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Photo Credit: © Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Malone placed on waivers, Simpson and Rattie clear

According to their official Twitter account, the Oilers have placed forward Brad Malone on waivers with the purpose of assigning him to Bakersfield of the AHL. A few days ago, the Oilers also placed Dillon Simpson and Ty Rattie on waivers for assignment, and both cleared successfully.

Malone had a strong showing in camp, but it was always going to be an uphill battle for him to crack this roster. The highlight of Malone’s camp was a two-goal performance against the Winnipeg Jets last week in which he looked like a fully capable NHL depth player.

But like I said, barring some kind of injury catastrophe, Malone wasn’t going to make this roster. The Oilers have a lot more depth than we’ve seen in previous years, and that’s evident in the fact they have players like Malone (assuming he clears) and Rattie waiting in the AHL for an opportunity to fill in a depth role. Unless the Oilers manage to navigate through the season injury-free, I’m sure we’ll see Malone play some games with the team this year. He definitely earned one of the top injury call-up from the AHL spots with his showing in camp.

At this point, the major battles left in camp are between Yohann Auvitu and Mark Fayne for the final spot on the blueline, and Kailer Yamamoto and likely Jesse Puljujarvi for a right wing spot in the top nine. That said, with Anton Slepyshev likely unable to go for the start of the season, Puljujarvi and Yamamoto could theoretically both crack the roster, though it seems odd to have one of them watching from the press box. Chris Kelly, who’s with the team on a PTO, also remains an option.

I would be shocked if Fayne made the team over Auvitu, as the latter has looked very good in camp. Auvitu skates and moves the puck well, which makes him a candidate to actually fill in Andrej’s Sekera’s role for the first few months of the season. Yamamoto has looked like an NHL player and gives the Oilers that skill they need in their top six, making him very hard to cut. I have a gut feeling Kelly will end up with a contract and that one of Puljujarvi and Yamamoto will be sent down.

The Oilers have one more pre-season game on Saturday in Vancouver. I imagine shortly after that we’ll have the answer to those questions.

Source: Edmonton Oilers, Verified Twitter Account, 09/28/17, 10:05 am MST

  • OriginalPouzar

    Coming in to preseason I though Malone would battle Joe G. for that injury call-up – bottom 6 “all tools” type of player. Malone has shown more refinement in his game which makes sense as Joe is just turning pro.

    Malone will get some games when injuries hit.

    • OriginalPouzar

      Definitely possible. Slepy likely going on IR and opening up a roster spot likely allows management to defer the decision on which of these two players is staying for a bit. Once Slepy is healthy, management will need to decide (a) if one of those two players are re-assigned, (b) if Slepy himself gets some AHL time (he does not need to clear waivers) or (c) if another player is re-assigned (Drake, Khaira, Pakarinan – the last two would be exposed to waivers).

      • madjam

        I see little reason for keeping Pakarinan and Kelly on main club as basically PK specialists , when younger and improving Khaira and Kassian seem like better bets , and offer a lot more to club . Slepy needs to go to AHL for conditioning stint to start the season. If Malone clears waivers it is very likely Pakarinan will as well . That is 3 I see not starting on main club . Is Auvitu that much better than Fayne or others sent down to justify him on club opening night ? I think he might be but not much better . We may see a waiver pick up on defence yet .

        • gregolas

          What is your problem with pak?

          By all accounts he’s proven he can be a productive 4th liner and PKer.

          You keep pushing for Khaira… when the fact is, these players who are about the same age (1 year apart)

          Pakarinen has out performed Khaira at EVERY LEVEL.

          Khaira’s first full year of AHL:
          51 games, 4 goals, 6 assists. 10 points

          Pakarinen’s first full year of AHL
          39 games, 17 goals , 11 assists. 28 points

          They were both the same age to.

          Khaira in the NHL
          25 games total
          1 goal, 2 assists. 3 points

          Pakarinen: injury limited him to 14 games last season
          And in those 14 games he put up a respactlable 4th line production of 2 goals and 2 assists . He put up more points in almost half the total games played by Khaira

          These players are the same age to, why do you continuously fan boy over Khaira and say Pak should be waived ? It’s ridiculous. They both play the same type of game to. Hitting everything that moves, pak brings more energy and more production though. Not to mention his laser of a shot.

          In summary: people who push for Khaira over Pakarinen need to take a look at the facts so far. It’s very likely Khaira would get passed by on waivers

          I seriously think Pak would get claimed based on his pre season so far and play in past seasons at the NHL level. Quality 4th liner and PK

        • gregolas

          Also, to all the people trashing me for saying Pakarinen is a better player than Khaira

          LOOK AT THE STATS.
          Stop fan boying over a player and face reality.

        • gregolas

          Just debating man. All over I see mad jam praising Khaira and trashing on Pakarinen. I want to know why, or for him to admit he is job fan boying over Khaira for some reason.

          MacT made a solid pickup signing Pak after Florida let him walk and he’s proven to be a solid player and I would like to see him get recognition. People won’t let the Khaira dream die though.

          • Joy S. Lee

            I believe Pakarinen was signed straight out of Finland as a free agent. People didn’t give him much of a chance then, either, insisting he would just be another flop. He’s been delivering everything they’ve asked since then, three or four years ago. He’s earned the benefit of the doubt top to bottom, and you are right about his wicked shot, he has that, too.

  • OriginalPouzar

    My concern right now is the Chris Kelly is still here and has not been released from his PTO.

    I’d be remiss to use a contract spot on this player who has proven he has little left to give at even strength and his PK isn’t all that great any more.

    I would rather keep a player like Malone than sign Kelly.

    If Yamamoto stays for more than 9 games, his contract will not slide and we’d be at 49 – Kelly would make 50 in that situation.

    • Chiarelli is just giving Kelly an opportunity to show some bottom feeder that he’s got something to offer a team looking to finish in a lottery position. They have a history, and it’s not costing Edmonton anything.

      • OriginalPouzar

        That was part of the verbal early in camp – he’s the last forward cut to be made and he’s still here. I’m concerned they are contemplating a contract.

    • Can't Fix Stupid

      Regardless of how well Yamamoto does during his 9 games he will (and absolutely must) be returned to junior. It is the result of the salary cap era. The team needs to look 4-6 years down the road now and maximize their prospects prime years. I’d rather see a 1 year contract to Kelly than lose 1 year of ELC (see Draisaitl’s rookie year) on Yamamoto. Imagine what the team COULD look like if Draisaitl was on his ELC this year still…

      • Joy S. Lee

        Fair point, but there are no “absolute musts” any more, unless you’re talking about players like McDavid. Let the kid prove himself, no need to rush to any decisions. The fact that he is, so far, bodes well for him. Let’s see how he does when the real bullets fly.

        Are you afraid he’ll prove you wrong? Because, that would be a good thing, and there’s no reason to get our noses out of joint until we get to that point, really. What if he “absolutely” proves to you and everyone else that he belongs right now? Then what, you’re going to send him down anyhow? Frankly, that doesn’t seem fair to the kid.

  • OriginalPouzar

    I think saying Auvitu has looked “very good in camp” is a bit too simplistic of a statement. He has looked good in transition, jumping up in the play and not bad on the PP. He has also had a lot of wobble in his game defending. He is not great in our own end.

    We did kind of know this about this player when we signed him.

    • Cam Lewis

      That’s fair. I didn’t want to go into too much detail about Auvitu because I felt I was already rambling. But I agree, his defensive zone play has been mediocre. But you can’t expect a No. 7-8 defenceman to be well-rounded.

      • Joy S. Lee

        So, he was signed for his offense, primarily, which sort of fits into the mold this team has going. Makes the Fayne vs Auvitu debate a non-starter, in my opinion, what with Gryba around as the right side third-pairing defensive stalwart. Fayne would sit if it were between he and Gryba, and Auvitu fits into the powerplay scheme better. Not sure why it’s a debate, but the Oilers have never ceased to amaze me at times, either.

        (Haven’t seen much of pre-season, to be honest. What little I saw of Fayne, he was tripping over the blue line chasing the play, again. Didn’t do much for my confidence.)

  • Jonathan Willis

    RE: Yamamoto/Puljujarvi in the press box. I’ve been wondering for a few days now if the play there isn’t to scratch Khaira and Pakarinen out of the gate, with Caggiula playing left wing on the fourth line. That leaves room for both Yamamoto and Puljujarvi at right wing in the top nine, and keeps the Oilers from giving Kelly a contract offer.

    • Seriously Bored

      This seems a more likely scenario then sitting one of Yamamoto or Puljujarvi or giving Chris Kelly a contract. Kelly would bring them to 49 contracts which is not a great way to start the season.

    • tileguy

      I think Khaira has a role to play on this team and that is to be part of the best fourth line in all of hockey. It is out of the box thinking but I don’t think that is how it is going to be.

    • Muddy

      But if that’s the case where will Jagr, Iginila and Gionta fit in? I know this will not be popular with the Edmonton fans but if Sleppy can go on opening night I send Yamamoto down without playing a game. This is 100% the “Red Wings Approach” to developing players and I know it isn’t popular with everyone. I’d rather have him confident playing a full year in junior than run the risk of injury or a dip in confidence playing against fully dressed NHL squads. Kid is going to be unreal for us in just a short 10 months.

      • NoBuBlackOPS

        I agree Yamamoto should go back to the CHL there nothing wrong with giving him NHL games to start the year. Gives him an idea of how the game is played in the top league also gives him an idea on what he needs to work on in the CHL to be a better pro in the coming years.

        • Glencontrolurstik

          Yeah, but, so far he has excelled in his play… Not much room for improvement so far.
          Thing is, you pretty much do have to send him down, but what if he excels & you don’t have a reason to send him back? Better to not give him a taste maybe, or risk being forced to make some extremely tough decisions on the personnel of the team. Maybe take the Detroit approach.
          So far he shows that he doesn’t need to work on much.
          Heck, some games he has taken it on himself to kick-start the team with his play…
          What to do?

          • Joy S. Lee

            Question for y’all: If the player plays at an elite level against NHL competition, and makes it undeniable that’s he’s ready… you would still send him back to junior?

            I’m just asking, because that’s what it sounds like.

            Me, I’d let the player dictate the outcome. I would let it be in his control, and if he convinces me beyond all shadow of a doubt that he’s not only an NHL’er but a good one… then he stays, pure and simple.

            Now, if anything in that storyline goes South, then that’s a different story altogether…

    • OriginalPouzar

      Maroon/McDavid/Yamamoto
      Lucic/Drai/Puljijarvi
      Jokinen/Nuge/Strome
      Caggulia/Letestu/Kassian
      Khaira/Pakarinan
      Slep (IR – non-roster)

      Klef/Larrson
      Russell/Benning
      Nuge/Gryba
      Auvitu

      Talbot
      brossoit

    • madjam

      I would think Jokinen more than adequately makes Kelly expendable , as does Khaira and Kassian just to name a few . I see no real reason to modify the Oiler lineup for a part time player like Kelly who has yet to step ahead of anyone currently left . Hopkins , Cag , Khaira , Kass , Jokinen and even Yam, Leon and Connor all probably better options than Kelly on PK. He would stand more a chance if we were not a top contending club , and the reason Ottawa let him go .

        • OriginalPouzar

          Strome averaged 2 seocnds of SH TOI/game last year and 1 second of SH TOI/game the previous year and hasn’t killed penalties in exhibition this year.

          I’m sorry but you’ve just made that up.

          • OriginalPouzar

            Yes, Pak can PK.

            The issue is our PK was a problem last year and we lost one of our top PK defenders in Sekera and our absolute best PK forward in Pouliot.

            Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Kelly anywhere near the team but the PK is an issue.

          • gregolas

            What is your problem with pak?

            By all accounts he’s proven he can be a productive 4th liner and PKer.

            You keep pushing for Khaira… when the fact is, these players who are about the same age (1 year apart)

            Pakarinen has out performed Khaira at EVERY LEVEL.

            Khaira’s first full year of AHL:
            51 games, 4 goals, 6 assists. 10 points

            Pakarinen’s first full year of AHL
            39 games, 17 goals , 11 assists. 28 points

            They were both the same age to.

            Khaira in the NHL
            25 games total
            1 goal, 2 assists. 3 points

            Pakarinen: injury limited him to 14 games last season
            And in those 14 games he put up a respactlable 4th line production of 2 goals and 2 assists . He put up more points in almost half the total games played by Khaira

            These players are the same age to, why do you continuously fan boy over Khaira and say Pak should be waived ? It’s ridiculous. They both play the same type of game to. Hitting everything that moves, pak brings more energy and more production though. Not to mention his laser of a shot.

            In summary: people who push for Khaira over Pakarinen need to take a look at the facts so far.

  • ponokanocker

    I really, really, really hope Kelly doesn’t get a contract. We have other better/similar options and don’t need to burn a roster spot on something we already have.
    Here’s to hoping Yamamoto gets to stay up and play some games. He’s earned it.

  • Spoils

    quick question for the hockey players out there. McDavid’s 2nd goal in Sask, did he purposely knock the puck into the air and then bat it into the top corner? or was he just completely unphased by the puck bouncing up?

    which is more impressive?

    • Mitch92

      Looked completely intentional to me. He flipped the puck up just enough to avoid the defender’s poke check and then batted it just as it was coming back down to the ice. This type of shot makes it next to impossible for a goalie to anticipate where the shot is going. He has to make himself as large as possible and hope he gets hit or CMD misses the net which did not happen.

      • madjam

        First time I have seen him do that move . So he probably flubbed his original move , but his reaction time was so fast he made the best of a slower reaction on other player and making it almost seem natural . We’ll see if he tries to do it again with success .

  • madjam

    Contraversial opening lineup ? After exhibition season over , and vets given warning about floating , the crunch time has come . Thus , here is my estimation of team that probably will represent us , even though I may not like sending Yak away or keeping Kelly .
    Maroon , McDavid , Strome
    Lucic, Draisaitl , Cagguila
    Jokinen , Hopkins , Puljujarvi
    Kelly , Letestu , Kassian
    Khaira , Pakarinen
    Defence: Larsson , Klefbom
    Russell, Benning
    Nurse , Gryba
    Auvitu
    Just feel Yam could create a money problem with bonuses if he stays this year . As good as he’s looked and liked , I don’t think he has done enough to distance himself from other RW candidates , or to knock off the rest on RW . My vision of Yam pushing for Calder taking a hit with this stand .