Oilers announce 23-man roster

With the deadline for NHL teams to submit their cap compliant 23-man rosters at 3:00 PM MST yesterday, the Oilers announced the 23 players set to start the season in Edmonton.

The team

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The lines as regarded in the article below were suggested by 630 CHED’s Bob Stauffer and Jack Michaels

Starting from the top down, there is no surprise in Milan Lucic, Connor McDavid, Jordan Eberle, Benoit Pouliot, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl taking the top six spots in the forward group. A natural centreman, Draisaitl will likely be seeing time on the right wing on a line with Nugent-Hopkins and Pouliot, but could slide into the third line role with an injury to Drake Caggiula.

Caggiula, who starts the year as an injured non-roster player, is most likely to play as the team’s third line centre once he is healthy enough to return to the lineup.

As we work our way down the bottom six, the Oilers opted to keep two rookies together on their third line in North Dakota product Drake Caggiula, as well as 2016 4th overall selection Jesse Puljujarvi. The veteran on that line will likely be winger Patrick Maroon, who lost 25 lbs this off-season.

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The uncertainty of the timeline for Drake Caggiula’s injury could cause this all to change. 

Rounding out the forward group will be Tyler Pitlick, Mark Letestu and Zack Kassian as the fourth line, while Anton Slepyshev and Anton Lander will serve as the extra forwards. Lander, who cleared waivers, was not reassigned to the AHL as some expected and continues to practice with the team. 

Defensively, the Oilers top defensive pairing will be quite Swede, as Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson will play together. Klefbom, who only played 30 game last season due to injury, will be heavily relied on despite only having 100 NHL games under his belt. The pair looks to play big minutes each and every night against the opposition’s best. 

The second pairing will see Andrej Sekera playing alongside newly signed Kris Russell. Russell, who signed a one-year, $3.1 million deal last week will be a welcome addition to the roster which has sorely lacked defencemen for some time. Given his poor analytical history, the hope is that the team doesn’t use Russell more than he is capable of handling.

The third defensive pairing will be anchored by Darnell Nurse and Brandon Davidson, who played only 45 minutes as a pairing last season. In that time, they posted strong WOWY numbers and drove possession as a pair. 

NCAA free agent signing Matthew Benning will start the year alongside Mark Fayne in the press box as the team’s extra defencemen. 

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In the crease, the Oilers will run with Cam Talbot as their starter and Jonas Gustavsson as their backup. 

Andrew Ference, Matt Hendricks and Iiro Pakarinen start the year on the Injury Reserve. 

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THE SEASON OPENER PARTY

Battle of alberta graphic-01 

After a long summer of arguing and waiting, the NHL season is right around the corner and that means it’s time for us to throw another party. We wanted a second take on last year’s season and decided that we would celebrate the start of the second year of Connor’s reign over Oil Country. Thanks to our friends at AMA Travel, Cornerstone Insurance, the Pint, Oodle Noodle, and United Cycle we’ve got a big night planned for you complete with raffles, swag bags, and two trips (valued at $5000 each) for two to the outdoor game in Winnipeg courtesy of AMA Travel.

Here’s what you need to know:

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  • Where: The Pint Downtown
  • When: Friday, October 14th at 5pm
  • Why: Because we’ve got a hankerin’ for some partyin’ 
  • How: Tickets are available here

See you on Friday!

The latest from Laing:


  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    I’m pissed off that posters think that the signing of Versteeg is the end of the world.
    Realistically he is no more than a bottom 6 forward. He does offer experience but he wanted to play higher in the lineup and if the Oilers want Draisaitl on the wing then he is not playing top six minutes.
    It feels like the perception is that Chiarelli screwed up but it seems more like Versteeg just wanted a chance to play in the top six, and cowtown is just not that deep on the wing.
    Looks like to me Versteeg wanted an easier route to the top six and he got that buy signing with a weaker group of forwards

    I hope he gets ” wallpapered ” by someone tonight!!

    • FireScorpion

      The perception is that Chiarelli screwed up…because he did screw up. They never saw it coming and thought their piddly 2 way contract would cut it. “What a slap in the face…See Ya Pete, I’ll take it down the road”

      • Oilerchild77

        He offered a two-way deal to Versteeg because that’s all he’s worth. But in Calgary, guys like that get no-trade clauses.

        If he’s in your top 6, your team isn’t good enough.

        • FireScorpion

          Ah Chiarelli is always bang on with value is he? Cool.. the value of 3.1 mill for Kris Russell? Or the value he got back for Yakupov? Or the value he got for Taylor Hall?
          Hmm he sure does always get his bang for his buck. Good Call but I’ll probably side with Treliving on this one.
          Oh you must mean the albatross contract that was presented for Lucic to sign, the one backloaded to the point it is buyout proof? Yeahhh probably should have just given Versteeg a 1 way after all those shenanigans

          • Oilerchild77

            Sorry to have to break this to you, but for a top 4 RHD in today’s game, a Taylor Hall is what they cost. And as for Russell, he was looking for a lot more than 3.1M, and a lot more than 1 year, so I’m ok with it.

            BTW, I’m happy Gaudreau signed. That will make the rivalry more fun.

          • OmJo

            The Stars got Demers and a third round pick for a fourth liner.

            The fLames got Hamilton for a first and two second round picks.

            The Leafs got Liles for a second round pick.

            The Leafs also got Franson and Lombardi for a guy who never played a game in the NHL, a third pairing defenceman, and… oh this is good… the Zach Pachiro.

            The Oilers got Adam Larsson for Taylor Hall.

            One of these trades is not like the other ones.

          • Oilerchild77

            Ok. I’ll admit that the Hamilton deal was pretty good. But Chiarelli made pretty much the same offer and got stiffed by his former employer. As for the others, Who cares!? Larsson is better than those players, so…yeah I’m still ok with it.

    • Canoe Ride 27.1

      Versteeg has played for 3 AHL teams, the Blawkhawks, Leafs, Flyers, Panthers, Canes, Kings, almost KHL, Oilers and now Flames. Is it just me or does that raise some red flags? Plus the guy is a weird dude. I want depth as much as the next guy, but this may be for the best.

    • The Ghost of Alex Plante

      People are pissed off because it forces Puljujarvi into the lineup when he is clearly not ready. We’ve seen this movie before, and it doesn’t end well.

      You’re right, Versteeg is a bottom 6 forward, but it just so happens that Edmonton needs a bottom 6 right winger right now. Maybe if you didn’t spend so much time attempting to troll on Flamesnation you’d know that.

      • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

        Maybe you shouldn’t spend any more time worried about what the hell im doing. As far as I’m concerned Pitlick and Shlepyshev both outplayed Versteeg!

        Puljujarvi can get a few games in , play some sheltered minutes at home,and the coaches can assess what he needs to work on and then send him to the AHL.

        • Phixieus666

          Pitlick has had serious injury problems and Slepy showed well at camp last season to and then dwindled off big time. So if Pitlick gets injured and Slepy follows the same path as last year where does that leave the RW?

          • @Hallsy4

            RW would be Eberle, Drai, JP, and Kassian no? Looks ok to me. I’m not too concerned about JP. He won’t be asked to do the heavy lifting like Oilers top pick in the past were. They finally have the team where they can shelter a rookie like most good teams do. In the old days Hall, Nuge, Yak, were all playing first line and expected to carry the team with very little supporting cast. Now JP is in the supporting cast. If he gets 10 goals this year it will be considered a solid season. If Hall would have his first year he would have been a bust. Different times. Also, JP dominated World Juniors, and played pro for the past 2 years… He’ll be fine, and the Oil will be fine.

    • Muddy

      Agreed man – seriously if anything Oiler fans should be pissed that we gave this guy a free try out to display his skills for someone else. Where is the loyalty to one of the only teams that gave you a shot to come back to the NHL? The Oilers got used on this one – looks like he wanted to play closer to home. His agent is a greaseball.

  • Looch#27

    Woohoo go Oil!!!!! Here’s to hoping this is the year the battle of Alberta returns!!! Let’s hope the Oil remember that last game vs the lames and come out snarly and hungr. Kris versteg well need to be scraped of the end boards, Conner makes Hamilton look like a pylon and Oil win 3-2 to start the year 🙂

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    Too many Calgary d!ck riders here posing as Oiler fans. If you want to cheer for Calgary come out and say so .
    This team was so screwed up one season ago and you whiners are worried about Versteeg not in the lineup !! 12 teams in 12 years including AHL and Edmonton and Calgary.
    I seriously hope he gets hammered in a big way tonight.

  • Jordan88

    My thoughts on Kris Versteeg.

    Hope he likes getting hammered by Loosik.

    Ungrateful player gets offered a branch for a PTO, signs with the rival. Almost as bad as Heatly saying no way.

    However People are wrong if they think we need a bottom 6 winger, we need a top 6 winger.

    Trading Hall to sign Lucic and get Larsson was a gamble… we essentially plugged 2 holes we have had for years but created one in moving Hall.

    The plan to have Draisaitil play on the wing may work, but if you’re hoping for Draisaitil and Lucic to get you the goals that Hall had, you have built yourself a house of cards and all it will take is an injury to derail it.

    Go Oilers but I have very sheltered optimisim.

  • Serious Gord

    Last year 41 players took to the ice for the oil.

    By my count 16 are no longer with on the roster. That is a 39% turnover rate.

    I have no idea whether that is good or bad but it sounds like a lot.

    And of the 23 men on the roster 9 – 39% – have played fewer than 110 games in the NHL. 7 have played less than 72.

    Change is a good thing. Youth is as well. But only if it is in moderation.

  • kormega

    Don’t bother about Versteeg at all, but why Parenteau wasn’t claimed off waivers? Experienced veteran, cheap 1-year contract, RW, 41 pt last season – what’s wrong??

  • oilerjed

    Who knows. The annual tradition around here is to talk about the number of cups we are going to bring home. This year many seem down on the lineup. Seeing as how awful the Oil have previously been finishing in the standings.

    This year we are starting a new tradition. Hate our line up at the start of the season and finish the season with a push for the playoffs.

    For all of you haters out there, remember, there is a reason you are sitting at home and typing furiously on your keyboards about the futility and incompetence of Chia and not actually out there trying to piece an NHL team together.

    Lets Go Oilers 2016/17!

  • Lamar's Javelin

    The spirit of the Oilers Nation, and I’m not sure they see it just yet, is alive & well in this thread. NEGATIVITY. The puck is about to drop and the leadership @ ON has everyone focused on negativity rather than the excitement of a new season. That, Oilers Nation, should concern you to where you’ve led this train. You are in the entertainment business and there needs to be hope, joy, anticipation, excitement at some point. I’m out.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      I guess swallowing KoolAid in orange and blue colours for 10 years has us all a bit jaded. Seeing that there still is at least one more D-man needed and at least one more winger to feel at all confident leaves us all feeling “We have seen this movie before”. We all are excited to see the new digs on opening night and to watch Connor and Crew jell and work magic. I look forward to seeing half of TSN’s top ten goals of the year feature some kid from Edmonton. But if we are all looking at the knowledge of no playoffs after 60 games we will be ready to wear bags on our heads even in Calgary.

  • Should be a fun game tonight. I fully expect Versteeg to score because… of course he will. Probably the game winner. That’s just how it goes.

    I was fine with the Yak trade because it allowed Draisaitl to play in top six. But, if Puljarvi doesn’t get going, then I think Management is going to look really bad. Especially if injuries start hitting again. And especially because they passed on a lot of cheap and low risk waiver wires. Fingers crossed.

  • Valar Morghulis

    I have to laugh at people worried about Lucic 4 years from now and McDavid 8 years from now. Can we maybe just get through this year or at least one game first.

    I guarantee the Flaming Trolls would be bragging up a storm if they signed Lucic. The Ladd and Eriksson deals are the real albatrosses out there and people are already talking about Lucic like the wheels fell off.

    And for the Flaming Geeks, you should be more worried about why Jonny Gonny wanted more money than your #1 centre.

    • JBulls

      Because he’s a top ten scorer in the league and a better player than Monahan maybe?

      You cant be that dumb you couldn’t figure this out on your own, can you?

  • Derian Hatcher

    Amid all the moaning and back and forth btwn flames fans and Oiler fans, isn’t it exciting to finally be so excited about the BOA again???

    And IMO Kris Versteeg of all players is not worth all of the time and energy on the blogosheres….Whether he stayed with the Oil or is now with the flames…he is not a game changer at all long term. Now, Connor vs. Johnny?? YES! Bring it on boys.

    Enjoy the games tonight and Friday…FINALLY the start of the hockey season…Woohooo!!

  • Soccer Steve

    Well, I am excited for the new season. Lots to look forward to in McDavid and the arena.

    But…one injury (and it will happen) to either of Klefbom, Larsson, McDavid, or Nuge and we are in the deep end immediately.

    Assuming they can stick, it’s only a matter of time before Drai, Nurse, Jese and/or Caggiula burn out from the rigors of the NHL – hopefully less so for the former two now.

    We hit the 70 point mark last year. I would call this year a great, great success if we can get 85. Reaching playoffs are in the 5 percentile, in my opinion.

    A little gloomy, I’ll admit, but I’m still cheering until my voice gives out. Go Oil!

  • Cowbell_Feva

    Trust Treveling? Really?

    He signed Granpa Gio to a contract worth 6.75 per until he is 37 years old. He was good int he past, but will be hampering them for years to come with that contract into 2021.

    And for all the people worried about Puljujarvi being exposed. The Lames have a kid on their 3rd line that can’t skate at the junior level in Tchuck, so rest easy.

    • JBulls

      Have you looked at Lucic’s contract? Enjoy the back end of that unmovable disaster.

      Gio could’ve asked for 8+. Not to mention you mouth breathers would kill to have just one D man at Gio’s level.

      also, “Teveling” and “Tchuck”. Do they not teach spelling in Edmonton public school systems? Or did you mistake the bottle of lysol in your kitchen for drinking water?

  • bazmagoo

    Good opportunity for Slepyshev tonight, let’s hope he takes advantage. Happy to see Draisaitl at center, I don’t think they should move him to RW as Cagguila isn’t experienced at all to man the 3rd center spot.

  • Ron Burgundy

    Where is Gryba? Didn’t we just sign him?

    I’d like to see Nurse and Pulj both in California, but overall this is a much better team than it was a year ago. Looking forward to a big win tonight!