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Oilers Recall Yamamoto & Lagesson

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The roster moves coincide with yesterday’s demotion of Markus Granlund and Brandon Manning

The Edmonton Oilers announced a pair of roster moves on Sunday morning, recalling forward Kailer Yamamoto and defenceman William Lagesson from the Bakersfield Condors. Alongside this it was announced that both Markus Granlund and Brandon Manning cleared waivers and will be suiting up for the Condors in the AHL.

The moves are most definitely a reaction to last Friday’s dismal 5-1 loss against the Calgary Flames, where the team looked as unmotivated as ever. Edmonton’s recent play has rendered nobody safe from media criticism as Connor McDavid has been under fire for his defensive play from various media pundits and sections of the fanbase.

It is expected that Kailer Yamamoto will make his season debut with the club against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night. Yamamoto hasn’t lit up the AHL to date, recording 16pts in 23 games so far, but he has shown an ability to draw penalties and to be an effective penalty killer. Yamamoto will also bring more speed and skill to the lineup, which makes him an ideal candidate to jump into the top 6 right away. It will be interesting to see if Yamamoto can find a way to make his third stint in the NHL a lengthy one.

On the defensive side of things, this marks the second time this season that William Lagesson will find himself on the NHL club. Although he has yet to make his NHL debut it is likely that he will this time around as Dave Tippett searches for a winning combination. It might not be right away, however, as Matthew Benning is expected to return to the lineup in the near future. I would expect that he gets his first NHL look on Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

Lagesson is by no means an offensive defence man but he has had a good deal of success in the defensive zone. He posted an impressive +25 on a good Bakersfield team last year and, even as the team declined, has posted a respectable -1 so far this season. If he draws into the lineup it will definitely be on the third pairing.

The most shocking thing about these moves is the exclusion of Tyler Benson, who has continued to impress at the AHL level this season. Benson is Bakersfield’s leading scorer with 23pts in 28 games and many who watch him think that he is ready for some time in the big leagues. A curious decision by Ken Holland to be sure.

It is, and has been, crunch time for the Edmonton Oilers for a nearly a month and they now find themselves out of a playoff spot as the new year rolls around. The organization can only hope that the injection of Yamamoto and Lagesson does something to spark the team.