Laurent Brossoit is set to make his first start at the NHL level tomorrow against the San Jose Sharks. The 22-year-old is the Oilers top goalie prospect. He was acquired in a trade on November 8, 2013, which sent Olivier Roy and Ladislav Smid to the Calgary Flames in exchange for the young goaltender and Roman Horak.
Brossoit has been recalled on emergency basis with Richard Bachman being returned to Oklahoma City on loan to join his wife, as they are expecting their first child.
Brossoit had a standout season for the Bakersfield Condors in the ECHL last year, playing 35 games (24-9-2) and posting a 2.15 GAA and .923 save percentage to go along with six shutouts. He also played 16 playoff games for Bakersfield, finishing with a 10-6 record, a .921 save percentage and 2.27 GAA.
Coming up to the AHL, it took time for him to adjust. However, he seems to be progressing nicely now with an increased workload.
“With his progression, last year he had a really good year down in the ECHL and he’s done the same thing coming up in the American League. As I mentioned before, he was a bit inconsistent just as every young goalie is getting their feet wet,” said Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson. “Lately, he’s been controlling his play, he’s been very efficient in net and his progression has been great. He was thrown into a position where he had to play all those games, but that’s great because he got a wealth of experience and I think it’s going to help him tomorrow night.”
With injuries to the big club and Bachman being recalled, Brossoit became the workhorse down in OKC. He has started 25 straight games heading into this call-up. Over the course of that stretch, he has a 2.70 GAA and .915 save percentage. He has averaged 30.68 saves per game in that time.
“It was a very heavy workload for him,” said Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson. “When you play back to backs and three in threes, it takes its toll on everybody, but especially goalies. He’s a big, strong guy, he’s very athletic and he handled it fine. I know for a fact that he’ll be very excited to play tomorrow.”
The Oilers used the 48th overall pick in 2010 to select Curtis Hamilton from the Saskatoon Blades. Hamilton is now expected to make his NHL debut on Thursday, after being recalled from Oklahoma City on emergency basis. Matt Hendricks got a bit “banged up” on Tuesday night against Los Angeles and is “very unlikely” to play.
Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson is very familiar with Hamilton, having coached him for three full seasons and the first half of this year down in the American Hockey League.
“He’s a player that I’ve seen quite a bit of over the last four years,” said Nelson. “He’s matured into a player where he feels more comfortable on the ice. He’s a big body out there, he can play a physical brand and I think he’s playing with a lot of confidence this season. He had a pretty good experience over at the Spengler (Cup), so he’s doing a lot of good things. He got a bit banged up in February, but he’s been playing well as of late and he’s earned his opportunity to come up here and play.”
Hamilton is playing some of his best professional hockey to date, blowing away his previous career high in points with 29 in 60 games this season. That includes 12 goals and 17 assists, also career highs. The 23-year-old winger is 6-foot-3 and over 200 pounds.
The final 2015 NHL Central Scouting rankings have been released and it is no surprise to see who is at the top of the list. Erie’s Connor McDavid and Boston University’s Jack Eichel take the top two spots.
McDavid is regarded as the top NHL Draft prospect since Sidney Crosby was taken by the Penguins, first overall in 2005. Eichel is the Hockey East Rookie of the Year, Player of the Year and Tournament MVP. He is one of the top three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award.
6-foot-3, 203-pound Boston College defenceman Noah Hannifan is third on the list. Erie’s Dylan Strome and Kingston’s Lawson Crouse swapped places from the midterm rankings to round out the top five.
London Knights centre Mitchell Marner came in sixth in the final rankings, jumping from seventh in the midterm.
Click here for the full rankings.
It has been an emotional week for Oilers goaltender Richard Bachman, who left the team to mourn the loss of his brother. Upon his return, Bachman made 25 saves in a 4-2 win over Los Angeles, his third-straight victory.
“What do you say? Everyone has lost a family member. It’s not easy, and how he came in here, was professional about everything and showed up to the rink, you can’t say enough about the guy and his performance today,” said Oilers winger Matt Fraser, who scored twice in the win. “Obviously, you take your time to mourn or whatever, but he wanted to be back here and we’re glad to have him back.”
“Absolutely,” said winger Tyler Pitlick on if he thought the team was playing for Bachman. “Everyone knows how tough it has been for him. To come back like that so quick, we just wanted to play hard for him. I think it was huge for him to have that good game.”
Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson says that Luke Gazdic gave the goaltender the game puck following the victory.
“I was proud of the way the guys played, the way they helped me out tonight. It was nice,” said Bachman. “Especially, with not playing in a week and having pretty much one practice before doing that. So I was super proud of the guys and their effort. I thought they did a great job of matching the physicality of a big LA team. I thought it was great.”
The Oilers took on the NHL’s 10th best (coming into the game) faceoff team, without the help of two of their centres. Without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Boyd Gordon in the lineup, the Oilers went 65% in the faceoff dot against Los Angeles in a 4-2 win.
“I had my match-ups the way I wanted them for the most part,” said Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “I thought our centremen did a great job. It didn’t matter if it was on the strong side or weak side. Taylor was very good in the faceoff dot, actually everybody was. Maybe it was a little fatigue on Los Angeles’ part.”
Tyler Pitlick’s game-winning goal came after a big Lander faceoff win in the offensive zone.
But those youthful blueliners did just fine against the physical Kings, helping the Oilers skate to a 4-2 victory. Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said he thought they played, “outstanding.”
“I liked the battle,” said Nelson. “I liked the way that the big guys back there battled hard. Musil was strong. Everyone of them. Justin Schultz was battling, and it was a situation where our young D made it very difficult to maybe penetrate the net. We talked about winning battles in the corners and we did a great job. All six guys battled hard tonight.”
VIDEO: Monday Practice | RAW: Todd Nelson | RAW: Derek Roy | RAW: Klinkhammer
AUDIO: Derek Roy | Rob Klinkhammer | Todd Nelson
The Oilers have taken the ice for practice at Rexall Place. Richard Bachman has returned to Edmonton, following an absence due to a death in the family this past week. Mark Fayne (shoulder) and Viktor Fasth (knee) are also skating today. Tyler Pitlick is in non-contact yellow.
Forward lines based on jersey colour:
The Oilers took the ice at Rexall Place for Monday practice with Mark Fayne joining his teammates. The defenceman has missed time since March 25, with a shoulder injury.
“It feels good getting out there in practice. It felt a lot better once it got warm so we’ll see where it goes,” said Fayne.
Fayne couldn’t provide a timeline for his return to game action, but his head coach seems to think it won’t be long.
“He’s really close,” said Oiler Interim Coach Todd Nelson. “He had a good day today. Both him and Viktor (Fasth) fall in the same category, where they had a good day. We’ll see how everything reacts tomorrow and then we’ll move forward from there.”
Fayne has played 74 games for the Oilers this season, scoring two goals and adding six assists. The Oilers host the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow night.
Injuries have hit the Oilers defencemen as of late. Veteran blueliners Andrew Ference (concussion) and Nikita Nikitin are not practicing with the team. With Mark Fayne, 27, skating with the team today at practice, the average age of the seven Oilers defencemen on the ice was 23.4.
Take him out of the lineup, like he was last game with a shoulder injury, and the average age of the remaining six is 22.8.
Youth on the blueline can be an obstacle for NHL clubs. For those players however, it is an opportunity to grow and develop. Trial by fire.
“I think it’s great for those guys, getting experience when they’re that young,” said Fayne. “It’s a tough league for a defenceman to come in right away, every game in the playoff season. I think it’s good that they’re starting to get experience now, playing a lot of different positions and a lot of different match ups. I think, as a team, it might be a little tough of a transition when you have so many but this is the time of year to do it.”
The Oilers have taken the ice for morning skate ahead of tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames.