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The Line Blender Has Arrived

The line blender is in full effect at Monday’s practice.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers have gotten the line blender out for practice today.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

Alright, let’s take a look.

  • No Zach Hyman on the ice today. Hyman left Saturday’s game after taking a hit along the boards from Brady Skjei, Ryan Rishaug reports that it could be a week or two before Hyman is back in the lineup, but Dave Tippett says he’s day-to-day, and could go tomorrow. Sure.
  • When the going gets tough, Dave Tippett goes to 97-29. Once again, Zack Kassian is up top as he keeps trying to make Fetch happen. Zack Kassian’s most common linemate since 2019-20 has been Connor McDavid, it looks like Tippett is going back to that well again. The problem with moving Leon Draisaitl together with Connor McDavid is that you’re taking the best player off the second line, too often the Oilers have become a one-line team when this happens.
  • Warren Foegele gets a boost to the second line today’s practice, he’s on a trio with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jesse Puljujärvi. Foegele can use a boost, he’s on pace for about six or seven goals this season. Meanwhile, Jesse Puljujärvi connected with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a beautiful goal in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, hopefully there’s a few more where that came from.
  • Devin Shore - Ryan McLeod - Kailer Yamamoto is a line. I’d rather see Tyler Benson in this trio, but he’s on the fourth line with Derek Ryan and Colton Sceviour / Kyle Turris. I don’t know that this is the combination to help pull the bottom six out of the mud, but here we are.
  • On defence, the Duncan Keith - Cody Ceci pair reunited today. Keith had ben out of the lineup since November 23rd with an upper body injury. Markus Niemeläinen paired with Tyson Barrie, and I’m a little surprised to see Philip Broberg as one of the extras with William Lagesson.
  • Goaltender Mike Smith was a full participant in today’s practice. Smith has missed the last seven weeks with a lower body injury stemming from a game against the Anaheim Ducks in October. I don’t think the Oilers are going to stick him in cold versus Toronto, but you can see that he’s not far away.

The Oilers look to snap a five game losing streak as the Leafs visit tomorrow night.