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Recreation assessment: Bubble participant pops out a giant sport as Edmonton Oilers beat Vancouver Canucks

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The Edmonton Oiler beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 on a incredible over-time break-in by Connor McDavid, who grabbed a vertical dart of a cross from Evan Bouchard and deked out Vancouver goalie Casey DeSmith.

It was one in every of many high quality performs by McDavid in his first preseason sport of the 2023-24 season, however my very own focus wasn’t on the Oilers regulars, it was on the bubble gamers hoping to make a mark, both to seize a roster spot on the Oilers or to place themselves ahead as call-up materials from the AHL later within the 12 months.

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Only one bubble participant actually stood out, large d-man Markus Niemelainen, now 25 and drafted method again when within the third spherical of the 2016 entry draft.

Niemo, 6-feet, 6-inches, 190-pounds and recognized for each his fast ft and thunderous hitting, has had one OHL season since that draft, 4 seasons within the high Finnish professional season and two seasons break up between Edmonton and Bakersfield.

He’s not a prospect anymore, however within the Vancouver sport he regarded as a lot as NHLer as I’ve ever seen.

He was fast on his skates and sharp with the puck. He blocked a semi-dangerous shot within the second. He made the play of the sport (not less than till McDavid’s aim), a fantastic pokecheck to thwart a harmful a jailbreak of a two-one one-pass in entrance of Stuart Skinner within the second. Not an ideal sport ,as Niemelainen was beat out of the nook for a slot jam late within the third, however a strong skilled accounting of issues from Niemo.

As for different bubble gamers, right here’s how I noticed it:

Vincent Desharnais. Some nasty hits early within the sport. Dangerous turnover within the third led to a harmful Canucks shot.

Adam Erne. Screened the goalie on an out of doors Evan Bouchard shot within the first. Good stick on the PK within the second. However did not make any form of main impression.

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Lane Pederson. Swell pack cross within the first on a close to likelihood within the first,  then Leon Draisaitl despatched him in for a tough slot shot. Pederson made a strong pokecheck on the bachcheck within the second to interrupt up a harmful Canucks likelihood. He blocked a tough shot on the PK late within the third. He’s in a battle for the ultimate roster spot at ahead and didn’t damage his possibilities this sport, however we’ll must see how his defensive play holds up.

Brandon Sutter. Good keep on with knock the puck out of the Edmonton zone on the PK within the first. He made an o-zone turnover a second later. He was sluggish on the backcheck within the third, resulting in a Tyler Myers slot shot. He seems sensible on the market and calm with the puck, however can he sustain? I’m unsure.

Ben Gleason. The mid-sized d-man had a excessive occasion nightm numerous good and many dangerous. He missed the web on a wide-open energy play look within the first. He gambled and received on a n-zone pinch within the second, knocking away the puck. He allowed a cross on a two-on-one likelihood that might have led to large hassle however for Niemelainen’s saving play. He broke up a rush within the third with a block, however allowed a slot cross and Grade A shot a second later. He obtained beat in a board battle midway by the third for one more onerous Van shot. He made a pleasant deke on the blueline late within the third to get off a strong shot.

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