Oilers News & Rumors: McLeod, Yamamoto, Konovalov, McDavid, More

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, head coach Dave Tippett has decided to shuffle his forward group ahead of Saturday’s game versus the Calgary Flames, promoting a couple of younger players in the process. There is news the Edmonton Oilers are on the verge of signing a goaltending prospect, and Connor McDavid is still on a quest to reach 100 points in a 56-game season. Can he do it?

Oilers Switch Up Top-Six Forward Group

A few reports, including one by Jack Michaels of Sportsnet and 630 CHED note that Tippett has shuffled up his top-six ahead of Saturday’s game versus the Flames. Dominik Kahun is off the line with Connor McDavid and Jesse Puljujarvi, and the Oilers will move Kailer Yamamoto up to the top three to play with Leon Draisaitl and McDavid. On the second line will be Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, newly-recalled Ryan McLeod and Puljujarvi.

Kailer Yamamoto Oilers
Kailer Yamamoto, Edmonton Oilers, Oct. 21, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Tippett commented on Yamamoto playing with Leon and Connor:

“He’s been solid. As far as scoring and capitalizing on opportunities, I think he’d like to be a little farther ahead than he is. His game is a solid game, he’s a smart player, plays hard in the guts of game and is very reliable in a lot of situations. His game has been solid and I think the offensive part of his game, he would like to contribute a little more.”

When it comes to McLeod, the Oilers wanted to give the new guy a look. “We’re just trying him there tonight,” Tippett said of McLeod’s promotion to Line 2. “We’re going to try to work him around the lineup and see where the best fit for him is.”

Broberg on His Way to the Oilers

It sounds like defenseman Philip Broberg is leaving Sweden now that his club team Skelleftea is out of the playoffs and will be making his way to North America and will try to join the Edmonton Oilers. A tweet, from Rasmus Kagstrom (translated to English) reads: “A number of players are now leaving Skellefteå AIK – including Philip Broberg (no direct bang, perhaps). What I hear is that Oilers wants him over as soon as possible to North America – and it’s not to play AHL hockey.”

Philip Broberg Oilers Draft
Philip Broberg, Edmonton Oilers, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers

There’s not been a ton of talk about Broberg this season but there are still high hopes he can be a big part of the Oilers blue line corps in the future. He saw his ice time towards the end of this season drop which has some concerned. Others are saying his injuries played a key role in his limited minutes.

Oilers to Sign Konovalov

Reports surfaced Friday that the Oilers were close to signing a contract with goaltending prospect and 22-year old Ilya Konovalov. He was drafted 85-th overall in 2019 NHL draft by Edmonton and had a 48-40-9 record in three seasons in he KHL with a .930, .912 and .923 SV% respectively.

This signing would give the Oilers Stuart Skinner, Olivier Rodrigue and Konovalov in their system and three solid goalie prospects via the draft. Some have made a comparison in his style of play, build and athleticism to Anton Khudobin of the Dallas Stars, but there is also some concern about his being an over-ager and being taken in the third round of the draft that year.

McDavid Race to 100

He was on pace for 100 points and then the game against Calgary on Thursday set things back a touch. McDavid will need to have a big outing on Saturday night in the double-header of Hockey Night in Canada to get back on track. Really, is anyone doubting he’ll do so?

If Tippett is playing him with Draisaitl all night long, who knows what these two could produce over the course of a full game. I’ll place the over/under at three points and go out on a limb and say he gets four.

Draisaitl’s Ice Time

Unless the game is extremely close, we’ll also go out on a limb and suggest that Draisaitl doesn’t play 28:49 seconds again like he did on Thursday. For whatever reason, it seems like he got stuck out on the ice for long periods of time as he played a ridiculous amount of the game in only 24 shifts.

Just to give you an example of the discrepancy, McDavid played 23 shifts and had 23:37 on Thursday. That’s a difference of more than five minutes with one extra shift.