Oilers News & Rumors: Russell, Keith, Broberg, Draisaitl

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, Kris Russell is on the verge of breaking an incredible NHL record and could do so Saturday night versus the Vegas Golden Knights. Meanwhile, defenseman Duncan Keith is questionable for the game, which is good news and bad. Philip Broberg has played well, but has he earned the right to stick in the NHL when the Oilers get healthy and what does Leon Draisaitl think his chances are of hitting 50 goals in 50 games?

Russell Set to Break NHL Blocked-Shots Record

Considering Russell entered the NHL as an offensive defenseman, it’s amazing to think about how an undersized blueliner completely reinvented his game to the point he’s likely to break the NHL record for blocked shots on Saturday night versus the Golden Knights.

Kris Russell Oilers
Kris Russell, Edmonton Oilers, Oct. 21, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Russell sits at 1997 blocks in 889 games. Brent Seabrook currently holds the record at 1998 blocks in 1134 games. He was asked about the record heading into tonight’s action and hinted that he’s not paying close attention. “They keep bringing it up, asking if I’ve got it yet,” Russell laughed. “They’re usually the ones checking the game sheet to see how many I have.”

Russell might have taken longer to break the record, but because of injuries to Darnell Nurse and Duncan Keith, he’s getting big minutes playing regularly for the Oilers on their left side.

Keith Questionable for Saturday

Keith is still dealing with an upper-body injury as is listed as day-to-day. This is good news and bad news. If he can’t go Saturday, the Oilers will have to try and beat a team that is starting to roll with a number of wins and do so without their top-three left-side defenseman. The good news is that this isn’t a long-term injury and Keith shouldn’t miss much more time.

Has Broberg Earned the Right to Stick Around?

When Keith does come back healthy, the question of what happens with the Bakersfield call-ups will be front and center. It’s likely William Lagesson goes down first between him and Philip Broberg. But, what about when Nurse returns? Has Broberg played well enough in his short stint to warrant a longer look?

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

The Oilers couldn’t have asked for more from Broberg in the time he’s been up here. It wasn’t expected he’d have to play this many minutes but he’s looked good in doing so and made an argument that perhaps his time is now. Allan Mitchell of The Athletic suggests there could be an unexpected move. He writes: “It’s also possible Broberg will get sent back, but his fine performances with the Oilers might force a trade or waiver move (likely Koekkoek) or a trip to the injured list for Russell.

Related: Oilers Have Trade Targets in a Penguins Fire Sale

Mitchell also writes that if the Oilers need more reinforcements from Bakersfield on the left side of their blue line, the next likely options are Markus Niemelainen, Dmitri Samorukov, and Filip Berglund.

Edmonton is well stocked with defencemen, and several are knocking at the door. It’s a good problem to have, and the Oilers have time to pick the best future available to them. Expect several auditions like the one we’re seeing in Edmonton with Broberg.

source – ‘Lowetide: The Oilers’ prospect pipeline has produced 2 call-ups on defence already this season. Who’s next?’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 11/27/2021

Draisaitl Chasing 50-in-50?

The way Draisaitl is scoring these days, 50 goals in 50 games is a realistic thought and there have been a number of questions about whether or not he can do it this season. He was asked and responded that he didn’t think all of these goals would keep going in at the rate they are now.

He also noted that it’s not about the individual stats for him. He’s been there and done that and that he’s trying to help the team win games. His job as part of that formula is to score and he’s doing everything he can to help in his way. When asked about what he thought about the goal-per-game pace he’s on, he sarcastically laughed at the question suggesting there’s no way he’s ever going to score 82 goals in 82 games.

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