The Day After -3.0: Separation season

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
The Oilers have officially played three preseason games. That means there are only five left. Thank god for that.
As for the game, it was a tough one to get a read on. We know the Oilers lost xx – xx, but what can you take away from that game?
Calgary brought a roster featuring 16 players who are likely to be on their NHL roster. The Oilers, meanwhile, brought only three players who are guaranteed NHL spots: Stuart Skinner, Tyson Barrie and Ryan McLeod. There were some maybes, too.
Derek Ryan, Devin Shore, Mattias Janmark, Tyler Benson, Warren Foegele and Dylan Holloway are among numerous players who are battling for a spot in the bottom six. Jake Virtanen is hoping for a contract of any kind. None are guaranteed anything.
On the backend, Dmitri Samorukov and Markus Niemelainen are battling with the likes of Jason Demers, Ryan Murray for a spot as the seventh defenceman. None of them, either, are guaranteed a thing.
Calvin Pickard will be Bakersfield bound.
The trust of the matter is that I don’t think there’s any player that’s really able to do a whole lot in terms of separating off of last night’s game. None of Demers, Barrie or Luke Esposito were able to clear Brett Sutter, son of Darryl, from the front of the net on his goal that made it a 1-0 game. Esposito had a good shot at lifting Sutter’s stick, but couldn’t bare down enough. He played just xxxx and is likely to be among the next set or two of cuts.
There wasn’t much anyone could’ve done on Michael Stone’s 2-0 goal. A point shot careened off the boards and around to Stone on the other side, who used Dylan Holloway as a screen to blast the puck home.
The Flames’ third goal wasn’t a great look. None of Benson, Virtanen nor Brad Malone were able to either take the body or strip the puck along the wall, and it allowed Nazem Kadri to find an all-alone MacKenzie Weegar on the other side of the ice. 3-0.
I’m not going to sit here and put much stock into these preseason games, to be honest. For the most part, they’re mismashed lines and especially for the Oilers last night. That being said, the Flames were still able to get a goal from a depth line on Sutter’s goal.
At the end of the day, these are the games where players need to separate themselves. These are the game where Warren Foegele needs a goal and an assist. Where Jake Virtanen needs to do something… anything to show that his professional tryout was nothing but a waste of time. Where Tyler Benson shows some prowess on the ice. Unfortunately, none of that happened. While nobody fared well in terms of the underlying numbers, Foegele went 0-9 in scoring chances, Virtanen 1-6 and Benson 2-6.
Foegele, who drew in alongside Ryan McLeod and Dylan Holloway, had tough assignments all night going against the Nazem Kadri and Mikael Backlund lines. It’s a bit more understandable he, a bottom-six player, struggled against some tough competition.
Virtanen, who played alongside Brad Malone and Tyler Benson, drew matchups against the Flames’ third line that featured the likes of Milan Lucic, Trevor Lewis and Kevin Rooney. It’s not a good look at all that they struggled as much as they did — especially for a guy like Virtanen, who through three preseason games looks more destined for a second league in Europe rather than a professional league in North America.
Edmonton’s next preseason matchup will see them host the Calgary Flames Friday night at 7 p.m.

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.


  • When: On Thursday, January 12th, we’re jumping on a flight at the Edmonton International Airport and making our way to Vegas. On Sunday evening, we’ll fly back from Vegas to Edmonton. So the dates that you need to block off for this trip are January 12th to 15th.
  • Where we’re staying: After landing in LV, we’ll jump on the free shuttle and make our way to the Park MGM before settling in for a good night’s sleep. 😉
  • What you get: Your roundtrip flight, hotel, shuttle, viewing party (Friday night), game entry — we got seats this time (Saturday night), and exclusive entry into our pre-trip ‘get to know everyone’ event.
  • How Much: The total cost for the trip, flight, hotel, and entry to the game is $1499 per person (based on double occupancy)
  • Tickets: Ready to dive in? Click this link.

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