It was a busy day yesterday for Oilers fans with Brad Hunt and Oscar Klefbom switching places, and then the news that Taylor Hall would miss two to four weeks with a sprained MCL. And with the news that team captain Andrew Ference will be sitting out the week with a suspension, the team needed to make another call to Oklahoma City just to ice a full roster tomorrow night in Philadelphia.
And who got the call you ask? Mr. Keith Aulie. That's almost enough to make you wish that Ference was available.
We last saw Aulie in training camp and he did not look good. On almost every shift, and against all levels of competition, he looked like he was at least a step behind. Since being sent to the Barons Aulie has played in eight games recording one assist and posting the lowest plus/minus on the team at -6. Hopefully his play has been better than those numbers would suggest but I have my doubts.
Had it been up to me I probably would have opted to recall David Musil. Not only is his stat line a lot less ugly, his play in training camp looked significantly closer to NHL calibre than Aulie's did. The difference maker for management might have been that Aulie has spent some time in the NHL previously, and with Klefbom already recalled adding another player with zero experience would be less than desirable. I understand that line of thinking but unless his eight games with the Barons made Aulie into a new man, that NHL experience won't count for much when opposition forwards fly past him.
And for now the team has opted to not recall anyone to fill the spot freed up by placing Taylor Hall on the injured reserve which means that unless somebody gets recalled in time to dress in tomorrow's game that Will Acton will return to the lineup for the first time in three weeks. Again I find this a little puzzling, Iiro Pakarinen is having a wonderful start to the season, and while he obviously wouldn't have been able to replace Hall, he would have provided a top nine option that would have in turn allowed the team's very effective fourth line to remain intact.
The Oilers have done well against the East this season, but going with a lineup that includes both Aulie and Acton might be reaching just a little.
Well this is a little better, now the lineup with have just Acton and not Aulie.