The Oilers are 4-1-1 so far in the preseason and now you’re just looking for a healthy ro–this just in, Kailer Yamamoto wasn’t on the ice yesterday and may not play another game in the preseason. He’s a player you want to get going offensively, so this is no damn good at all.
Dave Tippett is using that opportunity to audition Kyle Turris, which is being met by the fan base with calm, measured verbal. As one would expect. “Interesting idea,” said one fan. “I might have suggested another fellow, maybe young Perlini playing his off wing, but Tippett may be giving Turris a big chance to show something tonight since he’s on the bubble,” said another. One thing is certain: Oilers fans are engaged and following the coaching thought process closely as the chilly October winds arrive in the north.
- New Lowetide: Does Dom Luszczyszyn’s 2021-22 preview mean math hates the Oilers?
- Lowetide: When will the Edmonton Oilers fully embrace analytics?
- Jonathan Willis: How the 2021-22 Oilers mirror their coach’s best teams from the past
- DNB: Maxing out LTIR
- Lowetide: What might Oilers do if Kailer Yamamoto’s goal scoring slump continues?
- DNB: Oilers’ Mikko Koskinen much happier with family by his side again
- Lowetide: Is this Jay Woodcroft’s final year coaching the Bakersfield Condors?
- Lowetide: How could waivers impact Oilers’ roster decisions?
- New DNB: Duncan Keith’s decline, by the numbers and video
- 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?
- Jonathan Willis: Darnell Nurse, in context
- DNB: The Oilers’ plan for prospect Philip Broberg
- DNB: Warren Foegele Q&A
- Lowetide: Oilers reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal differential
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal scoring
Coaches change their minds constantly, and especially in preseason when someone could wake up with a wonky neck or blow a shoe on the way out of the barn. Here’s how things might look:
- Draisaitl-McDavid-Puljujarvi: This is the NO HOPE line, as opponents would have a very difficult time running against this trio every night of the season. Dare to dream. What if the No. 2 line was Smyth-Weight-Guerin from about 2000? Music!
- Hyman-Nuge-Turris: I’m intrigued by Hyman-Nuge, but thought about it in the context of a third line with 97 and 29 centering different units. Turris is getting a big look here, you can discount preseason all you want there’s not a forward down the depth chart who wouldn’t give his left nut for this chance. Godspeed, Kyle Turris.
- Foegele-Ryan-Kassian are set for opening night, the only question I’d have is how long did Tippett contemplate running Foegele with Hyman and Nuge. I think we could see it at time tonight. I don’t see Kassian spending the whole year on this unit but the other two are quality options for the third line.
- Benson-McLeod-Scevior on what looks like the last chance Texaco line. Someone needs to score from this group. Both Brendan Perlini and Devin Shore have made the club, Yamamoto may start on IR (but that’s not certain. So there’s a chance one of Benson, McLeod or Sceviour won’t be in Edmonton opening night. If not now, when? That applies to all three.
FORWARDS, PRE-SEASON SCORING
If you go into camp promising a man he’ll get a fair shake, and then send out Perlini or Turris, well that would be a tough pill. Devin Shore is a bit of a different story, because the Oilers don’t need fourth-line PK men as much as last season.
Colton Sceviour is interesting. I think he’s played well enough to get a contract but wouldn’t mind seeing the team run JP-KY-Kassian-Turris as the four right-wingers. I’ll be interested in seeing the coach’s decision.
The centers look good 1-2-3, McLeod needs a big night. Drive to the net, make himself a nuisance, score a goal. He has talent, but his being ineligible for waivers is working against him now.
Benson is the guy. He needs to make plays, and this might be his last chance to do it. Perlini might be in there for the final game, as Tippett will want to run with a starting lineup or close.
DEFENSE, PRE-SEASON POSSESSION
I mentioned before training camp that Russell would play far more than people believed (injuries aside) and we’ll see him tonight with Evan Bouchard. Russell doesn’t move the puck efficiently, that’s Bouchard’s forte. Bouchard has very little experience, Russell played with Paul Bunyan. So, I’m looking forward to this pairing tonight.
I imagine the other two pairs tonight will be Nurse-Barrie and Keith-Ceci, at some point you’d like to see more minutes per game from the third pair but that’s a matter of trust. Perhaps Tippett will warm to Russell-Bouchard.
If this is Benson’s last game of the preseason, and I believe it will be, then the young man will have gone through the entire training camp without playing with an NHL skill forward. He got 13 seconds with Leon, 10 with McDavid.
However, Brendan Perlini played 1:25 with McDavid and 36 seconds with Draisaitl.
One man grabbed the rope and never stopped climbing. Benson has been unable to move the needle and badly needs to show something this evening. As I said a couple of weeks ago about Marody, I believe in this player. He needs to use his 10 minutes wisely tonight.
An interesting list today, I have some quick thoughts on a few names.
- LW Jonah Gadjovich, Vancouver. I think there’s a chance he gets plucked off the waiver wire, he’s a PF who scored 40 in his draft year and 15 goals in 19 AHL games one year ago.
- RW Kole Lind, Seattle. A skill winger with a solid pro resume, Lind not making the Kraken is no big surprise (they have a lot of candidates for work) but Lind might be a player of interest for another NHL team looking for complementary scorers.
- RW Alex Volkov, Anaheim. Genuinely surprised he didn’t make the team, Volkov has size and skill, he has been productive (seven goals in his most recent 37 NHL games) enough to warrant a roster spot.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy, fun, jam packed two hours today on the Lowdown, we start at 10 on TSN 1260. Israel Fehr from The Athletic will tell us the state of the Canucks entering tonight’s game, and Reggie Wayne will pop in and preview the NFL Thursday Night game (Rams v. Seahawks) and tell us what he’s doing now. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!!