Final pre-season games aren’t usually this interesting. However, the Oilers have a ton of roster moves to make and some of them are going to have long term impact. The Journal does a nice job of framing the issue today with regard to the D:
Between now and then, there are three avenues for the decision-makers. The Oilers will either carry eight defencemen, find a trading partner, or send Ladislav Smid to the minors. It is not the most probable course of action, but Smid is on a two-way contract.
Tom Gilbert, despite his standout play, will likely start the season in Springfield. He is the only other candidate who can bypass waivers on the way down.
I think the Oilers find a partner.
Up front, MacT is going with a lot of prospects in what is normally a final tune up game. Marc Pouliot will apparently play tonight in what is either a Last Chance Texaco for the opening night roster or a nice swansong before getting sent to the AHL again (or possibly being included in a package deal for immediate RW or D help).
Sam-wise (hat tip to Louise) Gagner will draw in on a line with Sanderson and Pouliot. The fact they can keep Gagner up for a few games but no recall rights apparently is in his favor at this time.
I don’t expect a trade today, but once again Kevin Lowe’s opening night roster looks out of balance, off key and ill-prepared. 8 defensemen they like but not enough of them are difference makers 5×5, three very inexperienced right wingers and about 5 prospects F and D who will eventually be traded so why not now?
Package them up for a healthy, veteran RW who can score you 15 goals and do some heavy lifting. This roster is crying out for it.