The Edmonton Oilers are one step closer to their opening day roster, says radio man Bob Stauffer. It comes at a time when the team has only three preseason matchup left ahead of their Oct. 2 opener against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Oilers tweeted some forward lines from a Sunday morning skate in Kelowna, and Stauffer says he thinks it’s close to what the team will run opening day, barring injury.
Don’t be surprised if the top 4 lines are what the Oilers open with against VAN in season opener (barring injury).
Pretty clear Ken Holland and Dave Tippett want young players to play their way UP the lineup.
At some point Nygard will be in top 9.
Oilers need more speed up front. https://t.co/zMRtgKQg4M
— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) September 22, 2019
#Oilers forward lines in Kelowna:
(Nygard & Burdasov rotating in) pic.twitter.com/Jg9pmAwyPN
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) September 22, 2019
The lines aren’t far off from what many expected, and it’s a great sign for Edmonton Oilers fans. I was quite impressed with the demotions earlier this week when Ken Holland and co. sent guys like Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody back to Bakersfield.
Holland is known as someone who typically overripens players — something the Oilers of the past decade have never done. Peter Chiarelli did a good job drafting during his time in Edmonton and now we have the ability to truly let some prospects continue developing.
While I have been high on Evan Bouchard through camp, it wouldn’t surprise me now to see him in Bakersfield. Holland has said if a young player is going to be in Edmonton, they’re going to be in the lineup and not sitting in the press box.
It’s a small thing, but it makes lots of sense. Young players need to play, so let them play whether it’s in Edmonton, or in Bakersfield.
Back to the lines, I think Holland had a bit of an underrated summer when we look at the way things are shaping up. Yes, going out and getting some “bigger names” would’ve been a great addition to the team, but Edmonton is cap-strapped this season and doing so would’ve cost assets I don’t think the team was willing to part with.
Instead, what Holland did is bring in some bodies who will likely be able to contribute more in the bottom-six than what the team had last year. By bringing in guys like Tomas Jurco, Josh Archibald, Riley Sheahan, Markus Granlund, Gaetan Haas, and Joakim Nygard on one-year deals, he forced competition out of that group to be able to bring something to the roster.
Looking through to next offseason, I would expect Holland to look at making some larger changes to the roster through the trade market and through free agency.
On Twitter: @zjlaing