In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, there is finally an update in regard to the trade talks that include Jesse Puljujarvi, an Oilers veteran has been recalled, Ethan Bear has been lights out and the goaltending tandem of Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen is creating questions for coach Dave Tippett.
Sam Gagner is Back
Sam Gagner has been recalled and Gaetan Haas has been sent to the AHL. Jason Gregor of TSN is reporting this is for the two-game road trip in Winnipeg and Minnesota but it will be interesting to see if Gagner sticks.
Gagner’s demotion was a bit of a surprise. He was playing effectively in preseason but some of the younger guys showed well. That said, Gagner was told while being sent down to embrace a leadership role and expect to be called back up. It took only eight games.
If Gagner contributes on offense, he may stay as the Oilers have not had much contribution from the depth scorers, relying mostly on four key offensive powerhouses.
That said, he won’t be suiting up Sunday against the Jets. The forward lines consist of:
Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian
Chiasson – Nugent-Hopkins – Neal
Khaira – Sheahan – P. Russell
Jurco – Granlund – Archibald
Movement on the Jesse Puljujarvi Front?
NBC Sports’ Joe Haggerty writes that the Boston Bruins are looking to improve their offensive depth beyond the top line. He believes two inexpensive options out there are Edmonton’s Jesse Puljujarvi and New York Islanders’ Joshua Ho-Sang. The plan here would be to help them develop into the top-six options many think they can be.
That’s a long-term play.
Where things are really getting interesting when it comes to Puljujarvi, are the reports coming from Pierre LeBrun of TSN and a report from Fansided about the team Puljujarvi plays for in Finland.
Omar Abdelgawad Karpat of Fansided’s Cardiacane.com notes that Karpat has just signed 28 year old Finnish forward Julius Junttila. Speculation is that he’s being brought in to replace Puljujarvi when he heads back to North America.
If so, that means Karpat is under the impression Puljujarvi might be leaving and Pierre LeBrun notes that Carolina has been kicking tires on Puljujarvi, potentially offering up Julien Gauthier and some draft picks.
Can Ethan Bear Keep It Up?
One of the bright spots of this young season is the play of prospect defenseman Ethan Bear. A player on the verge of being sent back to Bakersfield to start the season, he’s been on fire in Edmonton and been a major contributor to the blue line.
With Joel Persson and Adam Larsson out, Bear is getting ample opportunity to show his stuff and he’s been a bright spot for coach Dave Tippett who has been impressed with the youngster.
The Oilers have a strong record but the knock is that they’re about to go up against some more powerful NHL franchises and, of course, many pundits don’t believe they can keep it up. For players like Bear, it will be important to prove he can be effective against all types of NHL teams.
Special Teams Leading the Way For Edmonton
One of the questions everyone seems to be asking is, ‘How are the Oilers 7-1-0?’ One of the quick answers is special teams.
Despite not scoring on the power play against Detroit, they Oilers still lead the NHL at 47.1% and their penalty kill ranks sixth, having recently dropped down a few spots. One thing to watch for is the amount of chances the Oilers are allowing while down a man. They are closer to the bottom of the standings in Fenwick chances against which means the goalies have been bailing them out a bit.
Speaking of Oilers Goaltenders…
Is there a debate in Edmonton as to who the starter is? If so, at least the question isn’t a negative one.
Mikko Koskinen has been lights-out good over the last two games and Mike Smith has been excellent in his starts outside of a few questionable moments where he played the puck too often. Koskinen deserves the start against Winnipeg on Sunday based on his play but Tippett has said he’d rotate his guys and has been deciding based on a “feel” that day.
This is a good problem to have and one the Oilers had hoped for when they signed Smith this summer.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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