The Edmonton Oilers are two games into the preseason schedule and some players are beginning to emerge as legit candidates for the roster. Two things: It’s important to stay on the path, and remember we still have several miles of blacktop before cut-down day. Plus, the key in all of this is to look for separation, and understand some players play themselves on to the roster and others play their way off the roster. Remember, back not long ago, when everyone was so sure about the final roster? Yeah. The game is afoot!
- NEW Lowetide: 9 bold predictions for the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid, Zach Hyman and line chemistry
- New DNB: Oilers training camp invitees tell us what it’s like to face McDavid in practice
- Lowetide: Why Tyler Tullio’s skill set is a good match for the Oilers
- DNB: Oilers training camp observations
- Lowetide: Why Colton Sceviour could be an important addition for the Oilers
- DNB: Derek Ryan Q&A
- Jonathan Willis: How can the Oilers find a long-term solution in net?
- Lowetide: What will three outscoring lines do for the Oilers and Connor McDavid?
- DNB: Oilers training camp questions
- Jonathan Willis: Darnell Nurse, in context
- DNB: The Oilers’ plan for prospect Philip Broberg
- Lowetide: Examining Ken Holland’s Oilers plan and how it could impact the future
- Lowetide: Filip Berglund, sleeper option for Edmonton’s defense
- DNB: Cooper Marody Q&A
- Lowetide: Oilers preseason stories of the past, from Tony Hand to Leon Draisaitl
- Lowetide: The Oilers and the Cooper Marody experiment are at a crossroads
- DNB: Oilers voice their frustration over top prospect Dylan Holloway’s injury setback
- Lowetide: A set roster? Oilers training camp gone wild? Expect the unexpected
- DNB: Warren Foegele Q&A
- Lowetide: Oilers reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal differential
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal scoring
- Lowetide: What should the Oilers expect from Cody Ceci in his first season?
- Lowetide: Projecting the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers opening night lineup
- Lowetide: What should Oilers expect from Duncan Keith in his first season?
- Jonathan Willis: Tyler Benson, Devin Shore and the 4-year difference between a prospect and a has-been
- Jonathan Willis: A resurgent Zack Kassian could be an important part of the Oilers’ scoring
- Mike Smith started and won the game, stopping 18 shots (Natural Stat Trick judging three to be high danger). Went walkabout a couple of times with some wobble, including a delay of game penalty and a dangerous sequence.
- Mikko Koskinen had a similar game, stopping three high danger shots among 16 overall. Both men looked calm in the net for the most part, I didn’t see Koskinen out of position at all.
- Nurse-Barrie played 15:01, going 9-10 shots and 2-0 goals. Nurse scored the winner on a fantastic individual effort after helping kill off a penalty. He played 17:40 at five on five (1-1-2 points) and led all Oilers with 25:16 TOI. Barrie was quiet on the night, he did get one good chance and a couple of shots on the power play.
- Niemelainen-Bouchard played 14:01, going 6-11 shots and 1-0 goals. Niemelainen was physical, effective defending and spent just under one minute on the penalty kill successfully. Bouchard skated well, was in position and recovered nicely in support of his partner a couple of times. He was not as dynamic as Game 1, partly due to role, but was on the good side of the puck when playing with the McDavid trio. Finished 24:28 on the night, the second busiest Oilers skater.
- Broberg-Berglund played 8:31, going 3-6 shots and no goals. Broberg was active, had a shot on goal, worked the puck down the wall in the offensive zone a couple of times, drew a penalty on a mildly dangerous play by a Kraken and defended well. He looked more comfortable in this game than the first one. Berglund was taxed with less to do because his partner was in danger less often, but he had a takeaway. Both men were noticeable on the PK in a good way.
- Hyman-McDavid-Puljujarvi played 11:01, going 8-5 shots and 1-0 goals. This line was the star of the show while the game was in the balance, Puljujarvi (1-1-2 overall with six shots and 2 HDSC) scored a PP goal and starting a sequence that saw McDavid find Hyman net-front for a beautiful goal. McDavid (1-2-3 overall) also had a power-play marker and was splendid in his first appearance of the year. Hyman’s game should have Oilers fans excited, he forchecked, backchecked, skated miles, went to the net, passed well and finished 1-1-2 on the night. If this evening was ‘preview of coming attractions’ this line will enjoy a long run. That JP to 97 pass, and then McDavid to Hyman who was smart enough to be at the net? Music!
- Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto played 9:34 and were 4-7 shots with no goals. Quiet offensively at five on five, sometimes nothing rhymes. Nuge and Draisaitl had PP assists, Yamamoto had a HDSC (Nuge with two) at five on five. This line will have better nights, no one should worry about this trio even though I expect a full day of questioning this line in the comments section.
- Perlini-Shore-Turris played 8:48 together, going 4-7 shots and 2-0 goals. Perlini is spiking in preseason and could ride the wave all the way to an opening night berth. Important to say he’ll need to continue to get noticed, but no bubble player has done more with his opportunity so far in Oilers camp. He went 2-0-2 on the night, Turris went 0-2-2 and Shore was 0-1-1. A good night for all three men.
- Benson-McLeod-Sceviour played 7:07, going 1-5 shots and no goals. Benson had a good look but the other two men were quiet offensively. I think there were good things from all three men, none of them playing himself off the roster. McLeod has the best chance of making the team.
This tweet is from two weeks ago. I sent it out at that time to show one thing, and that is the preseason does in fact matter. Not for the key components, only injury will derail the heart of the order. Around the edges? There’s much going on and it will likely come down to what the coach wants (extra PK man, speedster, two-way type) at the end of the roster.
Right now, I would estimate Tyler Benson and Josh Archibald as being less likely to make the team. More likely? Brendan Perlini, who one suspects is on his way to winning the job, and Colton Sceviour, who is the plug-and-play replacement for Josh Archibald.
Where does the Perlini spike put Benson? In a tough spot for sure, and he played well enough last night. Had a shot on goal that was a reasonable chance, cheated for defense a couple of times (appropriately) and forechecked well. He contributed on the PK, 1:42 total time ranking fourth among forwards.
Benson showed reasonably well against a Seattle Kraken team that might be monitoring the waiver wire in the days to come, an organization interesting in bringing in young players who might contribute to an expansion team in a variety of roles.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning on the Lowdown, we have a complete breakdown of last night’s game and a look forward to this evening’s tilt against the Winnipeg Jets. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will discuss last night’s game and Perlini’s run. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will help us look at the baseball pennant races and this weekend’s NFL games. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!