The Thunder are 2-3-0 through five games, but it isn’t all bad news, as a number of Oilers prospects have played extremely well.
Take Bryan Pitton as an example. Pitton posted a 2–1 record, playing three games in three nights and four in five, and currently has a 2.53 GAA and 0.919 SV %, numbers that put him on the same pace as Devan Dubnyk had in his rookie year (2.56 GAA, .921 SV %). The news hasn’t been so good for Pitton’s goaltending partner—Andrew Perugini has had visa issues and won’t be eligible to play until Oct 31 in Las Vegas.
Rookie pro Bryan Lerg, sent down last week to get some playing time, has been exceptional, with five points in four games. 5’9” right wing Justin Chwedoruk has also impressed, with four points in five games and a +4 rating.
Perhaps the most impressive player so far has been Garet Hunt, signed to a minor league contract after four years with the Vancouver Giants. He’s a 5’8” agitator, and he scored two goals in a pair of games against the Victoria Salmon Kings. Victoria’s assistant coach, Ryan Wade, was less than thrilled with Hunt’s performance:
“We let their small, third-line forwards beat us and take this series [the Thunder won two of three games in the set]. Garet got two goals against us and that may be all the goals he’s going to get this season. Hunt and [Justin] Chwedoruk got it deep and worked hard in our corners while we lacked effort all over the ice.”
Around the NHL
- The New York Islanders’ Rick DiPietro, who had off-season knee surgery, will see a doctor today for an unrevealed injury. The Islanders have recalled Yann Danis (11-19-4, 3.28 GAA, .893 SV % last season in the AHL) to back-up their number two goaltender, Joey MacDonald. DiPietro hasn’t played much, posing an 0-2-0 record, a 3.90 GAA and an .883 SV % in parts of three games. MacDonald hasn’t been much better (2-3-0, 3.43 GAA, .887 SV %) and had middling numbers in the AHL last season (16-19-2, 2.89 GAA, .909 SV %). This is a situation worth watching, because if DiPietro is gone for any length of time, the Islanders might be the perfect team to take on one of Dwayne Roloson or Jeff Deslauriers.
- Ex-Oiler Joni Pitkanen, sent to Carolina this summer in exchange for Erik Cole, is injured again. He tore the meniscus in his knee and will undergo surgery sometime next week; he’s expected to be back in about a month. Through 4 NHL seasons, Pitkanen has missed an average of 15 games per year.
- Joanne Ireland has the lines for tonight’s game against Boston. Robert Nilsson will remain on the top line, while Dustin Penner will play with Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner. Fernando Pisani will centre Ethan Moreau and Erik Cole. Dwayne Roloson will start in goal.