In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, Leon Draisaitl spoke to the media prior to tonight’s matchup against the Montreal Canadiens and touched on a few things, including playing alongside Kailer Yamamoto and his relationship with Dominik Kahun. There is news on the goaltending front as the waiver wire clarified a few things for the team but created new questions, and the Oilers will go into tonight’s game with a new look blue line as the coach has made some changes.
Goalie Situation Far from Resolved
The Oilers were waiting to see if a claim for Aaron Dell might be successful on Monday morning. It wasn’t. Edmonton badly needed a backup option with the news of Mike Smith being on LTIR and the two options the team does have either are inexperienced or are being forced to quarantine.
With Dell now gone to the New Jersey Devils, the Oilers have to find a way to make the claim of Troy Grosenick work, or grab another goaltender off of the waiver wire as new names become available.
Teams are not going to waive goaltenders unless there is little choice to move them but the Devils might waive Eric Comrie now that they’ve claimed Dell and he would likely be an upgrade over Stuart Skinner, Grosenick of Oliver Rodrigue.
As for Grosenick, he is reportedly driving to Edmonton and had yet to cross the border when news of Dell being claimed by the Devils was official. He will likely continue onto Edmonton to see if he officially sticks with the team or not.
Draisaitl Talks Yamamoto and Kahun
While speaking with the media before Monday night’s game, Draisaitl said that Yamamoto has an incredible ceiling and hinted that the winger has only begun to scratch the surface of what he’ll do in the NHL. Saying he is tenacious but can also see the ice and make plays, he looks forward to how Yamamoto will grow this season.
Draisaitl was also asked about his role in bringing Kahun to the team and he said that he did not suggest or ask management to go out and sign Kahun. That said, he did talk to the player and try to sell him on the benefits of coming to the hockey club. He said he would do that in any instance where management asked, but it’s not his job to suggest players, even if he does have a past relationship with them.
Oilers Shuffling Up Their Blue Line
The Oilers are making some changes to tonight’s blue line as both Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones are a healthy scratch. Bear was logging big minutes so this comes as somewhat of a surprise.
As a result, Slater Koekkoek confirmed during his media avail that he will be playing tonight with Darnell Nurse as the Oilers try to switch things up and find a better solution to the Canadiens determined forecheck. Koekkoek will be moved to the right side. “I had some success on the right side last year and I’m excited for the opportunity,” he said.
Nurse said of the news he’d be playing with Koekkoek, “Slater is a very solid player. He seems to be in the right places all the time and has a lot of confidence right now.” Koekkoek got the lone goal for Edmonton on Saturday in a 5-1 loss to Montreal.
Kris Russell and William Lagesson will also slot into the lineup for the first time this season and head coach Dave Tippett said of Lagesson, “He had a strong camp and deserves the opportunity. He competes well and his puck game continues to improve.”
Messier Turns 60
Happy Birthday wishes go out to Mark Messier who turns 60 years old today. A legend in the Edmonton area, a Hall of Famer and former Oilers player, Messier is perhaps the second-most iconic player to ever wear and Oilers jersey.
He played 25 seasons in the NHL and the 2nd most games in league history with 1756 He was second to only Goried Howe’s 1767.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”