Oilers notebook: Jack Campbell clears waivers, Calvin Pickard recalled as Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins centre their own lines

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
7 months ago
Much ado about the Edmonton Oilers these days.
After being placed on waivers and clearing Tuesday, the Oilers have assigned Jack Campbell to the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors while recalling Calvin Pickard.
For Campbell, he’ll get a chance to head to the American League to find his game after a disastrous 41-game stretch with the Oilers. His struggles date back to his first games with the Oilers after signing a five-year, $25-million contract. In 41 games and 39 starts, Campbell’s posted a 22-13-4 record, a .886 save percentage and a 3.53 goals-against average.
Pickard, meanwhile, gets the chance to play some NHL games — his first such opportunity since 2021-22, when he played three games for the Detroit Red Wings. Across 116 NHL games dating back to 2014-15, Pickard has posted a 35-54-10 record, a .903 save percentage and a 3.04 GAA playing for the Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and Arizona Coyotes.
After a scheduling start to the season that has seen six two-day gaps between games, that begins to shrink. Over the next month alone, Edmonton sees three two-day gaps with a stretch between November 18th and November 30th where they play seven games every other day.
Pickard will likely see a fair share of action over this time as the Oilers try and get their goaltending up and running.


Lines stay the same

There’s good news for Oilers fans Tuesday, as Jay Woodcroft and co. have kept their same lines together from Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.
The coaching staff is opting for what we can call “The Spine” lineup, where each Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins center their own lines.
As Bob Stauffer shows above, McDavid is centering Ryan McLeod and Zach Hyman, while Draisaitl is centering Dylan Holloway and Warren Foegele. Nugent-Hopkins, meanwhile, centers Evander Kane and Sam Gagner, as the fourth line sees James Hamblin center Raphael Lavoie and Derek Ryan.
This is inarguably my favourite roster deployment I’ve seen during Woodcroft’s tenure in Edmonton. McLeod’s starting to find his game after missing training camp, and has the speed and Hockey IQ to keep up with McDavid, while Hyman’s work ethic and penchant for the net blends in perfectly.
The second line is tremendous. Draisaitl speaks for himself, while both Holloway and Foegele have been bright spots early this year. This trio alone accounted for two goals Saturday night, with one called back due to a kicking motion. Foegele has scored three goals and five points in 11 games so far and leads all Oilers in shots on goal per hour at 5v5, firing a staggering 15.31. He also leads all Oilers in individual scoring chances per hour at 5v5, with 15.78. Simply put: he is firing on all cylinders offensively right now, and him remaining in the top six will continue to encourage that.
Holloway himself has had a nice start to the year, generating the third most shots on goal per hour at 5v5 with 8.68. He’s due for a goal or two, and will look to get rewarded there soon.
We saw the Oilers’ “third” line score a few against Dallas last week, and has all the tools to continue to be hard to play against, and chip in some points. The fourth line will likely see limited ice time.
As it stands, I don’t think you could truly peg a “first, second, third” line out of the Oilers top nine forwards. I’d expect the three lines to rotate heavily and consistently as the Oilers will look to attack in waves.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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