Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan is treating the team’s goaltending competition like a baseball manager would treat their pitchers in training camp and pre-season. He wants to give Cam Talbot, Ben Scrivens and Anders Nilsson all time in pre-season so they can get into the flow of things.
“We’ve got to give them the chance to find the rhythm, feel good in the net, their movement, their motion, get their confidence level up,” said McLellan. “Pitchers usually don’t evolve until well into training camp. We need to get each of these pitchers, or goaltenders, a chance to feel that a little bit. We’ll now go full games. Cam will start tonight and then Ben will get a game and Anders will get a game as well. We’ll go full games unless something is going wrong or injuries, but that’s what the plan is. So by the time we get through to Sunday, each of them has experienced a full game. They’ve had half games now, they’re starting to feel a little bit better in the net and then we’ll just keep working on it.”
So Talbot will start against the Jets tonight, while Scrivens and Nilsson will each play one of the games in Winnipeg on Friday and in Saskatoon (vs. Minnesota Wild) on Saturday.
The Oilers first group is on the ice for morning skate at Rexall Place. This lineup is not confirmed as the one that will play against the Jets tonight, with Head Coach Todd McLellan saying Tuesday, that the team would blend players from both groups to make their game roster.
Lineup for A appears the same as Tuesday.
GROUP A FORWARDS:
GROUP A DEFENCEMEN:
GROUP A GOALIES:
Nilsson, Scrivens and Talbot.
- IN FOCUS | Grouping Up
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
- PRACTICE RAW | Darnell Nurse
- PRACTICE RAW | Taylor Hall
- PRACTICE RAW | Griffin Reinhart
Hockey is back in session and Griffin Reinhart is happy to be back in the swing of things.
Reinhart, who played the Oilers split-squad pre-season game in Calgary, felt the excitement in the air from both the fans and the players themselves.
“Everybody’s excited to get back into hockey season again,” he said.
“They’ve waited all summer, it’s finally here and the emotions are high, everybody’s excited, there are a lot of guys trying to make teams and make impressions out there so I think it was expected.”
It was a slow start, with more penalties than points on the board, but the Oilers turned the play around after falling behind 1-0 and pulled through to a 3-1 victory.
“It was pretty fun. I mean, it’s what’s expected,” said Reinhart.
“A lot of physical play out there, everybody’s first game of the year for them, except for some of the younger guys I guess, but it was a fun to get your legs back under you and go from there.”
With two pre-season games out of the way for the Oilers, Reinhart felt good about his performance, but knows that there is always room to grow and improve as a player and as a team.
“For the guys that were here last year, and guys that are going to be on this team, I think this gives them a good head start to work together,” he said.
“But I know, because I’m here right now, I’ve still got a lot to prove and I know there’s a bunch of guys chasing me, so if I’m not playing my best hockey then I wouldn’t be here.”
Two pre-season games down, six to go.
With exciting performances in each city, Edmonton swept the Calgary split-squad games with a 4-2 win on home turf and a 3-1 win in the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Each game showed team strengths and weaknesses.
Taylor Hall, who stayed and played in Edmonton Monday night, finally had a chance to play with his teammates at a higher calibre of play and with a new coach behind the bench.
Leon Draisaitl, who scored the game equalizer at Rexall Place, pulling the Oilers out of their losing funk and setting them on the path to their 4-2 victory, was one player in particular that stood out.
“Last year you saw him use his body and really drag guys with him and you saw signs of that, but I think this year he’s starting to really learn how to do that full time and he’s got such a big frame, he can really skate well once he gets going,” said Hall.
“He’s a guy that seems a little bit more mature this time around and if he keeps playing well he’s going to be in a good spot. He’s another great kid that we have in our organization that we expect a lot from.”
Having already experienced Coach Todd McLellan’s coaching style at the Men’s World Hockey Championships, Hall said that players — and even fans — won’t be left in the dark regarding team work-ethic expectations.
“There’s a lot of transparency with how practices have to be with what he expects from certain individuals,” said Hall.
“I can’t speak for everyone in the room but it seems like he’s gotten face time with a lot of guys on the team and, like I said before camp, from what I witnessed at the Worlds, he’s going to be very vocal on the bench and you’re going to know where you stand.”
The Oilers are on the ice for practice this morning at Rexall Place.
The forward lines are:
Teddy Purcell is not on the ice for the start of practice.
Darnell Nurse is not on the ice.
Talbot, Nilsson & Scrivens
Ethan Bear (Seattle – WHL)
Ben Betker (Bakersfield – AHL)
Caleb Jones (Portland – WHL)
Loik Leveile (Cape Breton – QMJHL)
Alexis Loiseau (Bakersfield – AHL)
Connor Rankin (Bakersfield – AHL)
Ty Rimmer (Bakersfield – AHL)
Marco Roy (Bakersfield – AHL)
Cole Sanford (Medicine Hat – WHL)
The Oilers training camp roster now includes 50 players (5 goalies, 16 defencemen and 29 forwards).
- THE PANEL | Presented by Sport Chek
- IN FOCUS | Camp Day 4
- CAMP RAW | Peter Chiarelli - Day 4
- CAMP RAW | Eric Gryba
- CAMP RAW | Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- CAMP RAW | Oscar Klefbom
- Peter Chiarelli - Camp Day 4
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Camp Day 4
- Eric Gryba- Camp Day 4
- Oscar Klefbom - Camp Day 4
2015 first-overall pick Connor McDavid obviously came into training camp with some big expectations from both the Oilers and the fans. He’s shown that chemistry doesn’t take too long to develop, gelling nicely with his linemates early, especially Taylor Hall.
Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke to the media on Sunday for the first time since camp opened and had good things to say.
“He makes a lot of plays,” said Chiarelli. “His play without the puck has been good. I’ve been very happy with him and that line looks very good, including Ted on the other wing. He makes good plays. He’s fast and he’s had some back-checking and he’s been good with that. Every time he has the puck he makes a good play.”
McDavid, unofficially, scored two goals and added an assist in Sunday’s scrimmage in Leduc.
The Oilers announced Sunday morning that they locked up defenceman Oscar Klefbom long term.
Klefbom, 22, figures greatly into the organization’s plans for the blueline moving forward. He was inked to a seven-year extension.
“He’s a big, strong kid. He skates well, he moves the puck well, he defends well,” said Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli. “I saw him play in the Worlds and at that high level, he’s a very good player. I know he’s only had 70-something games in the NHL but there’s a lot to like about him, on both sides of the puck.”
Chiarelli had some really high praise for the potential of Klefbom and gave an indication of where the Oilers believe is ceiling is.
“He’s a top-four D and he’s going to be a top-two D at some point,” said Chiarelli. “He plays a real responsible game and he moves the puck. We project on him but we’re fairly confident on it.”
Klefbom has just 77 NHL games under his belt since being taken 19th overall in 2011.