Oilers Training Camp Is Finally Here
Real hockey time is back in full swing. We transition seamlessly from the rookie camp and we are now into the Oilers training camp.
First off here are the line combinations as the Edmonton Oilers take to the ice for the first time this season.
The reason Esposito is in this spot is Caggiula was apparently not skating today, there doesn’t appear to be any serious injury rumors so until we hear otherwise we will chalk this up to a maintenance thing.
One thing I appreciate about Todd McLellan is since coming to the Oilers, this is how he has set up his training camps. As of right now these are the NHL players. Anyone not in this group knows they need to prove themselves if they want to be on any of these lines. The players currently in this group know that if they falter or struggle, there are bodies ready to replace them.
Based on comments made in interviews between the end of last season and now, the coaching staff and players all understand how improtnat it is for this team to start the season strong. No time to be messing for 4 pre-season games seeing if Aberg can play with McDavid.
The remaining forward lines are as followed
As mentioned this is the outside group. Aside from Patrick Russell I see each of these players having a chance at being effective NHL players in varying roles. Benson was by far the best player during the rookie camp and will be looking to continue to prove himself. Yamamoto may have looked underwhelming, however he still backchecked like a fiend and I expect him to shift into a higher gear.
Aberg, Malone, and Marody all have an opportunity to be the 13th forward on this roster. Aberg as of now might have the inside track due to his past NHL experience but Marody was sharp in rookie camp and having another centre on hand never hurts.
The Oilers also iced a Group C. Until someone from that group moves into Group B I won’t spare many words discussing those prospects.
Now to the defense… just before I take a look let me take a really long sip of water……..
I see exactly one NHL pairing here. The Nurse contract negotiations will continue to be the big story through the coming days. Jerabek and Russell could be the 3rd pairing this season which might prove effective if Jerabek is up to the challenge; both playing the minutes and having to play with Kris Russell.
Nurse and Benning seem to be the plan for the second pairing. Nurse has proven so far in his young career to be a strong option at producing at 5 on 5. It would be a shame as well as a huge blow to the Oilers already depleted numbers to not have him to start the season.
The jury is still out on Benning for me. He has the potential to be one of the Oilers more effective puck carriers on the back end but he still makes high danger mistakes. In a perfect world I would rather him be sheltered more on the third pairing.
Lucic scored a goal during the squad on squad scrimmage game. In his interviews Lucic spoke about starting to enjoy the game of hockey again and move past the issues of last season. I have spent much digital ink discussing Lucic’s issues but for his sake as well as the team’s I hope he can be an effective player this season.
Scottie Upshall failed his physical and will not be skating with the team this week. Chiarelli answered a number of questions after practice and said he believed Upshall would be able to join the team skating next week.
Koskinen is a very big man. He stopped all the shots he faced during the scrimmage. The best thing for Koskinen to keep Oilers fans and media off his back is continue stopping every puck. The first bad goal he lets in you know people are going to start wincing.