The injury to Cam Talbot is a bitter pill for Edmonton Oilers fans, and points to a major problem for this hockey club: Depth. Along with a lack of balance, it is a key issue and surely will be discussed a lot over the summer. Both Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan have talked about this being a “growth” team, meaning there are youngsters pushing for jobs and the team will audition them at the NHL level.
Tonight, in Calgary, with the season on the line, we’re going to see several auditioning players. Among those who could get a long look tonight:
- Jesse Puljujarvi, who had seven shots on Connor McDavid’s line against Toronto, probably gets another chance with 97.
- Anton Slepyshev is back from injury and getting a look on the Nuge line with Patrick Maroon. That’s a massive opportunity.
- Drake Caggiula is playing LW on Leon Draisaitl’s line, Ryan Strome on the other side. Caggiulla has great wheels and is getting a great chance.
- Jujhar Khaira is playing on the fourth line with Mark Letestu and Zack Kassian, and in all honesty, Khaira has been the best of the young auditioning forwards in recent days.
- You can check out the lineups on the new Line Combinations page here.
- Laurent Brossoit has a massive opportunity to solidify an NHL job with the Oilers. A win tonight in Calgary would do a lot for his confidence and that of the team.
- Nick Ellis could get a chance tonight or in the coming days, he’s built a nice resume.
The Oilers are trying to save their season with a lot of youth and inexperience in the lineup. If they fall out of contention, expect the auditions to increase and the offloading of veterans may be dictated by the performance of these younger men.
- Iiro Pakarinen cleared waivers.
- Brandon Davidson was placed on waivers by the Montreal Canadiens this morning.
- Connor McDavid is tied for No. 7 in league scoring.
- Connor McDavid is tied for No. 2 in even-strength scoring.
- Leon Draisaitl is tied for No. 14 in even-strength scoring.
- The Oilers are No. 7 in shots per game.
- The Oilers are No. 2 in Corsi for 5×5.
- The Oilers are No. 4 in Shots for percentage.
1. The special teams failed the Oilers on Thursday night and they will need to be much better if they plan on turning this ship around. Jason Gregor wrote about the Oilers’ penalty killing woes here.
2. In terms of Goals For, the Oilers and Flames are actually neck and neck. The Flames’ 73 goals put them only two ahead of the Oilers’ 71 goals. The difference, of course, is how many they’ve given up. The Flames have 76 markers while the Oilers have allowed a miserable 87 goals against.
3. The fourth lines contributed to three goals against the Maple Leafs on Thursday night for their largest output of the season. The question becomes, how can the Oilers get that kind of secondary scoring consistently?
4. With Adam Larsson on the IR, Todd McLellan will be tasked with spreading out the 22+ minutes left behind in the absence of the big Swede. There will be defenders that are fighting above their weight class with Larsson out and it will be interesting to see how they handle it in the first road game without him.
5. The Oilers are 5-0 against the Flames going back to last season, but this is not the same Oilers team that we watched snap a playoff drought a year ago. They will need a complete effort with all hands on deck if they hope to extend that winning streak to six games.
GAME DAY QUESTIONS
- How will Laurent Brossoit respond to Thursday night’s tough loss to the Maple Leafs? How will the team respond?
- Can the patchwork Oilers’ defensive top six contain the Flames’ skilled players?
- How will Glen Gulutzan deploy his lines against Connor McDavid? Which matchups will the captain see?
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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 12/02/2017, 1:00pm MST