The Edmonton Oilers ran their preseason record to 6-1-0 Sunday afternoon, winning over a strong group of Calgary Flames after a laggardly start. Based on performances, I’d say Kailer Yamamoto made the team, Evan Bouchard too. The rest? Too soon to know.
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- New Lowetide: Oilers waive Aberg, release Jerabek and stand at 25.
- New Lowetide: Oilers prospects Berglund, Maksimov off to fine starts
- Lowetide: Is this the year an Edmonton Oilers player wins the Calder Trophy?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Evan Bouchard enlists former figure skater to help improve a weakness in his game.
- Jonathan Willis: Mikko Koskinen temporarily triumphs over Al Montoya, but the real battle for the backup role has just started
- Eric Duhatschek: Milan Lucic has made changes to try and get his swagger, and scoring touch, back.
- Jonathan Willis: What does the preseason performance of Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto mean for the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Impressive Cooper Marody preseason could lead to NHL recall.
- Lowetide: Oilers farm system beginning to resemble the real thing
- New Lowetide: RE 18-19: Cam Talbot is key to Oilers success in 2018-19
- Lowetide: RE 18-19: A case for the defence.
- Lowetide: RE 18-19: Ryan Strome and the Oilers long journey to competent third and fourth lines
- Lowetide: RE 18-19: Leon Draisaitl and the pursuit of a second outscoring line in ’18-19
- Lowetide: RE 18-19: Can the McDavid line lead the 2018-19 Oilers to the playoffs?
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Jerabek-Bouchard went 6-8 in 7:19, 3-6 shots and 1-0 goals. Klefbom-Bouchard went 5-1 in 5:49, 3-1 shots and no goals. I thought Bouchard played a strong game, he marked his man defensively very well, and moved the puck expertly too. Had one moment where McDavid came around the net and drove in for a great shot when 97 sent him the puck. He’s learning on the job, will it be enough? I suspect he gets at least nine games. Jerabek had a better game, and spent four minutes on the 4-on-5 PK without a goal going into the net. Is it enough? We’ll find out.
- Klefbom-Larsson went 2-6 in 4:10, 0-3 in shots, no goals. Larsson struggled before he left, one wonders if he was comfortable. Klefbom-Bouchard (stats above) was a surprisingly successful tandem considering Bouchard’s lack of experience. Klefbom-Benning went 2-3 in 4:37, 2-1 shots. I liked Klefbom’s game, didn’t get to see Larsson much.
- Nurse-Benning went 4-15 in 11:31, 3-10 in shots and 0-2 in goals. Part of the problem was time spent with Draisaitl (more later) but both men lost their marks and were exposed at times during the game. I’m still onboard with the pairing but they need to tighten up (and not lose the high forward). Nurse also went 3-9 with Jerabek.
- Cam Talbot stopped 40 of 43, .930. He was splendid, stone cold in the third period off (I believe) Dube.
- NaturalStarTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Nuge-McDavid-Rieder went 7-9 in 11:16, 5-4 shots and 0-1 goals. Most of 97’s offense came on the power play but he did have a HDSC at 5-on-5. Nuge has been quiet offensively for a few games, wonder if Todd McLellan is thinking of pulling a switch the game before opening night. The line didn’t play much, notice the totals of each trio.
- Chiasson-Brodziak-Kassian went 5-8 in 8:10, 1-6 shots and no goals. I liked this group on the forecheck, wonder if Chiasson would be able to make more plays on his natural side. These three spent over seven minutes (combined totals) on the penalty kill.
- Caggiula-Khaira-Aberg were 5-14 in 8:54, 4-8 in shots and 1-0 in goals (Yamamoto onboard, Aberg had shuffled up). Despite the possession numbers, I thought Caggiula and Khaira had their best games. The goal involving McDavid helped but for me they seemed to be involved in more plays and pushing into the offensive zone. Aberg was, to my eye, not a major factor.
- Lucic-Draisaitl-Yamamoto were 6-16 in 12:03, 3-8 shots 0-1 goals (Lucic) and 3-10, 1-4 shots and no goals (Yamamoto). Leon had zero 5-on-5 points and just two individual high danger scoring chances in over 50 minutes of preseason.
I have several, beginning with the No. 2 line. I understand the idea of being patient with Leon Draisaitl this fall, but the organization also has a responsibility to give him the best chance to succeed. I’d be very tempted to move Jesse Puljujarvi up, or grab Josh Leivo today, via trade, and run Rieder-Draisaitl-Leivo on the second line.
I’m also wondering about the defense, including Adam Larsson, the Nurse-Benning pair and what Russell-Bouchard might do against Taylor Hall in the opener.
The Oilers got plenty of good answers this fall, including a rocking goalie performance from Cam Talbot, a No. 1 line that scorched all comers, and three unproven right wingers focused on proving themselves early and often.
Good arrows. Still questions. This is the life of a building team. I am still convinced the team made the right call in keeping No. 10 overall, Oscar and the Nuge.
PROJECTED OPENING NIGHT ROSTER
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Connor McDavid—Ty Rattie
- Milan Lucic—Leon Draisaitl—Kailer Yamamoto
- Jujhar Khaira—Ryan Strome—Jesse Puljujarvi
- Tobias Rieder—Kyle Brodziak—Zack Kassian
- Drake Caggiula—Alex Chiasson
- Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
- Darnell Nurse—Matt Benning
- Kris Russell—Evan Bouchard
- Jason Garrison
- Cam Talbot (Mikko Koskinen)