In today’s news and rumors on the Edmonton Oilers, Ken Holland spoke about just how much preseason time Connor McDavid will get, there are updates on the odds any players will attend training camp on a PTO and updates on the buzz surrounding Patrick Marleau being looked at by the organization. What’s the latest on Jesse Puljujarvi? Will Evan Bouchard make the team?
McDavid Might Get One Preseason Game
When it comes to franchise centerpiece Connor McDavid, the Oilers clearly aren’t prepared to play him in more games than is absolutely necessary while he rehabs his injuries.
While the expectation is that McDavid should be good to go, Holland also said that if his captain isn’t ready for the first game of the regular season, the Oilers will sit him. In short, it appears Holland is preparing everyone for the fact that as the organization plays things slowly and safely, McDavid could miss game action. If he does, fans shouldn’t be overly concerned since the Oilers and merely being cautious.
Holland Comments on Puljujarvi
When asked about his seemingly disgruntled forward, Holland said of Jesse Puljujarvi, “I believe there are teams out there that are interested.” But, he made sure to stand pat with his take that the team won’t simply trade him for lesser value or force a deal. “If it’s there I’ll explore it. If it’s not, I am prepared to sit” he said.
Puljujarvi continues to show well but there’s not been much chatter about a trade happening or being closer to happening over the past few days.
Oilers Make Training Camp Cuts
The Oilers have announced their first round of training camp cuts already and there aren’t any real surprises in the group. These are mostly rookie invites that tend to go before the veterans show up for camp.
Players who were cut include Jaxon Bellamy, Ethan Cap, Liam Keeler, Brendan De Jong, Steven Iacobellis & Jakub Stukel.
Interest in Marleau Gone?
As Elliotte Friedman points out in his latest 31 Thoughts article, there were reports last week that Edmonton had an interest in Patrick Marleau. Friedman no longer believes this is something that will happen.
It appears the Oilers are set to give shots to the youth on this team and Marleau is likely not interested in signing a PTO anywhere. That said, he might not have a lot of options so this isn’t a story that is going to simply disappear. It will be worth watching how Marleau’s take on his value in the NHL changes and if Edmonton is on his radar.
Any Other PTO’s for Oilers?
It was mentioned by Holland that he doesn’t see the team really doing much in the way of professional tryouts at this year’s camp. Holland’s exact words were “not right now, no.”
This doesn’t mean that a PTO is completely off the table. Holland isn’t ruling out someone coming and Jim Matheson reports that Holland says he has talked to Russian right-winger Anton Burdasov’s agent Ritch Winter and that if the 28-year-old KHL player wants to come to Edmonton, he would have to take his shot on a PTO.
Holland’s Philosophy on Young Players Making Team
When asked about Evan Bouchard and his chances of making the Oilers, Holland said something very interesting that can be applied to any youngsters in this organization from here on in.
“My philosophy is, I’ll say to a coach, ‘You’re playing tomorrow. Tell me who’s in the lineup.’” He added, “If a young player is not in the lineup, he’s going to the American League. If he’s in the lineup, we have a further conversation about where he fits.”
Holland is suggesting that unless there’s a situation where the Oilers absolutely need to play someone because he’s the best option and the coach would slot him in the lineup if given the choice, that player won’t be sticking around the NHL. “I’d rather make the call during the season to call the player up, than to make the call during the season to send the player down.”
It’s a breath of fresh air for a lot of Oilers fans who aren’t used to hearing management has that kind of mentality.
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.”