The battle for roster spots will intensify this week for those on the bubble. The salary cap will impact who is on the opening day roster, which is due at 3 p.m. next Monday, but the roster could switch before the Oilers play their first regular season game next Wednesday, October 12th.
Dylan Holloway, Tyler Benson, Devin Shore, Jake Virtanen, and Dmitri Samorukov are battling for roster spots, and each has a different challenge to overcome if they want to be here next Wednesday.
Holloway has looked good. He has NHL speed. The question is: Will he get enough ice time to remain in Edmonton? I don’t see him staying here long-term if he is only playing 8-10 minutes/game on the fourth line. But if he finds time in the top nine, I think he will stick. He gets a chance in the top six tonight alongside Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman.
Advertisement
Ad
Benson scored in Winnipeg on Saturday and you’ve noticed him in every game he’s played. “What I’ve noticed about Benson’s camp so far is that he wants to get noticed,” said Jay Woodcroft. “He’d done things to get our attention. He’s had a good camp and he’s here to compete. He should feel good about his camp to date.”
Benson’s work ethic will never been an issue. He’s become more of an agitator at the NHL level, because he realized he likely wasn’t going to play in the top six. I commend him for making the switch. The only thing holding him back from being a regular is his foot speed. He worked on it this summer and he does look a touch quicker.
Shore is a known commodity. If the Oilers had room for a 23-man roster he’d likely be on it, but right now they only have room for a 21-man roster (unless Ken Holland makes a trade to free up some cap space), and Shore costs almost 100K more than Brad Malone. That might cost him a roster spot.
Advertisement
Ad
Virtanen’s best game was in Winnipeg, but he still hasn’t done enough to get noticed every night like Benson. He needs to play much, much better if he hopes to earn a contract. A one-way deal would seem unrealistic at this point.
Samorukov has looked strong. He trained all summer in Edmonton and he wanted to ensure he was in the conversation for a roster spot and to make it a difficult decision. He’s in the conversation, albeit maybe slightly behind Markus Niemelainen at this point. The tight cap crunch could cost him a roster spot.

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Kane-McDavid-Yamamoto
Holloway-Draisaitl-Hyman
RNH-McLeod-Foegele
Benson-Shore-Virtanen
Nurse-Ceci
Kulak-Bouchard
Samorukov-Barrie
Campbell
Skinner
Edmonton will have close to full NHL rosters for their final three preseason games. Jesse Puljujarvi played Friday and Saturday and gets tonight off. Philip Broberg, Markus Niemelainen, Ryan Murray are battling Samorukov for the sixth and seventh defence spots. Samorukov plays tonight and the other three likely play Wednesday in Abbotsford.
Advertisement
Ad
Benson, Shore and Virtanen are battling Mattias Janmark, Brad Malone and Derek Ryan for spots on the fourth line. The first three will play tonight. Virtanen needs to do more to get noticed. His best play led to Tyler Benson’s goal in Winnipeg, but other than that he hasn’t done much. If he was a returning veteran he’d get the benefit of the doubt, but he isn’t, and he doesn’t have a contract. He needs to get noticed or his PTO could end rather quickly. The salary cap will have an impact on which of these forwards make the opening-game roster.
Jack Campbell is scheduled to play the entire game tonight. I’d guess we see Stuart Skinner play a full game Wednesday and then Campbell gets 60 minutes v. Seattle on Friday.
Advertisement
Ad
Canucks…
Garland-Dries-Podkolzin
Hoglander-Aman-Nielsen
Dickinson-Lazar-Klimovich
DiGiuseppe-Stevens-Lockwood
Wolanin-Burroughs
DeKeyser-Juulsen
Brisebois-Keeper
Delia
Silovs
Nils Aman was a sixth round pick of the Avalanche in 2020. He wasn’t signed, and he signed with the Canucks on June 7th. He’s had a strong camp, and while he isn’t expected to crack the lineup this year, he is a prospect they are high on.
Danny DeKeyser is in the same boat as Virtanen. He needs to show something if he wants to avoid being released from his PTO.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers remain undefeated at home in preseason with a 5-1 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid gets his first point(s) of the preseason.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Holloway scores twice to strengthen his case to crack the top-nine.

#NATIONVACATION TO LAS VEGAS

  • 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.

Recently by Jason Gregor: