options, this line is an interesting idea. Jokinen is a possession demon and Caggiula can forecheck very well. I hope we see this Saturday night.
- Line 4: Jujhar Khaira—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian. The one line that appears completely set. We’ll see how they shine, things may change once Anton Slepyshev gets healthy. For now, Jujhar Khiara won the day.
- Extra/AHL: Iiro Pakarinen—Chris Kelly—Jesse Puljujarvi. This isn’t the line you want to be on less than a week from the start of the season. I believe Pakarinen is on the roster but after that it is less clear. The Oilers could sign Chris Kelly, keep Kailer Yamamoto and send Jesse Puljujarvi to Bakersfield. It would mean 50 contracts and likely a trade to make room eventually, but the team can run at 50 if they choose.
COLIN MILLER 2016-17
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.74
- 5×4 points per 60: 1.19
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 59.90
- Corsi Rel 5×5 %: 5.35
- DFF Elite 5×5 %: 58.80
- DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %: 7.68 (19 percent of TOI v. elites)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 85 shots/7.1%
- Boxcars: 61gp, 6-7-13
- (All numbers via NaturalStatTrick Puck IQ and hockey-reference)
I have no inside information but he sure gets mentioned a lot in trade rumors with the Edmonton Oilers. If the club could get him at a reasonable price, perhaps Klefbom-Larsson, Russell-Miller and Nurse-Benning would be strong enough to tide them over to Andrej Sekera’s return. It’s a good idea, depending on price.
— College Hockey Inc. (@collegehockey) September 27, 2017
Matt Cairns is No. 17 and Aapeli Rasanen isn’t ranked. I’m a big fan of ISS, but will tell you Matt Cairns career progression has been peculiar. Perhaps ISS knows something but Rasanen is the clearly superior prospect based on everything we know.
Bakersfield got their preseason underway last night, a 6-0 shredding of the San Jose Barracuda. Edward Pasquale with the shutout on 17 stops and here are the scorers.
- Kyle Platzer 1-1-2
- Dana Tyrell 1-1-2
- Evan Polei 0-2-2
- Chad Butcher 0-2-2
- Josh Currie 1-0-1
- Braden Christoffer 1-0-1
- Keegan Lowe 1-0-1
- Lane Bauer 1-0-1
- Greg Chase 0-1-1
- Caleb Jones 0-1-1
- Ziyat Paigin 0-1-1
- Zach O’Brien 0-1-1
- Ben Betker 0-1-1
It’s going to be a lot of fun this season for Bakersfield fans, I’m jealous of their opportunity. Watching that young blue in front of what should be outstanding goaltending, and maybe there’s enough offense to push into the playoffs and beyond. There’s a chance, however small, Jesse Puljujarvi joins them over the weekend. We wait.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Friday edition of the show, 10 this morning on TSN1260. We go round the world and stop in some very interesting places. Scheduled to appear:
- Dan Ukrainetz, Onside CFL Fantasy. CFL weekend is going to be wild, must win for the Eskimos.
- Paul Sir, The Basketball Show. Saturday mornings at 10 on TSN1260, Paul rips through the top hoops stories of the week for two brilliant hours. We’ll tee up tomorrow’s show at 10:40.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Eskimos still control their fate but a win this weekend would be an enormous help.
- Paul Almeida, SSE. Oilers down to their final cuts, which way does the wind blow?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. The weekend beckons!