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Matheson: Oilers lineup filled with auditioning gamers lose to Vancouver

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Hockey’s a numbers recreation, as everyone knows, and never simply Connor McDavid and Leon Draisasitl’s level manufacturing for the followers’ sake, and so coach Jay Woodcroft will probably be working with solely 30 wholesome gamers on the journey to Vancouver and Seattle for video games 5 and 6 of an interminable pre-season.

“Once we get again for our final two video games at residence, I want to be all the way down to 24 or 25,” mentioned the Edmonton Oilers’ coach, who is aware of he’s solely going to have a 21-man roster to start out the season due to a squeezed wage cap, with 12 forwards, seven defence and his Saturday starter Stu Skinner and Jack Campbell in internet.

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“We’re operating out of video games and it’s incumbent on the gamers on the bubble to indicate what they’ve,” mentioned Woodcroft, who trotted out a lineup far wanting tried and true NHLers not like the Canucks, who beat the Oilers 5-2 with about 90 per cent of their roster that may open towards the Oilers Oct. 11 together with new captain Quinn Hughes, who was the most effective participant by a mile with two targets and an help on a PP purpose by Andrei Kuzmenko.

Elias Pettersson, additionally on the PP (the Canucks had been 2-for-4) and Phil Di Giuseppe had the others on Skinner, who beat the Canucks 2-1 in a shootout on Wednesday in his first pre-season begin.

The Oilers did rating twice in regulation — Adam Erne and Raphael Lavoie — the primary time that’s occurred in pre-season, however they nonetheless solely have seven whole targets in 5 video games and two of these had been in OT. And, their PP is 0-for-8 towards the Canucks in two video games, the primary with 97 and 29 enjoying in Edmonton and 0-for-4 Saturday.

Woodcroft received combined outcomes from what his bubble guys or guys who’ve to indicate extra however in all probability have a spot on the roster, like Philip Broberg.

Erne and Lavoie scored as we mentioned, in order that helps their trigger. However Woodcroft nonetheless isn’t positive what he’s received in his D-man Broberg, who hasn’t been in a position to play with Mattias Ekholm (hip). He continues to observe the Brandon Sutter-Lane Pederson battle for the fourth-line centre spot, with the PTO Sutter at the moment forward as a result of he’s extra a PK/face-off man as a right-shot.

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Canucks Carson Soucy holds the jersey of OIlers Lane Pederson
Vancouver Canucks’ Carson Soucy (7) grabs Edmonton Oilers’ Lane Pederson (19) in the course of the first interval of a preseason NHL hockey recreation in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023. Picture by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Erne, who has performed 355 NHL video games with the final 4 years years in Detroit, is in very powerful however may get a two-way deal as a result of he’s a giant physique checker and go to Bakersfield. He helped his trigger by spinning to bang in a rebound of a Mattias Janmark shot.

Lavoie, who drew a penalty, additionally confirmed his blistering shot when he beat Demko to complete the Oilers scoring. After 25 targets in Bakersfield, his purpose confirmed why he was top-of-the-line AHL gamers within the second half of final season.

Sutter, the previous Canucks’ centre who was enjoying his first recreation at his previous stomping grounds Rogers Area since April 24, 2021, due to COVID points, wants a contract too as a camp invite, however enjoying with Janmark and Erne he extra matches the 4C function than Pederson. That mentioned, Pederson, signed to a two-year $775,000 one-way deal as a free-agent, was a part of the Oiler PP with McDavid and Draisaitl watching, so he has sufficient offensive chops to get a shot with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Evander Kane and Evan Bouchard on the purpose on the highest unit in Vancouver.

Broberg had an up-and-down night time. He hasn’t wowed anyone in camp however he did make some some good delicate performs with accomplice Vinny Desharnais and was out on a 5-on-3 PK late within the second however he misplaced his stick on a rush and went to the bench for a change, leaving Markus Niemelainen in no-man’s land leaping off the bench. He was helpless to get again as Hughes scored on a 2-on-1. Broberg was additionally screening Skinner on a Hughes backhand purpose.

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Dylan Holloway, who isn’t on the bubble for a roster spot after his sturdy play in pre-season, didn’t play in Vancouver however spent appreciable time after Saturday morning’s observe working with Draisaitl across the internet, additionally on the mechanics of passing.

“We talked so much about taking pictures the puck from totally different angles, the way you strategy the puck in several conditions and sauce the puck. He places it in several areas and it lands flat on a regular basis. He’s fairly spectacular. Simply making an attempt to soak all of it in,” mentioned Holloway.

“Fairly spoiled to have the ability to study from these guys, Connor and Leon. They keep out late (at practices) and each rep they do, they’re going full out. They’re not floating.”.

This ‘n that: Neither McDavid nor Draisaitl performed in Vancouver however each will probably swimsuit up in Seattle towards ex Oiler Kailer Yamamoto Monday night time … A little bit fireworks on the finish as Deharnais cross-checked Anthony Beauvillier within the final minute then put a glove in his face whereas Erne and Jack Studnicka wrestled …  Sam Gagner, on a PTO, is on the highway journey despite the fact that he’s underneath docs orders to not play any exhibitions after his two hip surgical procedures. He’ll probably get a contract however will open in Bakersfield to get video games and see how he’s feeling. He hasn’t performed in over six months. Gagner labored laborious on the hour-long observe earlier than the flight to Vancouver, ending up with McDavid and him passing to at least one one other for one-timers … Ryan McLeod (gentle tissue in his leg) is on the journey and may swimsuit up in Seattle earlier than the final two residence video games … Whereas the Oilers broke into two teams (travelling roster and others probably going to Bakersfield) for observe Saturday, 4 probably Bakersfield D — Phil Kemp, Niemelainen, Ben Gleason and Cam Dineen — had been all had been a part of the travelling social gathering to Vancouver and Seattle. Niemelainen and Gleason had been a pair in Vancouver. Gleason is a second cousin of Tim Gleason, the previous NHLer, now an assistant coach in Carolina … The proper-shot defender Kemp, who didn’t costume, has had an excellent camp as all 4 D are probably auditioning to be the primary call-up if there’s an harm.

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