Oilers head coach Todd McLellan met with Edmonton media on the first day of training camp to talk everything Oilers. I break it down here.
Here we go.
Isn't it wonderful. Oilers training camp opens and it's going to be boring.— Terry Jones (@byterryjones) September 14, 2017
That’s the spirit. All quotes by Todd McLellan, followed by a quick thought or two by me.
“Sekera I think is a real easy one for me, he’s not starting in training camp, he’s not participating on-ice until quite a ways into the season, there’s still that time frame of early-November until January...”
Your left side is likely going to be Klefbom / Russell / Nurse to start the season. The Oilers will miss Andrej Sekera quite a lot while he’s gone.
“Slepyshev is looking like he’s improving a lot...I would qualify him as day-to-day”
“Our goals are fairly lofty”
“Our unknown comes on the right side right now, especially with Slepyshev out injured and with (Ryan) Strome coming in as a new player we’ve got to see where he fits and how he gels with different linemates, so the right side is the wild card position on our team right now, therefore we tend to have pairs left and centre, and we’ll go with...the familiarity of pairs helps early in the season. That’s why you’ll see Patty Maroon and Connor (McDavid) together, Leon and Looch...Nuge won’t have that comfort, but he’s a bright player, and he’ll be able adjust with his new linemates”
That’s a mouthful. Expect a lot of movement on the right side. They can’t wait for Slepyshev to get healthy again, which is hopefully sooner than later. Who’s playing with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Who knows?
“...That’s the number one question that everybody asks me is Where’s Leon Playing? Will you have him with Connor again? I’m not closing the door on that, but we’ll start the training camp with them apart and see where we go from there”
Leon’s going to open the season at 2C until the walls come tumbling down on the right side on the top line. Hopefully that’s never, but if it gets dry up there, Leon’s a phone call away.
“We’re gonna try Drake Caggiula on the right side which is where he ended up in the playoffs for a little bit.”
Sure, why not. Now’s the time to figure that sort of thing out.
“I want Jussi and Jesse to both establish their own games. I don’t want Jussi to come in and think that his job is to take care of Puljujarvi...You’ve got to have your own game established first, and then you can broaden m it out to leadership and guidance and that kind of stuff...”
Odds on the Jussi/Jesse line being a thing for the majority of the season are elevated.
“We’re looking for seven (defencemen), but we’re also trying to sort out the depth of the organization, it doesn’t just end at seven as we all know...”
Not a whole lot of discussion as to who the top six are right now. but after the injured Sekera, comes Klefbom, Larsson, Russell, Benning, Nurse and Gryba. Yohann Auvitu is my extra. And don’t forget about Mark Fayne! (runs)
“He plays better when he plays a lot, that’s a given, we know that...Does that mean he’ll play 72 games? I don’t know what his number will be. We feel comfortable with Brossoit as the backup...that’s the second most asked question after Leon is “how many questions will he play”, and I leave it quite vague just like the Leon thing...”
Yeah, they’re gonna ride Cam just like they did last year. Book it.
THINGS I TOOK FROM THIS INTERVIEW
- The right side is thin. THIN thin. Wafer thin. Todd talked a bit about Anton Slepyshev getting back in the lineup which is fine, but that’s an awful lot of depending on a guy with eleven career points. Maybe this is where Caggiula emerges on the right side.
- Barring anything wacky, Cam Talbot plays seventy games again.
- Milan Lucic is in the best shape of his career, he’s faster now, he skates like the wind, his whites are whiter and his brights are brighter after the five pounds he’s shed in the offseason. Seriously though, if he can keep up a little better with 97, that’d be great for everyone, especially if the 19-97 well goes dry for any length of time.
- If RNH is on line three for the majority of the year, he gets dealt for an underwhelming return at either the deadline or the end of the year. I get that McLellan can trust RNH to take the toughs and that he likes that luxury, but a year behind the two youngins on the third line isn’t going to do wonders for his point total. With a cap crunch on the other side of 2017-18, he’s likely to go.
- Obvious files are obvious: The Oilers are going to miss the hell out of Andrej Sekera.
- Club is hoping for big things from Jesse Puljujarvi, they’ll need him to take a big step.
- Todd is pretty hell-bent on playing Draisaitl at 2C, which is good. With the right side being so thin, I expect a fair bit of bouncing around for Leon to 1RW especially to start out.
Camp rolls on today.