As promised, Todd McLellan and his coaching staff made big cuts to the training camp roster on the weekend. They didn’t even wait until Sunday to announce the moves, letting it be known on Saturday that the roster of 50 had been knocked all the way down to 32.
More after the jump.
Cut were the following:
- Left Wing: Ryan Hamilton, Kale Kessy, Josh Winquist, Braden Christoffer
- Centre: Bogdan Yakimov, Andrew Miller, Jujhar Khaira, Phil McRae
- Right Wing: Tyler Pitlick, Greg Chase, Kyle Platzer, Matt Ford
There are some minor surprises here, but nothing major. All the AHL guys got sent out, as expected, as well as prospects still some distance from NHL duty. Only three players stand out as minor surprises: Yakimov, Miller and Pitlick. All three should have competed for an NHL job in camp. This isn’t terrible news for Yakimov, who has plenty of time, but Pitlick and Miller are both pretty long in the tooth for prospects and this was an important camp for them. Neither showed much Saturday and they’ve been passed by other options.
Hamilton, Miller and Pitlick require waivers. I’d guess all three clear, though it’s always possible some G.M. out there takes a shine to one of the latter two.
The remaining members of the forward depth chart still in Edmonton include the injured Mitch Moroz (who otherwise would certainly have been demoted today, too) and 16 forwards still fighting for jobs:
Pakarinen has been banged up and hasn’t had a chance to show his stuff; it’ll be difficult for him to rebound from that to compete for a job but you never know. Slepyshev has outperformed expectations in his first North American camp, and if there are some injuries might even find himself on the roster when all is said and done. More likely, the other 14 forwards are going to make up the opening night crew, with the possibility of either Gazdic or Klinkhammer getting cut if Edmonton goes with just 13 forwards. Draisaitl is a possibility too, of course, but at this stage it looks to me like he has a job.
Defence & Goaltending
On the back end, the following cuts were made:
- Left Defence: Jordan Oesterle, Joey Laleggia
- Right Defence: Brad Hunt, David Musil
- Goalie: Laurent Brossoit, Eetu Laurikainen
No surprises here. The goalie contest has been between three obvious names since the summer. On defence, all four of the players demoted today were dark horse roster material, and while they have to be disappointed to be heading out this early it’s no more than nayone could have expected.
Injured defencemen Dillon Simpson and Martin Gernat are still technically on the roster, but the reality is that this contest is down to 10 defencemen and three goalies:
In net, the battle between Scrivens and Nilsson is not going well for the incumbent; he’s been fine but the big newcomer has been pretty close to perfect. If this job is going to go to the man with the best camp and the candidates entered on even footing, Nilsson’s the guy with the edge now. That may not be the case, of course, but at the very least Scrivens has to be feeling pressure.
On defence there are seven or eight jobs open. My guess is that the Oilers are leaning toward keeping eight defencemen, and that Nurse and Davidson are on the outside looking in right now. Honestly, though, outside the top four it’s possible to slice and dice the remaining six in any number of ways. Mostly, I suspect there’s just room for one rookie and that Reinhart has the inside track, but injury and/or trade could be a factor yet.