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Camp is a wrap, so what have we realized in regards to the Edmonton Oilers?

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Is it the All-Star break but?

The common season hasn’t even began and it nonetheless looks like the Edmonton Oilers have been on the ice ceaselessly.

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In all probability as a result of they’ve. Beginning with captain’s skates that started the Tuesday after Labour Day, adopted by coaching camp and eight pre-season video games, they’ve already been on the ice for 5 weeks.

“It was an extended, lengthy, lengthy, lengthy camp,” stated winger Evander Kane, who dressed for 5 of the eight exhibition video games. “Everyone is glad to get enjoying for actual right here.”

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Did he point out how lengthy camp was?

Now, if it looks like eight video games to determine who the twelfth ahead goes to be looks like somewhat little bit of overkill, relaxation assured these 5 weeks revealed far more than who’s going to fill the one and solely place that’s up for grabs.

So what have we realized?


For starters, we noticed that the Oilers picked up proper the place they left off final spring — with the collection loss to Vegas nonetheless burning of their stomachs. They know they’re shut and have made it clear that everybody must be on the identical web page — hungry and decided to repair the issues that stand in the way in which of profitable a Stanley Cup.

“We did a great job of that,” stated Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “Everybody got here again two weeks early and everybody took it critically. It wasn’t simply popping out and going via the motions, we have been going onerous.

“We’re excited to get it going for actual now. I believe we’re able to get rolling. We got here again hungry, for positive, hungry to get it going and begin feeling it once more.”


Perhaps essentially the most promising growth in all of camp is the resurgence of Jack Campbell, who went 3-0 with a .971 save share and 0.99 targets towards common. He stopped 101 of 104 photographs within the pre-season.

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He’s wanting like a $5-million beginning goalie proper now, which is a considerably shocking flip of occasions, given how he struggled final 12 months.

“Each recreation he’s been in he’s been extraordinarily stable for us,” stated Nugent-Hopkins. “You watch from the bench and it type of boggles the thoughts somewhat bit how he made a few these saves on the six-on-five (Friday).”


Objectives towards is without doubt one of the main areas that wants enhancing and Oilers spent loads of time getting the brand new neutral-zone and defensive-zone techniques put in.

Make what you’ll of the pre-season, however they held their opponents to 4 targets, and scored 14 themselves, of their closing three video games.

They’re simply beginning to get this down, and it’s going to take many of the season to completely grasp, however that is who they wish to be.

“It’s somewhat extra beneath management,” stated Kane. “We’re giving up much less inside and retaining pucks to the surface. It permits our goalies to make saves and never should fend off too many slot photographs.

“It’s a piece in progress, nonetheless. We’ve completed a great job this far, we’re going to should maintain getting higher at it.”

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Embracing a brand new method is half the battle, so Woodcroft is assured the modifications will make an impression.

“Coaching camp, eight video games, that’s the time to do it as a result of you may actually dive into element,” he stated. “It’s a credit score to our gamers as a result of they’ve purchased in, they’re actually focusing onerous on it. We expect we’re in a great spot heading into Recreation 1.”


Operating Mattias Janmark at centre the final two video games factors to the Oilers retaining 23-year-old winger Raphael Lavoie for the fourth-line spot.

“He’s had an excellent camp,” stated Woodcraft. “I see progress. He’s had moments in camp that have been spectacular and he’s had some progress alternatives as nicely. He’s given a great account of himself.”

It’s not a great state of affairs as a result of Lavoie isn’t a centre and doesn’t kill penalties (that means he’ll have to sit down for a very long time in video games with plenty of particular groups), however the threat of shedding him on waivers in the event that they ship him down is weighing closely on this resolution.

It’s unlucky for Lane Pederson, as a result of he had a great camp and he’s nearer to what they want.


Solely having 12 forwards and 21 roster spots goes to be a problem. It ties the teaching workers’s arms and leaves the Oilers weak when accidents hit.

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If Brett Kulak and Mattias Ekholm aren’t prepared for the season opener, as an illustration, Edmonton will already be diminished to 19 gamers for opening evening.

Wholesome competitors for spots within the backside six is just about non-existent.

“One of many issues about solely having a 12-forward roster is you don’t have the power to maneuver the thirteenth or 14th piece into the puzzle to carry some folks accountable,” stated Woodcroft.

“So generally going 11 and seven may need to be our method. I imagine having that accountability for folks is necessary. That’s what attracts one of the best out of individuals.”

Eleven and 7, in fact, means Edmonton gained’t be capable of decide to, and domesticate, the identical type of fourth line that labored so nicely for Vegas and different four-line groups. However Woodcroft believes which have the personnel to work round it.

“Ultimately we’re not attempting to repeat anyone’s method, we’re looking for our personal method.”

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