The lone Oilers prospect participating in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship is 2014 fourth-round pick William Lagesson. The defenceman plays for Sweden, and we will have updates on his performance as the tournament unfolds.
SWEDEN 8, SWITZERLAND 3
Looking to avenge last year’s fourth-place finish in this tournament, Sweden made their presence known in their opening game. The Swedes pounded Switzerland 8-3, with seven different skaters recording goals for the junior Tre Kronor.
Lagesson was given an assist on Sweden’s sixth goal, which put them up 6-2 over Switzerland at 12:50 of the second period. That score chased Swiss goalie Gauthier Desclo who was replaced by Joren van Pottelberghe.
The Oilers defensive prospect moved the puck up to his own blueline. A Swiss player tapped it, but it was picked up by Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson who took it all the way to the net, scoring a beautiful goal alone on Descloux.
Lagesson finished the game +3 with that assist.
Canadian-born Swedish forward Alexander Nylander had three assists. His brother, William, finished the game with a goal. Dmytro Timashov finished with two goals, an assist and five shots on goal. He was named Player of the Game for Sweden.
Swedish goaltender Linus Soderstrom only faced 18 shots for the game. Switzerland was outshot 39-18.
Sweden now plays the United States on Monday at 7 a.m. MT.
- BLOG: Friday Practice Updates
- BLOG: McDavid skating in Edmonton
- BLOG: New-Look Top Unit
- Audio & Video from Practice
- PRACTICE | Friday in Denver
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
- PRACTICE RAW | Jordan Eberle
- PRACTICE RAW | Leon Draisaitl
- PRACTICE RAW | Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
The Oilers have hit the ice at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Practice has just begun in Denver, but real possibility that RNH centres Hall & Draisaitl. Hendricks between Purcell/Eberle.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) December 18, 2015
There has been some shuffling of the lines. Matt Hendricks is between Jordan Eberle and Teddy Purcell. Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl are centred by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Iiro Pakarinen and Lauri Korpikoski are with Mark Letestu. Luke Gazdic and Jujhar Khaira are centred by Anton Lander.
Stay tuned for more updates.
- OILERS TODAY | Sunday in Boston
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
- PRACTICE RAW | Taylor Hall
- PRACTICE RAW | Eric Gryba
- PRACTICE RAW | Brandon Davidson
- RAW | Peter Chiarelli
The Oilers have hit the ice for practice at Boston University’s Agganis Arena.
Klinkhammer, Nikitin and Pouliot are also skating.
The player the Oilers have this year in Leon Draisaitl is different than the wide-eyed rookie they drafted third overall in 2014.
Now Draisaitl has Oilers fans opening their eyes wide with some of the plays he has been making on the ice in his second season. Draisaitl has 22 points in 19 games when he had only nine in 37 last season.
A lot of his on-ice improvements this season boil down to his training this summer and what he did to ready himself for NHL competition.
“I think we’re seeing more of (his playmaking and speed) as the year goes on because he’s more confident,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “I remember coming to the summer camp and watching some of the scrimmages. I think Connor (McDavid) has six or seven points in a summer scrimmage and Leon was doing this or that, and I remember making the comment ‘Leon spent a lot of time bent over, resting.’ I don’t see that anymore. I don’t see it in practice, I don’t see it in games, but I did see it in the summer. I did send him a couple texts throughout the summer and told him to think about the end of a shift. Not just the beginning of a shift, but what are you doing at the 35-45 second mark. Train like that. I think he’s done a good job of that.”
Draisaitl took his coach’s advice and challenge to heart and attacked it, making him into a much more dynamic player this season.
“I think it’s a reflection of his character, his passion for the game,” McLellan said of Draisaitl’s path for self-improvement. “They do it for themselves, first of all. They want to play in the NHL, they want to excel as individuals, but it’s also important for the team and he’s done it. I think he would have done it the year before too but he didn’t know. He came to training camp and he didn’t know how fast you have to be or how strong. He was junior strong. Now he knows.”
Jordan Eberle went through a six-game stretch without a point, but since then the Oilers winger has goals in three straight games, helping the Oilers to four straight wins.
“I feel good out there,” said Eberle. “I feel confident. I think, obviously, if you put the puck in the net, you feel a lot better. Just the little plays, I feel like I’m starting to make a lot more. It’s been fun here the last little bit of homestand, contributing and helping the guys win.”
Eberle began the season a bit behind his teammates as he sat out until November 6, with a shoulder injury. Now, Eberle feels like he’s finally getting up to speed.
“It was frustrating, and not something I’ve really been through,” said Eberle. “The experience I learned there will hopefully help me down the road. Hopefully, I don’t have to go through an injury again. I know the kind of player I can be. I can try to help the team win. It’s nice that it’s finally starting to come.”
Oilers winger Benoit Pouliot has been out of commission since the Oilers game in Toronto on November 30. He’s missed four games, but he is back on the ice with the team as Thursday was his first practice since the lower body injury occurred.
“Feeling pretty good,” said Pouliot. “Some days weren’t as good, but now the past two days have been very positive. That’s two days in a row I’ve been on the ice. I went on my own yesterday and I went today with the team and I felt very good. There’s still some stuff that I didn’t work on, on the ice, physical-wise, but I feel better.”
The injury happened when Pouliot was hit and fell awkwardly. He experienced some swelling and pain. Now he is cleared to practice and is working to get back some conditioning.
“You can do as much bike or things in the gym as much as you want, but once you get on the ice you feel way different than in the gym,” said Pouliot. “Conditioning wise, it’s not the same at all. You get hit out there, you stop and start and different stuff like that. I think I still need to work on that. I haven’t been on the ice as much… It’s a process. It’s a thing I need to work on. We go on the road, which is a pretty long road trip and I’ll have time to work on that for sure.”
The Oilers are on the ice for practice this morning at Rexall Place. Teddy Purcell is absent. Benoit Pouliot is back skating with the team, as is Andrew Ference. Nikita Nikitin, who was recalled this morning from Bakersfield, is not out there yet.
Stay tuned for more coverage later this morning, including video interviews.
The Oilers 4-3 overtime win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday marked their fourth straight victory and fifth straight at home. They didn’t get the win “the easy way,” as their head coach admitted after the game.
Thursday night was a game full of momentum swings. There were fights, there was pushback, and if one team scored the other answered.
“I liked our pushback,” said Oilers forward Jordan Eberle. “I think that’s number one. The best part of our game tonight was our pushback. We found a way to get another one. When they scored, we found a way to tie it. I thought when we needed to, we were there and we found a way to get two points. That’s all that matters.”
Some of the Oilers players in the locker room were left wanting more after the game, given the excitement and the wild changes and turns of the night.
“It was a fun game to be in, to be honest with you,” said Leon Draisaitl. “The crowd was in it, obviously, and it went up and down. We had momentum, then they did. I think it’s huge for us to get another win and finish off the homestand here.”
Iiro Pakarinen conceited that the team didn’t play its best game of the season, but was happy they could ride out the momentum shifts and get another victory.
“If we can win maybe a little bit worse game than usual and if we can beat a team like that, that’s a good sign from our team,” said Pakarinen.