Oilers fans went home frustrated last night, but in preseason you’re looking for answers and they came fast and furious at Rogers Place Thursday. Some Oilers made it clear they were not ready for this level, while others showed capable but didn’t move the needle. A very few men earned another day in main camp.
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of The Athletic, we are celebrating our 2-year anniversary this week. To mark the occasion, you can get 40% off subscriptions here.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Dreadful showing means several Oilers players are on the chopping block with cuts looming
- New Jonathan Willis: How quickly must the Oilers’ top AHL prospects claim NHL jobs before they become suspect?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: McDavid and more: Five thoughts through the first week of Oilers camp
- Lowetide: Why Kailer Yamamoto’s delayed training camp may benefit his Oilers career
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Brandon Manning on how his contract is hurting him, proving his worth at camp and being a mentor
- Jonathan Willis: Four players who helped, three who hurt their Oilers hopes in Edmonton’s second preseason game
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How an offseason adding more pop in his stick and skates has James Neal primed for first Oilers season
- Lowetide: A big night for Oilers defencemen Joel Persson, William Lagesson and Evan Bouchard
- Lowetide: Preseason 2019-20: The Oilers’ journey to respectability begins
- Lowetide: Handicapping Oilers prospect progress: The development of Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones and William Lagesson
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Eight key questions for the Oilers to solve at training camp
- Jonathan Willis: Predicting the winners of the Oilers’ top-six and top-nine forward jobs out of camp
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: In, out or on the bubble: Breaking down positional battles at Oilers camp
- New Lowetide: Evan Bouchard and the Calder Trophy: The Oilers’ pursuit of the elusive rookie award
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Alex Chiasson prepares to return to scoring form for Edmonton Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Kyle Brodziak defied the odds, and then the Oilers, to carve out a significant NHL career
- Lowetide: Can Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith stop enough pucks for the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Shutdown success by Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson is a key for the Oilers in 2019-20.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Even if he’s unsure about his return, Oilers’ Connor McDavid looks and sounds like his old self
- Lowetide: RE 19-20: How can the Oilers’ bottom six close the gap in goal differential?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Kailer Yamamoto and Tyler Benson address respective highs and lows as Oilers rookie camp begins
- Jonathan Willis: Riley Sheahan is a prudent signing by the Oilers in more ways than one
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ defensive hopes will rest on the new shutdown pair of Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: With Evan Bouchard as the headliner, here are the players to watch at Oilers rookie camp
- Lowetide: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the configuration of the Oilers second line
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid’s 2019-20: Pushing for 50 goals while Dave Tippett loads up the Oilers’ top line
- Lowetide: Estimating reasonable expectations for the 2019-20 Edmonton Oilers: A difficult journey
- Jonathan Willis: How much money will Darnell Nurse make on his next NHL contract?
- Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
- Lowetide: Oilers coach Dave Tippett might have to take drastic action in order to find a second outscoring line in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
LINE 1 Joakim Nygard-Ryan McLeod-James Neal. Spent 5:34 together, 3-5 shots, 0-2 goals, 1-0 HDSC. All numbers via NaturalStatTrick.
Joakim Nygard had two shots five-on-five and one HDSC, he also transported the puck well at times. He’s an unusual and interesting player, I hope they keep him around but suspect he remains on the bubble.
Ryan McLeod had two shots five-on-five, one HDSC and six wins versus nine losses in the faceoff circle. I remain doubtful he’ll be a substantial offensive center but he’s smart and fast. There are moments when he looks 29 instead of 19.
James Neal is an enjoyable player to watch. He had three HDSC’s and made some fine passes. He was the best forward Edmonton dressed last night, suspect he would have cashed with better linemates.
LINE 2 Tomas Jurco-Cooper Marody-Alex Chiasson. Spent 4:48 together, 4-0 shots, 1-0 goals, 3-0 HDSC.
Tomas Jurco has made the team or is damn close. He makes good decisions and can pass the puck well, he’s rangy and gives the team both size and speed on the wing.
Cooper Marody was the best bubble player on the ice for Edmonton, I think he is clearly in the lead among the center hopefuls. A goal, two shots, one HDSC and 3-3 on the dot. Edmonton could make a trade for a bottom-six center to pair with Riley Sheahan (who has one of the jobs), but I think Marody owns the other spot this morning.
Alex Chiasson picked up an assist and had some good moments in the game. I liked his responsible play in the neutral zone, the Tippett Oilers seem to be more open to a reset before trying a sortie. Chiasson’s contract is dear but he does bring some things.
LINE 3 Tyler Benson-Gaetan Haas-Patrick Russell. Spent 4:43 together, 0-2 shots, 0-0 goals, 0-1 HDSC.
Tyler Benson played well but hasn’t hit the scoresheet in 42 five-on-five minutes. As a comparison, Cooper Marody is 1-2-3 in about 26 minutes five-on-five. Benson had one shot (a quick look on the power play) and worked hard winning battles along the wall. He’s balancing on a bubble on the head of a needle in terms of NHL employment this fall.
Gaetan Haas is not progressing as he needs to, this training camp is getting late early for him. He did have one HDSC and won his faceoff battle 5-4, but I don’t think there’s enough there there.
Patrick Russell is absolute fire in puck pursuit. It’s like his on-off switch is jammed and he can’t stop doing. Had one shot and a mid-level scoring chance, I think he has a real shot at this roster.
LINE 4 Markus Granlund-Brad Malone-Anthony Peluso. Spent 3:40 together, 2-0 shots, 0-0 goals, 0-0 HDSC.
Markus Granlund had a couple of shots, he’s been quiet through preseason so far. His Oilers didn’t get scored on during his 4:36 of four-on-five PK time. Small sample of course, but on a night when Vancouver scored at will with the man advantage, it’s worth noting.
Brad Malone went 3-4 on the dot, turned over the puck in the neutral zone and didn’t move the needle offensively. He was just okay on the PK, but he’ll be off to Bakersfield before opening night (possibly today).
Anthony Peluso can forecheck. He’s a big man and when he’s driving into the zone there’s an audible rumble. I enjoyed his training camp this year.
PAIRING ONE Oscar Klefbom-Joel Persson played 11:31, going 5-6 shots, 1-1 goals and 1-1 HDSC.
Oscar Klefbom was quality, it’s such a treat to watch him play. He’s smart, mobile, anticipates, had an assist and could have had a couple more with a more substantial set of forwards.
Joel Persson took a backwards step last night. Not fatal, but he’s going to need to make quicker, better decisions. Good passer, and his boots are fine. The big issue is moving things along at a higher pace.
PAIRING TWO Dmitri Samorukov-Matt Benning were on the ice together for 11:00, going 5-2 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-1 HDSC.
Dmitri Samorukov punched his ticket to Bakersfield last night. He’s talented, any fool can see it, but against a Canucks team with several more NHLers than the home team he had a difficult time keeping track of all the danger. I remain impressed by his range of skills.
Matt Benning didn’t provide the veteran calm the Oilers needed from this pairing on the night. He had a nice look early, and then lapsed defensively on the PK and later five-on-five in coverage.
PAIRING THREE Keegan Lowe-Caleb Jones played 13:51 together, going 7-9 shots, 0-1 goals and 4-3 HDSC.
Keegan Lowe had a tough night, his dead duck pass never got to Jones and seconds later was in Edmonton’s net. Pairing did take seven defensive faceoffs.
Caleb Jones could have used a more veteran LH on the night he moved over to his off side, and the results were not fabulous. I don’t like the idea that his LH work will suffer because of this outing, and am going to hope that Dave Tippett feels the same way. I had him making the team before last night, see no reason for that to have changed.
GOALIE Mikko Koskinen stopped 14 of 16 (.875) at five-on-five, including all three HDSC’s. His major crime on the evening occurred on the PK, where he was watching as the puck went past him for the first-person shooter and a goal. He was not good enough on his first outing of the preseason.
GOALIE Shane Starrett stopped three of four (.750) at five-on-five, giving up a goal on a HDSC. I have been impressed with his training camp and preseason.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we get rolling with the Friday edition of the Lowdown, TSN1260. Steve Lansky will pop in at 10:20 to discuss late roster editions like Anton Burdasov, and what that can do to a broadcast crew. Matt Iwanyk will tee up the Eskimos-TiCats game tonight and we’ll discuss Ricky Ray’s name going up on the Wall of Honour.