The Edmonton Oilers won another game last night against an inferior opponent. The Vancouver Canucks didn’t dress an NHL team and I expect that organization was satisfied with the effort from their end. Edmonton’s crew had some wobble in goal and chaos on defense, but I’m not sure it’s fair to expect a jam up, jelly tight 60 minutes against a crew like last night’s opposition. Four games, four wins, and some real signs of excellent depth at the pro level and outstanding talent on the way. We’re one week in, the NHL players have held serve. What will this week bring us?
- Yohann Auvitu had an adventurous game, chaos and captivation in equal parts. I like his game with the puck on his stick, but he needs to tighten up defensively. Very creative, impatient for the puck.
- Mark Fayne was on the good end of the possession but took penalties and was not in good places defensively. I don’t think he was going to make the team but am sure he was disappointed with the effort.
- Oscar Klefbom is a wonderful young player, he does it all. Still some coverage gaps and I wish he didn’t block shots, but mobile, great passer, howitzer and a great future.
- Adam Larsson played a solid defensive game, didn’t ramble much and I think he should do it a little more often. He is going to play a lot this season, hope we don’t see much more of him in exhibition games.
- Keegan Lowe had a good night to my eye, he’s a Chiarelli-type. Rugged, hammers people and battles, the goal should have counted. I believe he’ll play in the NHL this season.
- Ryan Mantha stayed longer than expected on merit but I think last night’s game will be the last time we see him in preseason. He had a brain blip on the second goal, offering no challenge on a free range Canuck who broke in and scored from long range. Still, impressive overall. Will he get some NHL time this winter?
- Laurent Brossoit continued to make spectacular stops while also allowing goals where he didn’t move at all. Nerves? Playing like Cam Talbot is going to play 73 games again.
- Kailer Yamamoto had a helluva game, really liked both goals and expect he’s earned another game. He must have touched the puck on 25 different occasions last night, extremely impressive game.
- Iiro Pakarinen reminded us all of his cannon, and also showed his ability to play a very physical game. The underlying numbers have never been especially complimentary but you can see why the coach loves him.
- Chris Kelly needed a good night at 5×5 and I think he got it. Solid again on the PK and we’ll see if he gets another lash before the end of camp. I don’t think he has separated himself from others, but we shouldn’t discount management’s love of experience.
- Leon Draisaitl was outstanding, the most impressive moments being his goal, assist and a bomb from the high slot via a broken play and pass from Klefbom. He’s a fun player to watch.
- Drake Caggiula had some impressive moments followed by genuinely curious, borderline inexplicable ones. I’m not sure what else to say. He can find the puck and do good things, but his “Hemsky round the world” play was ill advised and badly executed. He is posting offense in preseason, but he might be too much of a soloist for Leon’s line.
- Milan Lucic is much faster based on early returns, he turned the puck over a few times and seemed to lack chem with Caggiula. I’m not sure that trio is going to work. The big man’s passing ability was on display several times, including a nifty feed on Edmonton’s first goal of the game.
- Grayson Downing had a couple of good looks during the second period, he might be the top offensive center in Bakersfield this year.
- Ty Rattie had his best game, played well with and without the puck. Good passer, creative.
- Joey Laleggia is a great skater and a responsible winger. He had four shots and two other shot attempts, and that was outside a feature role. A player to follow in Bakersfield, he is on the verge of making NHL debut.
- Mitch Callahan hasn’t shown as much as hoped during training camp, still think he has some of the Matt Hendricks in him. Seems frustrated with his own game, might be putting too much pressure on himself.
- Patrick Russell got an extra game because of his impressive performance in Winnipeg, but couldn’t follow it up with another one.
- Brad Malone was solid on the PK and very physical. I don’t know his role in Bakersfield but it was good to see him get 4×5 minutes tonight along with the EV minutes.
You can’t go fast enough to get there early, but you can flourish in the games put in front of you. Kailer Yamamoto’s hockey sense and tremendous skill were on full display last night. I was looking to see if he could create offense while playing with something less than a ridiculous center, the answer came back yes. I liked his power-play goal because it showed great instinct and quickness. People are locked in with their early bets now, forced to defend bets made long ago. I hope you find the time to enjoy what is happening here, this is a wonderful young player who does in fact have more offensive talent than any pure RW on the roster. Where that lands him is blowing in the wind.
- Todd McLellan on Yamamoto: “He knows how to use his size and the more structured he gets, the better he plays. He can anticipate where players are and he plays better with higher end players. As camp dwindles, we expect him to get better. We expect him to push for a spot.” Source
- Todd McLellan on Pakarinen: “I’m happy for Pak, obviously he had a tough year last year. He knows he’s competing for icetime, maybe not a job but icetime. He showed up today and he competed really hard. The two goals were great, but the competitiveness in his game, playing hard all over the rink, getting the puck in and out when he needs to, the battles on the penalty kill, those were all noticed as well.” Source
Pakarinen entered camp with enough questions about him (coming off injury) to be less than a lock for the roster, but McLellan’s words suggest he is at least 14F as we proceed into the final full week of camp. That cannon of a shot is a useful tool, I always wonder why he doesn’t use it more and why they don’t try him on the point.
— SHL Prospect GIFS (@SHLProspectGIFS) September 23, 2017
The game is still going, Filip Berglund has his first goal of the season. Looks like he is second pairing in this game and may be playing left side. All kinds of good arrows early in Berglund’s season.
The big Finn will play tonight based on earlier reports and will have an opportunity to answer the challenges of Kailer Yamamoto and Drake Caggiula. Anton Slepyshev is still idling in the driveway. Puljujarvi needs to announce his presence with authority, if not tonight then this week. It’s important to remember what kind of player JP is, and that success for him is going to look different out there. Jesse Puljujarvi is a brilliant prospect, I’d bet money he has a long and distinguished NHL career as a strong two-way winger and maybe even more than that when all is said and done. Young players don’t arrive at a specific time, you can’t make an appointment. Jesse Puljujarvi hasn’t yet made the Edmonton Oilers but a strong showing tonight will go a long way to getting it done. Young people sometimes need a break to go their way, to feel they belong, and perhaps that’s all that is left with Puljujarvi.