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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Vancouver Canucks

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New GM, new head coach, new season. Let’s make it happen out there.

Vancouver Canucks v Edmonton Oilers
A new season is upon us. Let us rejoice.

Edmonton Oilers (0-0-0) vs

Vancouver Canucks (0-0-0)

02 October 2019

Rogers Place


TV: Sportsnet 360 / Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Nucks Misconduct


It’s that time again. The dress rehearsals are over, and it’s time for the real thing. The Oilers enter the 2019-20 NHL season with a new GM, a new coach, and a slew of new players on the roster. Time will tell if veteran GM Ken Holland made all the right moves to help secure a playoff berth six months from now.

The first test of the new season comes from BC as the Vancouver Canucks visit Rogers Place for Game 1. Are the Oilers ready for action?

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

When you build an American League team you need veteran players to be the role models and mentors helping the kids develop...I talked to Sam and mentioned Dan Cleary going to Grand Rapids for Detroit, and how much he enjoyed the experience and it led to a player development person for the Red Wings.


That’s Oilers GM Ken Holland Sam Gagner’s demotion to the AHL.

That’s got to be a gut-shot for Gagner. Gagner rejoined the Oilers last season in a deal that saw Ryan Spooner go to the Canucks. Gagner played in 25 games on his second tour of duty, scoring 10 points (5-5-10). Gagner could be one of the first to be called up in the event of an injury.

The Canucks are saying

I heard about it and something about me...I don’t care about it. I’ve been told I’m too small since I started playing hockey.


That’s Canucks forward Elias Pettersson on avoiding the sophomore slump.

Pettersson was the NHL’s rookie of the year in 2018-19, scoring 66 points (28-38-66) in 71 games. Can he avoid a bump in his second year of play?



  • Oilers are taking some heat for the way that their wings look, and there’s some validity to that heat. Tomas Jurco had himself a fine preseason and looked to be atop the line with McDavid and Neal, but he’s undergoing a procedure today that will keep him out of the lineup. Enter Joakim Nygard, who you probably didn’t have on the top line even after he was signed. You probably didn’t have Jurco there either, but the Oilers are hoping to catch some lightning in a bottle with either one. The Oilers could have rolled the dice on a waiver pickup yesterday like Daniel Sprong or Joshua Ho-Sang, but opted to stand pat (as did most other teams).
  • Here’s hoping that McDavid/Neal turns out to be a wonderful tandem for about 70 games this season. It cannot possibly be any worse than Lucic on the top line. Or Lucic on teh second line. Or Lucic strung with Puljujarvi on the third line. Sheesh.
  • The Oilers are rolling with Leon Draisaitl alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the second line tonight with Zack Kassian. This combination is subject to change if McDavid and Neal struggle for any length of time.
  • I’m not expecting too many points from lines three and four tonight.
  • ONES TO WATCH: Oscar Klefbom is teamed up with Ethan Bear tonight. Bear got a taster in the NHL last year with 18 games played, there’s a very good chance he eclipses that number this season.
  • NET DIVIDENDS: Expect Mike Smith to get the go tonight for the Oilers. Expect Jacob Markstrom to get the start for the Vancouver Canucks in tonight’s season opener. It will be interesting to see how many games Mike Smith starts this year, especially if he blows the doors off and goes on a little run.
  • SICK BAY: The Oilers are without Tomas Jurco (undisclosed), Joel Persson (shoulder), Riley Sheahan (concussion) and Logan Day (undisclosed). The Canucks will be without Antoine Roussell (torn ACL) and Brock Boeser (concussion). Oscar Fantenberg (concussion) and Tyler Motte (upper body) are day-to-day

Let’s go Oilers.