Decision on Defence coming soon

For the second consecutive day the Oilers had nine defencemen on the ice for practice. Justin Schultz is very close to playing. He told me doesn’t expect to be cleared by the doctor to play tomorrow, although he feels he could, but a more realistic return date will be either Friday vs. the Devils or more likely on the upcoming five-game road trip.

When Schultz is activated the Oilers will need to send a D-man to Bakersfield.

Who will it be?

Andrew Ference has a full no-movement clause and he can’t be sent to the AHL.

Andrej Sekera and Schultz won’t be going down.

Mark Fayne, Eric Gryba and Brandon Davidson would need to clear waivers to go down. The Oilers would lose Davidson, so that won’t happen. 

Fayne and Gryba have vastly different styles and skillsets. Both have struggled, but the Oilers like Gryba’s size and ability to break up a cycle, not to mention his low $1.3 million cap hit, so they won’t be exposing him.

Despite his early-season struggles, the Oilers believe Fayne can be a steady defender, and losing him for nothing would not be great asset management at this point.

That leaves Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom and Griffin Reinhart. None of them require waivers.

Klefbom is going nowhere. He is a legit NHL D-man, and he was excellent in Los Angeles.

Nurse has been paired almost exclusively with Sekera since being recalled, and he’s getting better every game.

Reinhart has not played worse than the other third pairing defenders, but he can go directly to Bakersfield without being exposed to waivers. The Oilers aren’t in a position to just give away D-men. One or two injuries and they’d be searching for D-men, so when Schultz is finally activated I see Reinhart going to the AHL.

I doubt it will be a long-term stay, however.

Bakersfield plays Friday and Sunday in Winnipeg vs. the Moose and then they play Tuesday, Friday and Saturday next week. Reinhart, depending on what day he is sent down, could play five games in nine days and stay sharp.

GM Peter Chiarelli has been working the phones trying to make a move on the backend, but so far he hasn’t found a deal he likes. I don’t see the need for Chiarelli to make a desperate trade, and while other D-men are likely just as deserving as Reinhart of being reassigned, sending him down makes the most sense, at least for now.

QUICK HITS…

QuickHits

  • The Oilers should have two lines who can score for the first time since Connor McDavid broke his clavicle.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Matt Hendricks were all on the ice today and all three will play tomorrow. RNH and Eberle were reunited with Benoit Pouliot and the Oilers need this trio to produce. 
  • Today’s lines at practice:

Hall-Draisaitl-Purcell

Pouliot-RNH-Eberle

Hendricks-Letestu-Yakupov

Lander/Korpikoski-Miller-Pakarinen

  • Korpikoski will be a game time decision. McLellan wants him back in the lineup, but if Korpikoski is activated the Oilers will need to make a roster move. The easy decision could be to put Luke Gazdic on IR (he missed practice again with an illness), and wait until he is healthy before sending someone to Bakersfield.
  • If Korpikoski is ready to go, Lander could take a seat in the pressbox. McLellan admitted it is a possibility, but he was quick to point out he believes Lander can contribute. He said Lander is pressing and clearly in an offensive slump. McLellan is not ready to give up on him based on the conversation we had today.
  • Hall and Draisaitl have combined for 25 points in the last eight games. They are on fire, and their streak is the main reason the Oilers managed to win three of those games, but in order to start winning at least half of their games the team needs more forwards to contribute.
  • The second line needs to produce. Yakupov has to score, at least on the powerplay. The remaining five in the bottom-six have to get on the scoresheet. Their +/- is plummeting, not because they are terrible defensively, but due to their offence being non-existent. 

 Recently by Jason Gregor:        

  • For Pete's Sake!

    It’s Nov. 18 and we find ourselves last overall in the NHL. No hope for a playoff spot. A familiar position for this perennial draft lottery contender.

    The best candidate to save our defense already looks to be a youngster named Jakob Chychrun.

    No big trades to save our defense. Multiple significant injuries on our team, the lastest incarnation of goalie sieves manning our nets.

    What can a poor beleagured Oiler fan do but dream of draft lotteries in mid-November. It’s become a tradition in Oil Country, kind of like a Christmas with an endless wishlist that just goes on and on and on……

  • NJ

    Jets are dangling Enstrom (5’10’; 180 lbs; 31 years old) for a top 6 forward, so looks like the Jets want to sign Byfuglien.

    If I was the Oilers GM I would trade Eberle and a defenceman/minor league players for Byfuglien.

    Byfuglien has 5 goals and 5 assists and is +5 in 19 games this year and he also leads the Jets in shots with 64. (Hall is the Oilers top shooter with 76).

    Buffy also has 58 hits; top Oiler Gryba has only 36 hits.

    Buffy is only 30 years old, 6’5″ and 260 lbs. Should be good for 3 more years.

    Now Chiarelli has to make his move as the Oilers play game 19 tonite and he said he’d know what to do by game 20.

  • Randaman

    Ok, but did it have to get brought up again for all to see.

    If someone has a real problem with a disparaging comment, they can always e-mail and file a complaint against said offender, no?

  • Jason Gregor

    To Ed Hod and Tyler…

    Stop it. Both of you need to breath. Ed Hod, you claim Tyler is thin-skinned yet when someone chirps you you resort to a classless post about daughters. Tyler, no need to re-hash the point in another post. We don’t need carry over from previous comment sections.

    Both of you need to learn to debate the actual point without resorting to immature personal shots. Final warning for both.

    Comments about hockey. Anything else and you’ll get a stint in the “temporary ban” box.

    Have a good night…

  • chickenStew

    Why is Ed Hod sill allowed to even post here after that “classless” comment?
    When someone starts using race or sexual orientation as insults, it crosses the line into hate speech. That is illegal and the web site that allows it becomes compliant. The courts are very clear on their stance regarding this. Do the Oilers Nation sponsors approve of this content?
    I know the broadcast standards council does not.
    Does your primary employer TSN know you are allowing a hate monger to continue to write at will?
    I’m sorry, but a threat of a “temporary ban” doesn’t cut it. This whole site is at risk without some real action.

  • NJ

    Hi,

    You have no clue what you are talking about, so calm yourself. There was no hate speech, it was a joke-most jokes are offensive to someone. I was not making fun of people with a mental disorders in my comment, I was making fun of Tyler’s sensitivity. Go Pray for Paris, you’re too much of a warrior for this site.

  • chickenStew

    It’s you who has no clue.
    No, you didn’t make fun of mental disorders, you were the one talking about people creating lesbian daughters. As if that is remotely funny or intelligent. According to the law of the land, that IS hate speech. Educate yourself before you speak.

    Even if all you did was make fun of Tyler’s sensitivity, what is that but pure bullying? There is no need for anything like that here.

    I’ll stay on this site all I please, thank you, I don’t take orders from the likes of you.

    And by the way, I don’t pray, I act.

  • chickenStew

    No point in arguing with the almighty Ed Hod. Keyboard tough guy who results to insulting people kids or family. Good thing my daughter doesn’t read this site. As Gregor said, it’s Ed who has the thin skin and has to take personal shots. It’s a typical reaction of someone that has no idea how to respond and takes personal shots at people to make themselves feel inferior. At least I know I can say that I don’t bring people’s family into the conversation. Too bad Ed isn’t man enough to admit his mistake.

    And that is the last I will say on this.