Newly acquired Matt Fraser and Derek Roy will make their Oilers debut tonight against the defending Stanley Cup champion, Los Angeles Kings.
Buckle up boys, it might be a bumpy ride compared to your time in Nashville and Boston.
Fraser was claimed on waivers, while Roy was acquired from the Predators for Mark Arcobello. Roy has 47 points in his last 101 games in Nashville and St.Louis. His offensive production dipped considerably since his time in Buffalo, and we will see if that is due to age or because he was lower on the depth chart on good teams in Nashville and St.Louis.
Fraser is a shooter. In 179 AHL games he tallied 90 goals. With the Bruins he was buried in their bottom six, because he isn’t as good as the likes of Iginla, Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand, Lucic etc. He has a great shot, but his footspeed is a concern.
“I’m not the fastest guy on the ice, but you can make up for your deficiencies by working hard, especially in the tough areas on the ice,” Fraser told me. He was extremely happy in the dressing room this morning. He wants an opportunity to play and he will get some PP time in Edmonton, something he rarely received in Boston.
Nelson wanted the Hall/RNH/Eberle reunited in Calgary and he is hoping they will start producing tonight. Roy will play with Yakupov, which is wise, because Yakupov and Draisaitl are not experienced enough at this point to produce together.
Roy said this about Yakupov.
“I want him to go in the corners. He is going to have to go in the corners. I will let him know that if you want to play with me you need to go in the corners, I will go there, he will go there, Teddy has to go in the corners. He has tremendous speed, he is unbelievably explosive, has a great shot and has all the skill to be a player. It just a matter of wanting it. I think everyone here wants it, but is just a matter of finding success and believing in ourselves.”
Having a veteran centre should help Yakupov immensely. The best way to learn from players is by playing with them, not just watching them. Roy should be able to give Yakupov much more feedback about how to attack, because he has been in the league for 11 years.
In theory Fraser should be the shooter on the line with Draisaitl and Perron. Perron is better in front of the net and along the boards, while Draisaitl is a pure passer.
Pitlick playing with Hendricks and Gordon should ignite him to be more consistent with his effort. If he uses his speed properly and is physical this line should produce some chances, but Pitlick has yet to prove he can be a finisher at this level.
Nikitin is better than Brad Hunt, so that should help Schultz, but Nikitin needs to play much better than he was before he was injured.
Scrivens needs to keep the Oilers in the game. Edmonton has allowed two goals in the first ten minutes of the their three previous games, and they allowed three in the first ten vs. Calgary. The Oilers aren’t mentally tough enough right now to rebound from an early deficit.
You can see the Kings lineup courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com.
- It is sounding more and more like the Kelowna Rockets and Prince Albert Raiders will agree to a trade involving Leon Draisaitl’s rights. If that happens you can expect the Oilers to send him to Kelowna. Draisaitl can play three more games with the Oilers, but if he plays four then they burn a year of NHL eligibility. If the Oilers send him down before Sunday then he still has seven more seasons before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. It makes sense not to keep him here past Friday’s game.
- Unlike Darnell Nurse and Greg Chase, who have NHL contracts, but are playing in junior, Draisaitl’s contract would still count as one of the 50 contracts allowed. The reason being he has played more than 11 NHL games this season. The Oilers currently sit with 47 contracts, including Jesse Joensuu, so they have some room to make trades and possibly sign some UFA NCAA players before July 1st.
- The Oilers waived Steve Pinizzotto yesterday, but they didn’t assign him to OKC. This was likely done so the moment Benoit Pouliot is available they can send Pinizzotto down immediately without having to wait 24 hours. Now that Pinizzotto cleared waivers he doesn’t have to clear again until 10 games has passed or 30 days.
- Yesterday Salim Valji reported that the Oilers had revoked Mark Spector’s press pass. That is incorrect, but Mark Spector was not on the December 23rd broadcast. It is an urban legend that NHL teams can magically ban media from the building if they don’t like what they write. The PHWA protects against this, and the only time a writer was banned was when Chris Botta was banned from the Islanders room. The league and PHWA agreed it was a different situation because Botte has been a PR person for the Islanders for years, and they felt he was causing issues within the room due to his previous relationships.
There is no case of a certified registered media member being banned from an NHL dressing room. It is a myth that many commenters believe actually happens.
Here is what happened to Mark Spector. The Oilers own some of the proprietorial rights within their broadcasts on Sportsnet, and that means they have some say over what is said during the actual game. Not in the pregame or postgame, but only during the actual game itself. Owner Daryl Katz and others in the organization didn’t like something Spector said recently on a broadcast so he was not on the December 23rd broadcast. His press pass was not revoked, because the Oilers don’t have that power, but since they own part of broadcast they have say in who works those games.
Personally, I don’t think it makes the Oilers look very good, especially considering the team has lost 20 of their last 21 games. I don’t recall Spector saying anything disparaging. But for accuracy sake, Spector was able to be in the building, and still is able to cover practices and games for Sportsnet, but he wasn’t on the broadcast. That is a massive difference from having a press pass revoked. I frequently read in comment sections that people actually believe a team can take away your press pass if they disagree with what you say or write. That is not the case. It has never happened in a Canadian market and Botta was a rare situation where people felt his previous job led to some strained relations.
You will see Spector back on the broadcast tonight. I doubt you will see much of a difference in how he comments on the game. I hope that clears things up.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
What is the Royal Half saying about tonight’s game? We’re not sure, they don’t have anything loaded yet. When they do say something, you can be sure that we’ll include it. Until then, you can feel free to send your hatred their way on Twitter at @theroyalhalf.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers are 1-14-2 vs. the Pacific division this year. The Kings are 6-2-3. Kings win 4-2.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: When the Oilers make a soft play on a Kings forward in the defensive zone I, like many of you, won’t be phased by it. Seen it happen too many times.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Usually former Oilers score against the Oilers, but tonight a new Oiler scores. Matt Fraser rips one home from the slot.
Recently by Jason Gregor:
Thank you, thank you.
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