September 13 2016 04:00PM
The Oilers signed Kris Versteeg to a PTO (Professional Tryout) last Friday. The 30-year-old will come to camp and try to earn a contract and spot on the right wing. He had 15 goals and 38 points last season, split between Carolina and Los Angeles. He's played 550 NHL games and 89 playoff games, winning two Stanley Cups as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Versteeg is an intriguing player. He is very versatile and can play both wings and anywhere in your lineup. I had him on my radio show after he signed and he sounded very excited for the opportunity to play in Edmonton.
We discussed his recent release/void contract from Bern, leadership, being a prankster and the challenge of coming to camp on a PTO.
September 12 2016 02:00PM
I'm not a fan of John Tortorella, but he is the perfect character to re-kindle the Canada/USA rivalry. It is September 12th, and usually we aren't privy to exciting, chippy, highly-skilled hockey involving NHL players, but the World Cup provides an excellent opportunity to get excited about hockey again.
The two Canada-USA games were fun to watch. There was skill, great passes, precision shots and just enough animosity to get the juices flowing. Team North America skating circles around Team Europe reminded us how fast the game is becoming.
I can't wait for the tournament to begin, and then transition directly into the NHL season.
September 08 2016 12:07PM
We are two weeks away from training camps. Medicals will occur on September 22nd, and every NHL team will hit the ice on Friday, September 23rd. Preseason action will begin on the 25th with Columbus and St.Louis playing two split squad games, and the Oilers, along with 18 other teams, get going on Monday the 26th.
Line combinations will be a hot topic, and they already are within Oilersnation. I believe the top line is settled, while the other lines will depend on Mike Richards signing a PTO, and whether Todd McLellan wants to play Leon Draisaitl on the wing or at centre.
September 08 2016 09:30AM
In late August the Oilers signed free agent defenceman Matt Benning. The 22-year-old rearguard grew up in St. Albert and was a diehard Oilers fan. His father, Brian, played 616 NHL regular season and playoff games including a short stint with the Oilers.
The younger Benning was originally drafted 175th overall by the Boston Bruins in 2012, but after leaving Northeastern University this spring, he didn't sign with the Bruins and became a free agent.
He is 6'2 and 202, and most importantly for the Oilers he shoots right.
I spoke with Benning last week about signing with his childhood team, what areas of his game translate well to the NHL and why he choose Edmonton.
September 07 2016 09:15AM
Tom from GeneralFanager.com asked me to submit a list of who I thought Edmonton would protect in the 2017 NHL expansion draft. It was based on today's roster, but I'm fully aware the list could change depending on how players perform as well as potential trades.
The Oilers' list was pretty straight forward for me when you look at who is exempt, players with only two NHL seasons, and those who have to be protected, players with no movement clauses. Today, I see the Oilers protecting Milan Lucic, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Brandon Davidson and Cam Talbot.
However, when I started filling out the other team's list (the page at GeneralFanager is awesome), I was surprised at some of the tough decisions teams will need to make next June.