— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 12, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.
THE SEASON OPENER PARTY
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:
- 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
The latest from Laing:
- McKenzie: Oilers to re-sign Gryba
- Spector: Oilers to sign Versteeg?
- Oilers assign Reinhart to Condors
- Report: Oilers to trade Yakupov to Chicago?
- Pearson to have hearing for Davidson hit