In today’s update on the Edmonton Oilers, there is news and speculation regarding Ethan Bear and Joel Persson, there is a bit more clarity (at least there will be after Thursday’s game) as to how likely it is that Anton Burdasov makes the team and one of the best forwards in preseason for the Oilers is a bit banged up. Finally, who did Connor McDavid get a special message from prior to his first preseason game?
Ethan Bear Getting an Opportunity
It was reported that Joel Persson’s upper-body injury suffered in the second period of the game against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday is going to keep him out of the lineup seven-to-ten days. He was one of those players on the fringe of making the team and had been tentatively slotted into the lineup for opening night. Obviously, his going down gives someone else an opportunity.
Dave Tippet said he went up to Bear at practice and said, “Knock, knock. Opportunity awaits.” Tippet added that Bear would play the next two games and essentially, could win or lose the job based on those two games. With Evan Bouchard and Caleb Jones sent down by the Oilers already, Bear has a great shot and this is now his spot to lose only because of a poor performance.
Bear had a good season in Bakersfield, he’s grown defensively and he’s got a wicked shot from the point that can be useful on the second-unit power play. He’s probably going to get the gig, only competing with William Lagesson.
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Nugent-Hopkins Banged Up, Will Sit
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was nursing a sore knee after the recent Oilers practice and will not be in the lineup versus the Winnipeg Jets tonight. This is more a precaution than a huge concern.
Nugent-Hopkins has played well with three goals in the preseason to date and two short-handed markers. The chemistry with James Neal has been mediocre but Nuge has shown he has the ability to repeat last season’s career highs.
As per a report by Ryan Rishaug of TSN, Markus Granlund was also missing from practice.
Anton Burdasov to Get Second Look Tonight
KHL forward Anton Burdasov is going to get a second-look tonight for the Oilers in their game vs the Jets. He’s an intriguing project in Edmonton.
Burdasov joined the Oilers late in camp but in his one game, already showed he’s not afraid to shoot the puck. Tippett said he didn’t need warm-ups, just a quick chalkboard explanation and he was off and running and he seemed to fit in well. If Burdasov has a good game tonight, there’s a chance he makes this team.
His agent said there’s really not a scenario where Burdasov would come over to the NHL to sign a contract to play in the AHL, but he might get a quick start there and be called up should he be offered a contract. He’s got KHL options so it’s NHL this year or likely go back.
Tippett has already said he’s going to take the best players to make the team, regardless of their NHL experience. “I have no problem playing young players,” Tippett said. “We’re just looking for players who are good enough to make us a better team.”
McDavid Good to Go
Not a couple of weeks ago, GM Ken Holland said that McDavid would maybe get into one preseason game. Well, McDavid is in the lineup on Thursday for his second preseason tilt.
This is a great sign for the Oilers because it means McDavid felt good after his first game and is itching to get into another one. On a side note, Rishaug of TSN reported that Mark Giordano checked in with McDavid after his injury last season and a couple of times throughout the summer. Obviously, Giordano wasn’t solely responsible for McDavid getting hurt but he was part of the play that saw McDavid get injured and cared enough to check in.
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.”