The Edmonton Oilers cut 13 players today, in what is surely one of the most interesting cut-down days in recent memory. The group sent out isn’t especially provocative, but the names of those who stayed may offer us insight into the organization’s thinking.
THE CUTS (NHL CONTRACTS)
- R Greg Chase, who went 48, 3-11-14 in Bakersfield last season. This will be the final year of his entry-level deal.
- RC Kyle Platzer, 51, 1-7-8 with the Condors a year ago and (like Chase) entering the final year of his first pro contract.
- L Braden Christoffer, 49, 5-3-8 in Bakersfield and his final year of entry deal begins in October.
- LD Ben Betker, 30, 1-5-6 in the AHL and 5, 3-2-5 in the ECHL in 2016-17. Final year of entry deal.
- RD Ethan Bear, 67, 28-42-70 with Seattle (WHL) and he turns pro this fall.
- LD Ziyat Paigin, 17, 1-3-4 in the KHL and 5, 0-0-0 in Bakersfield. He’ll begin entry-level this year.
- LC Joe Gambardella, 41, 18-34-52 with UMass-Lowell (NCAA) and 6, 1-2-3 with Bakersfield.
- G Shane Starrett, 37, 1.99 .925 with Army (NCAA) a year ago. He begins his pro career.
THE CUTS (AHL DEALS)
- RC Chad Butcher, a prolific scorer with Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) last season.
- RC Josh Currie, who delivered a strong season with Bakersfield a year ago.
- L Ryan Hamilton, Condors captain back for another year.
- R Zach O’Brien, 175 games of AHL experience and a rugged forward.
- L Evan Polei, Former Red Deer Rebels winger is an intriguing combination of size and skill.
THE DISTANT BELLS
- Today’s cuts drove a spike through the heart of the distant bells. Our list has eight remaining names, but three (Andrej Sekera, Brian Ferlin and Tyler Benson) are injured. That leaves five distant bells.
- Caleb Jones survives the first big cut in his pro debut season and I think that’s worth noting. His mobility has always been on display, but he is also showing some calm feet and this is a very nice reward for hard work and development.
- Grayson Downing and Edward Pasquale also remain, the organization probably wants to get another look or there may be injury issues.
- Patrick Russell probably earned another look last night, somewhere between his first and sixth hit.
- Joe Gambardella is the first cut among the uncertain group, that’s probably more about me estimating than anything else.
- Kailer Yamamoto remains, he’s the final (healthy) junior player still on the roster. Todd McLellan said he’ll play sometime on the weekend and at this point I suspect there’s a very good chance we see him for nine games at the beginning of the NHL season. He earned the opportunity to shine with strong play and I think he has an excellent chance if the club puts him with skill.
- I think these 20 men make the roster, only question is Slepyshev and his ability to get ready for the beginning of the season.
- My guess is the final three players are named Yohann Auvitu, Jujhar Khaira and Iiro Pakarinen. However, Kailer Yamamoto is driving and will be heard over the next two weeks.