The Edmonton Oilers (the Rexall version) scored early and often but didn’t play a full 60 minutes. The result? A shootout loss at the hands of the Calgary Flames. The split squads in each city ended up playing spoiler for the home fans, but the most important item–finding the 23 men for the final roster–came a little closer to focus in the two games. Here’s my take on the Edmonton performers.


  1. Taylor Hall (20:29) 1goal, 2 shots, 6pims,  and an impressive 65% in the dot. Hall scored a very early goal and had some nice chances throughout the game. I counted three outstanding defensive moves during the game, but he also took some frustration penalties. I think he’s just about the best thing to hit Edmonton since oil.
  2. Nail Yakupov (19:55) 1assist, 4 shots, -1, I thought he was all over the ice and would have benefited from playing with stronger linemates. A terrirfic young player.
  3. Ryan Smyth (19:26) 1goal, 3 shots, +1, he skated miles tonight and I thought he was most effective on special teams. I don’t know how many games the Oilers can count on him for this season, but he is going to help when he’s got the feet moving.
  4. Anton Lander (16:51) 2 shots, 39% in the dot. I thought he played well–caused a penalty with a quick move at the Oil blueline–and he played a lot of even strength time tonight. I like him, but not a lot actually happens with Lander on the ice. That could be a good thing, but the offense is always going to be a worry.
  5. Jesse Joensuu (16:22) 1goal, 1assist, 5 shots +1, I think he might have been the best player on the ice tonight. The goal was a power move, and sure it was a little lucky but if he can do that 15 times a season he can lucky himself to millions of dollars.
  6. Mark Arcobello (15:36) 1goal, 2 shots, -1, he was 47% in the dot and I thought he played a solid game. He’s not going to create a lot of offense on his own, but the idea of Arcobello filling in for a couple of weeks for injury isn’t the worst one we’ve seen based on this performance.
  7. Linus Omark (15:36) 3 shots, -2, and he skated miles tonight but there was a lot of chaos in his game. When the Oilers were running around like their heads were cut off, he was one of the chickens. Omark will need to settle that down if he’s going to stay.
  8. Mike Brown (14:37) 1assist, +1, he was on the PK for 3 minutes and that was a shock and surprise. He was around the net on the Platzer goal, I’m not sure how manu nights he’s going to play 14+ minutes.
  9. Kyle Platzer (13:01) 1goal, 1 shot -1, he was very good to my eye. Platzer’s a funny prospect, there’s really no reason to think he’ll ever be an NHL player and I can’t tell you two things about him (one thing: he’s near the net at important times) but he keeps posting crooked numbers. A player to watch this year in the OHL.
  10. Marco Roy (12:34) 2 shots, for me he showed very well and I’m looking forward to seeing him post some cool boxcars in the Q. There’s no doubt there’s a skill player here, it’s only a matter of how he progresses.
  11. Ryan Martindale (10:48) 2 shots, +1 and 40% in the dot. I didn’t notice him a lot, he had once decent chance in the third period. The problem for Martindale is he’s not really near the action when it happens.
  12. Ales Hemsky (5:58) 1assist, +1, he was apparently ill and didn’t play beyond period one. Hard to say much about him, he didn’t really get a chance to shine.


  1. Justin Schultz (27:06) 1assist, 1 shot. He’s so good as a puck mover, and has some chaos to his game, but I thought he did some nice defensive things tonight. He’s certainly going to be playing big minutes this season–4:46 on the PP and over 3 on the PK–and his success will go a long way to telling us how well the Oilers do this year.
  2. Andrew Ference (23:35) 2 shots, +2. I recognized him immediately, because I remember seeing his type before–an actal NHL defenseman! A nice night for the veteran, calm feet and good puck movement.
  3. Darnell Nurse (21:57) 1 assist, +2. I was impressed by his solid play, he certainly had some help but also held his own. The structure and flow of the NHL game didn’t seem to phase him at all, he seemed more comfortable here than in the rookie camp. Having a veteran always helps, though, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves.
  4. Denis Grebeshkov (20:42) 1 assist, 1 shot -2. He was high event, made some nice decisions in the offensive zone but the wheels came off in the third period and he was exposed late on the PK. Played in all three disciplines, I don’t think he can make the big club based on this kind of performance (but it’s early).
  5. Brandon Davidson (19:42) 1assist, 1 shot. I liked his game. I was especially impressed with his even strength play–using the kiss method–and even though he doesn’t have draft pedigree this guy is a legit prospect.
  6. David Musil (16:58) 1 assist -2. He and Grebeshkov were predictably chaotic, and Musil’s weakness (speed) was on display against the Flames. I don’t know if he’s ever going to make it in the NHL–I think the scouts are probably divided–but tonight’s effort tells us he’ll need a prolonged period in the AHL.


  1. Devan Dubnyk .923: He was solid, exactly what you want from your starter. If the Oilers had played him the entire game they would have won.
  2. Olivier Roy .818: He was not sharp.


My take? I think Joensuu did much to help his cause, and Grebeshkov probably hurt his chances (and please understand it’s early). That kid Brandon Davidson keeps showing up on the good side of the ledger, too.

Based on Calgary reports, I’d suggest Martin Marincin had a very good game. It’s a long way to go, but we’re underway.