The Edmonton Oilers were 0-3 on their road trip and one assumes they have answered some of the early questions about this roster. I have a few of my own:
- Does this team have enough offense with Jordan Eberle on IR and Leon Draisaitl in Bakersfield?
- Did they overestimate Lauri Korpikoski’s ability to play a complementary offensive role?
- Can Matt Hendricks replace him as a ‘skill option’ on the 1line or 2line?
- With Yakopov now on McDavid’s line, does that mean Anton Lander will receive a skilled winger from the minors?
- Is Anton Slepyshev able to contribute enough in his (ever smaller) minutes?
- Have we had an update on Jordan Eberle’s ETA?
- One of Edmonton’s issues is holding possession in the offensive zone. Did Leon show us enough in that look-see to be a legit option on the wing?
- Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan mentioned that Leon should stay in the minors until he’s ready. Should that remain the case, even if Draisaitl can help at the NHL level?
- Iiro Pakarinen looks very good early in Bakersfield (I had Scott Zerr on the show today and he raved about him). Is Pakarinen a better choice than Leon (should the organization decide to make a move)?
- If Todd McLellan can’t find a fifth for Eric Gryba among Griffin Reinhart, Brandon Davidson and Andrew Ference, does Darnell Nurse eventually enter the conversation?
Andrew Miller has the only Bakersfield goal and it’s early early but the CHL stats folks have a very cool item up at their website. It’ll estimate TOI and other things and it is here. One item that caught my eye (although it’s also available on the AHL site) is individual shots on goal after two games:
- Iiro Pakarinen 9
- Phil McRae 7
- Darnell Nurse 5
- Andrew Miller 5
- Leon Draisaitl 4
- Matt Ford 4
I think McLellan is going to like Pakarinen. That shot total is no fluke, either. He posted 125 shots in 39 games (3.21 per game) a year ago. He’s an interesting option for the Oilers if Slepyshev continues to move down the depth chart.
I’m looking forward to this season, despite the 0-3 start. The schedule is heavy early but that should mean clean air at some point, and by then Todd McLellan should be locked and loaded. I don’t have any idea (honestly) how he’s going to make this defense work, but for me one of his six best options is in Bakersfield—and I think there’s a damn good forward there who can help, too.
I know it’s a season of building, hell men I get that all day. I would respectfully suggest Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan would be wise to win a few in the next month or two.