In today’s Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, there is news on the addition of KHL forward Anton Burdasov. There is also talk about how Connor McDavid is feeling related to his knee injury and talk about how likely it is he starts the season, even getting into a preseason game. Plus, is there a fit in Winnipeg for a player like Kris Russell?
McDavid Ready to Go?
From most of the reports coming out of Edmonton, there is good news when it comes to Connor McDavid being ready to play another NHL season. He wants to play, and he wants to play sooner than later.
Oilers GM Ken Holland told reporters he is “pretty optimistic” that McDavid should be fully recovered from his knee injury in time to suit up for opening night. He also says there is a chance he’ll play in one preseason game. They’ll get some second opinions from the doctors but if McDavid wants to go, they’ll look at getting him in.
That’s the good news. The even better news is that despite not being on the ice every night, McDavid’s leadership is being felt throughout the locker room. For example, one player the Oilers coaching staff and management are keeping a close eye on is Evan Bouchard. McDavid has been watching too.
Bouchard has looked good in preseason and scrimmages thus far and his physical testing is better than it’s ever been. But, to McDavid, it’s not about just being in great physical shape. “Good for him for coming in and having good fitness testing. But he’s got to have a good camp on the ice,” McDavid said. In essence, McDavid seems to suggest there’s no time to give shots to kids who “look good’. They need to contribute and it’s time to win.
Oilers Sign Burdasov to PTO
The Oilers have added Anton Burdasov out of the KHL on a professional tryout. It took a while to get him over to North America and Holland was not comfortable giving him a contract, but he’s willing to give him an opportunity.
Burdasov had a dream to try his hand in the NHL. Dave Tippett has seen some video footage of the player and knows, as an older veteran winger, he can score in the KHL, but will look to see if there’s a player there in the NHL. Otherwise, he doesn’t know much about him.
Mark Spector of Sportsnet reports that there were whispers Burdasov has been offered a deal of $1.7 million for one year if he makes the team, but that report has been shutdown by the Oilers, specifically Holland who Jason Gregor of TSN 1260 quoted having said, “I’d say that is inaccurate.”
One guy who is rooting for Burdasov and is already with the Oilers is goaltender Mikko Koskinen. Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic writes, “He’s a big guy. He can skate well and he has a really good shot, a really hard shot,” said Koskinen, Koskinen was Burdasov’s teammate with St. Petersburg SKA from 2014 to 2016. “He can shoot the puck; one of the best that I’ve actually seen. Let’s hope that Anton will make the team.”
Yamamota Likely Heading to Bakersfield
Fans likely haven’t heard much talk of Kailer Yamamoto this preseason. There’s a good reason for that. He continues to practice but hasn’t played after undergoing offseason wrist surgery.
Yamamoto is trending towards starting the season in Bakersfield which is not necessarily bad for the player or the team. They’ve had a tendency to rush him into the lineup.
Mike Smith Still Dealing With Flu
The Oilers wanted to get new goaltender Mike Smith into a preseason game before the end of the week but he’s still dealing with flu symptoms. Daniel Nugent-Bowman writes:
Mike Smith was on the ice before practice Wednesday with goalie coach Dustin Schwartz. He’s been out with the flu since the start of camp.
Neither Smith nor Koskinen has played a game yet. The end of his week was supposed to see that change. Smith’s game status remains unclear, but Tippett said Koskinen will play half a game by week’s end.source – ‘McDavid and more: Five thoughts through the first week of Oilers camp’ – Daniel Nugent-Bowman – The Athletic – 09/19/2019
Opportunity for Oilers to Move Russell to Jets?
There’s no inside information that this is a trade option that’s even out there in the NHL, nor do the Winnipeg Jets know the certainty of what Dustin Byfuglien will decide as it pertains to his NHL future. But, what if Big Buff decides not to return to the Jets organization or the NHL?
The Oilers are limited in their cap space to add a forward that they desperately could use in the top six. Moving a player like Kris Russell would help alleviate some cap restrictions. Is there an opportunity to talk to the Jets about their extremely depleted blue line without Byfuglien a part of it? After all, they’ve already lost Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers and could certainly use a right-handed d-man.
Russell has a modified no-move clause and if the Oilers could convince the Jets they need help on the blue line and convince Russell he’ll get good opportunities in Winnipeg, might he bite? The prospects who have looked good in Edmonton on their blue line may have hinted that the Oilers could afford to move Russell if there was a chance to do so.
Obviously Russell does not fill the shoes of a player like Byfuglien, but then again, no one does. This may go nowhere, but it would be wise for the Oilers to keep an eye on what unfolds in Winnipeg.
If there’s any sort of move to be made here, Russell needs to heal up. He has been in concussion protocol since colliding with a teammate during a pre-camp captains’ skate.
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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