Eberle out 4-6 weeks; Oilers demote Nurse and others

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One way or another, the list of healthy bodies in training camp is getting trimmed. Wednesday morning was a busy day on the news front for the Edmonton Oilers, as we learned both that star winger Jordan Eberle will be out of action for a significant period of time and that the team had made another round of training camp cuts.

Eberle

As Jason Gregor reported last night, the news on Eberle wasn’t good. On the other hand, it’s not as bad as it could have been. Assuming an absence of five weeks, Eberle will be available to the team by the start of November.

That timeline could mean that Edmonton simply treats the next month as a chance to try out its internal options. Top draft picks Leon Draisaitl and Nail Yakupov both might get extended auditions next to one of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Connor McDavid. Teddy Purcell, if healthy, is likely to get another crack at top-six work; alternately a player like Lauri Korpikoski could be promoted to fill the void temporarily. Anton Slepyshev is still in training camp, having survived the latest round of cuts; the door to him starting the season with the team just opened a little wider. 

None of these players are Eberle, of course, but that’s not the point. Edmonton does have some internal options who deserve consideration, players who might make hay with a month on a scoring line. 

There are also external options. A number of unsigned veterans are in the picture, many of them on pro tryouts; Edmonton could certainly try and add one of them. A better choice might be Magnus Paajarvi, who was placed on waivers this morning; he’s a cheap bet, has history with both Yakupov and Anton Lander, and still has untapped potential. 

Demotions

Three of these moves are largely irrelevant from an NHL perspective; the other is decidedly not.

Moroz, Gernat and Pakarinen are all injured and were only technically still on the roster. Under other circumstances Pakarinen might be making his case for NHL employment still, but his waiver exemption was always going to work against him and getting hurt sealed the deal. He’ll have to work his way up from the minors later in the year.

The decision to send Nurse down can’t have been easy, but it’s a sensible one. Edmonton is loaded with third-pairing defencemen at the moment, and the “promising rookie” slot seemed destined to be filled by Griffin Reinhart, the former fourth overall pick who has a full year of pro experience under his belt and who has also enjoyed an impressive camp. 

We’re down to final cut territory. Edmonton is already down to 14 healthy forwards, though circumstances at other positions may force them to cut down to 13. Injured prospect Dillon Simpson is one of the 10 defencemen on the roster, so effectively the Oilers only have nine. Add in three goalies and the club has just 26 players left in camp competing for 23 available jobs. The final decisions likely come down to this:

  • Anders Nilsson or Ben scrivens for one goalie job
  • Combination of Nikita Nikitin, Griffin Reinhart and Brandon Davidson for two defencemen jobs
  • Combination of Leon Draisaitl,  Rob Klinkhammer, Luke Gazdic and Anton Slepyshev for three forward jobs (all can make the team if Teddy Purcell is still hurt)

Right now, I’d argue that Scrivens, Davidson and Slepyshev are on the outside looking in, but there’s still time left in the preseason and as we’ve seen injuries can strike suddenly and change things we thought were settled.  

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RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • bradleypi

    Havnt been able to catch any of the games yet. Haven’t heard much about Sekera… How’s he looking? Does he look like he might be better than Petry? Or does he just cancel out the Petry loss?

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    The nice things is that we actually have decent depth. A top 6 of

    poo-Nuge-Draisaitl

    Hall-McDavid-Yakupov

    is pretty good. There was a time where Paajarvi was our 2nd line winger during the lockout shortened year.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Spider Mabel we may need you once again.I heard you gave the Oilers special spiderman powers. In Peter and Todd we trust. The phones could be heating up.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    As bad as losing Eberle for the first month or so or regular season looks it might not be all that bad if we just slot in Leon or even Slepy – who has shown well. If I were drawing up the lines they would look something like this:

    Pouliot – Nuge – Draisaitl

    Hall – McDavid – Purcell

    Slepyshev – Lander – Yak

    Hendo – Letestu – Klink/Korp

    1st line, mix of experience, puck smarts and passing
    2nd line, mix of experience, speed, skill
    3rd line, mix of Russians, skill
    4th line, works hard..

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    “That timeline could mean that Edmonton simply treats the next month as a chance to try out its internal options. Top draft picks Leon Draisaitl and Nail Yakupov both might get extended auditions next to one of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Connor McDavid”

    I’m all for seeing how sleppy and drai respond if put in his position. Yak is still not defensively responsible enough yet. I just hope this October/ November doesn’t repeat last years brutal start. For once though seems like the oil have guys this can fill in and not hurt the team. They will lose some offence but like stauffer said, could be worse.

  • RedMan

    Is it not incumbent on the league to protect McDavid, and, if there is ever another like him, than them also? Every article on every site is about McDavid, the league needs to make sure he isn’t targeted. Just not sure how

  • smith

    Thank goodness the Oilers have more wing depth this year than in years past. My worry was this would happen to a center, or defense where depth is lacking.

    Losing a wing for a month while obviously not good this team should be able to move past.