Morning skate: It’s crunch time

Derek Leung/Getty Images North America

It has been such an exciting camp, depth has emerged on defence as well as the left wing. The biggest head-scratcher has been the right side. Caggiula and Puljujarvi have been handed golden keys essentially to make an impact, yet there hasn’t been much from the two, other than that great game alongside Puljujarvi for McDavid. I’m surprise Jesse isn’t getting another look tonight, I honestly think he’ll spend some time down on the farm, it’s not a bad thing.

The big surprise? Yamamoto is making a push to be that right winger slotted alongside McDavid. Over the last week, we’ve seen McLellan throw the lines into a blender because it seems like at times they’re struggling to find offense, ahem the Carolina game at home. We’re headed into the final preseason game tonight with a much different look on the top 6 from the first preseason game, it’s the last chance for some of these guys to show their stuff to the Oilers brass before opening night.

In net

It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but more than likely Cam will be between the pipes.

The blue line

Klefbom – Larsson
Russell – Benning
Nurse – Gryba

This is likely the opening night six for the Oilers. Fayne and Auvitu are sitting at home tonight. I’m a big fan of Auvitu’s offensive upside, but he can be scary at times without the puck or in his end. Gryba is the more sound defenceman of the two. Fayne can start packing his bag, the Oilers will bury him in the next few days, I hope.

 

Upfront

Maroon – McDavid – Draisaitl
Lucic – RNH – Yamamoto
Caggiula – Strome – Jokinen
Khaira – Letestu – Slepyshev

As stated before McLellan has made some changes from the opening game of camp. He has reunited Draisaitl with McDavid, I’m sure many fantasy owners are cheering that this line stays together for Wednesday. Nuge has taken Draisaitl’s spot as pivot on the second line and Yamamoto has taken Caggiula’s.

Poor Jokinen has been paired with the “dog house players”, I’m guessing it’s because he seems like a sound babysitter. Strome is a natural centre and showed on Wednesday in Saskatoon he’s capable of playing that role. Caggiula will switch to the left side from the right, he needs a big game tonight in my opinion.

Slepyshev makes his debut tonight after that ankle injury sidelined him from camp. I love this guy, he can play totally different roles and never complains. Khaira exploded out of the gates for the start of camp doing everything he needed to do to make the opening night roster but has since disappeared from the radar. It’s just like last season, he was called up and looked great, then began to coast as he thought he had solidified a spot on the roster. He hasn’t shown enough consistency to be in the opening night lineup, in my opinion, I think Pakarinen will be slotted here on Wednesday.

 

What do you think of the line changes? Let me know by shooting me a tweet @nooorzy

 

 

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