The Oilers resume their preseason schedule tonight when they play host to the Vancouver Canucks in a rematch of Tuesday night’s game on the west coast. Look for both sides to field middling lineups filled with guys who are on the bubble with a spritzing of bonafide NHL talent as a garnish. The Oilers assigned 6 players to Bakersfield yesterday, but the camp roster still stands at 47 human beings, so there is information still to be gathered and cuts still to be made.
Ken Holland spoke to the media and was cautiously optimistic about Connor McDavid’s chances of suiting up for opening night. Personally, it doesn’t matter to me whether he plays even a single shift in the preseason, I’d keep him in the humidor until it’s time for him to smoke. That said, the Oilers are half the team without him, so any real games he misses will absolutely threaten their already slim playoff hopes. Here’s hoping The Captain is good to go come October.
Given the Winnipeg Jets’ current predicament with two big-ticket RFAs still unsigned and Dustin Byfuglien’s potential retirement, might they make sense as a potential trade partner? While a guy like Patrik Laine is both a generational goal-scorer AND an huge liability at 5-on-5 (or at least was last year), there is no denying how important goals are and how desperate the Oilers are for more of them. Given Laine’s comments about his quality of linemates recently, one might think he’d drool at an opportunity to flank McDavid. One can’t be blamed if they then convince themselves that that alone is enough to get a deal done and that Laine’s arrival in Edmonton would then signal Jesse Puljujarvi’s reintroduction to the group. One still can’t be blamed if they then believe those two will score 400 goals this season. As Oilers. Anyway. It’s worth noting that Laine’s contract demands are obviously obnoxious given how negotiations have been playing out in Winnipeg, but there is a unique skill set there. At the right price both at acquisition and for his next contract, it would be hard to hate that deal.
But the player I’m more interested in is Nikolaj Ehlers. Already signed to a contract that sees him make $6MM annually for the next six seasons, Ehlers would slot into a similar spot, and has been in Laine’s company the past few seasons. Over the last three, Laine’s 2.48 WAR/82 (H/T Corsica) only slightly outpaced Ehlers’ 1.74.
For context, Connor McDavid’s 2016-19 WAR/82 was 5.23!
That’ll do it for now. Get caught up and we’ll see you later today for the Game Thread.
Oilers Assign Six Players to Bakersfield (Copper and Blue)
Discussing pre-season action on CBC Radio Active (Copper and Blue)
Anton Burdasov Joins Oilers On PTO (Copper and Blue)
Hot Links: Wednesday, September 18 (Copper and Blue)
Still Plenty To Be Determined In Pre-Season For Edmonton Oilers (The Sun)
Who Will Make The 23-Man Roster? (Oilersnation)
Connor McDavid Could Get Into Pre-Season Game For Edmonton Oilers (The Sun)
Oilers GM ‘Optimistic’ McDavid Will Be Ready For Opening Night (The Score)
Oilers GM Holland ‘Pretty Optimistic’ McDavid Will Play In Opener (Sportsnet)
Anton Burdasov Faces Uphill Battle To Make Impact With Oilers (Sportsnet)
The Oilers And Jets Could Make Good Trade Partners (Oilersnation)
Report: Winger Anton Burdasov Earns Professional Tryout With Oilers (Sportsnet)
And The Answer, Of Course, Is Patrick Russell (Lowetide)
Q&A: Brandon Manning on how his contract is hurting him, proving his worth at camp and being a mentor (The Athletic)