Oilers News and Rumors: Nygard, Bouchard, McDavid, More

In today’s Edmonton Oilers news and rumors report, there is news that Joakim Nygard is getting well acquainted with at least one current Oilers’ defenseman, there is speculation as to what Evan Bouchard needs to do to make the team this season, and one insider asks, ‘Will the Oilers continue the trend of adding enforcers to Connor McDavid’s line?’ Finally, what three big questions are staring the Oilers in the face heading into this season?

Joakim Nygard Skating With Oscar Klefbom

Oscar Klefbom recently had some nice things to say about Oilers defensive prospect William Lagesson, but Lagesson isn’t the only player Klefbom is getting to know well this offseason. While in his hometown of Karlstad, Sweden, Klefbom is skating with a group of NHL’ers including newly signed Oilers forward Joakim Nygard.

“He’s working out with us and he’s on the ice with us. He looks really good on the ice,” Klefbom told EdmontonOilers.com. Klefbom called him “crazy explosive” and that he’s really hoping to see him adjust quickly to the NHL ice because the veteran defenseman thinks the Oilers could really use a player like him right now.

Is he top-line explosive? Allan Mitchell of the Athletic discussed options to play alongside Connor McDavid this season to maximize the star’s minutes but suggested Nygard has to be considered a long shot. That said, “his boots get him in the conversation.”

Mitchell suggests it’s time the Oilers stop looking at enforcers on McDavid’s wing and add skill and speed. He writes:

Peter Chiarelli wanted a policeman with skill on McDavid’s wing, acquiring Kassian, Patrick Maroon and Milan Lucic in an effort to make his vision a reality. Ultimately, none performed better than [Benoit] Pouliot. Perhaps there’s a lesson there for the Oilers.

source – ‘Connor McDavid and optimal line chemistry: The Oilers need to ditch the enforcer fixation and add a skill winger’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 08/16/2019

Related: 2000 NHL Draft: 21 Goalies Selected Before Henrik Lundqvist

Lagesson Over-ripe Enough?

Speaking of William Lagesson, David Staples of the Edmonton Journal wonders if he’s ready to make the jump to the NHL? GM Ken Holland preached the movement towards over-ripening players in the minors or AHL and Lagesson might be the first of the Oilers to move up after getting such treatment.

William Lagesson (Credit: Connor Mah/Flickr)
Edmonton Oilers 2014 fourth-round pick William Lagesson (Credit: Connor Mah/Flickr)

Staples writes:

This is the big tough Swede’s fifth year on the Oil’s prospect list. Only now is he considered a viable candidate to challenge for a job with the Oilers.  …

Lagesson will play some games in Edmonton this winter. He might even make the team as a seventh d-man out of camp.

source – ‘Over-ripe William Lagesson is finally ready to show his quality with Edmonton Oilers’ – Edmonton Journal – David Staples – 08/17/2019

It certainly appears one of the strengths of the Oilers prospect pool is on the blue line.

Related: Oilers Have Untouchables Beside McDavid and Draisaitl

Likelihood Bouchard Makes Oilers

With the defense in mind, Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal took a look at prospect defenseman Evan Bouchard and the likelihood he makes the Oilers main roster out of camp this season.

Edmonton Oilers Evan Bouchard
Edmonton Oilers defensemen Evan Bouchard (Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports)

Leavins writes:

Both General Manager Ken Holland and Dave Tippett have seemed to suggest that Evan Bouchard is likely to get close to a full season in Bakersfield of the AHL. And on the face of it, that seems like a solid play. After all…there are ripe prospects ahead of him.

source -‘Can Evan Bouchard emerge from Edmonton Oilers training camp with an NHL job?: 9 Things’ – Edmonton Journal – Kurt Leavins – 08/18/2019

But, Leavins also writes that if Bouchard knocks it out of the park at camp, it won’t take much to possibly change the minds of the people making the decision about whether or not he stays put.

Related: NHL Rumors: Rangers, Oilers, Sabres, More

Three Big Questions Facing Oilers

Derek van Diest of NHL.com asked three questions of the Oilers heading into the 2019-20 season. First, will James Neal have a bounce-back season? Second, can Dave Tippett turn the ship around? Third, will the goaltending tandem of Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen be enough?

Clearly, Oilers fans are hoping the answer to all three questions is ‘yes’. And, when you listen to interviews with coach Tippett and GM Ken Holland, they seem confident.

Related: Oilers News & Rumors: Woodcroft, Gretzky, Puljujarvi, Lucic, More