Leon Draisaitl has grown a lot in a year. 365 days ago, Draisaitl was a rookie first-round pick finding his way in the NHL. His first stint in the League lasted just 37 games. Flash forward to the 2015-16 season, and Draisaitl has returned to the NHL on call-up with the Oilers, finding a new level of production in his first three games.
In three games this season, Draisaitl has three goals and four assists for seven points. He had just two goals and seven assists in all 37 games last season.
Nugent-Hopkins says Draisaitl looks different than last season.
“Just the way he’s always moving his feet,” said the Oilers centre. “I think when you first come into the league you can kind of stand around a little bit. I was a culprit of that when I first came in. You kind of watch the play a little too much and try to let it develop. Now, he’s always moving, he’s always getting to the loose pucks and stuff. He’s creating offence for our whole line and obviously he has that touch, he can make things happen, so it’s paying off.”
Hall and Nugent-Hopkins have both benefited from having Draisaitl on their right side. Both extended their point streaks to six games on Tuesday, while Hall has eight points (2-6-8) and Nugent-Hopkins has five points (2-3-5) in the last three games with Draisaitl on their line.
With Connor McDavid going down with a long-term upper body injury on Tuesday night, Draisaitl could be relied upon more heavily in the coming weeks. The natural centre has been playing on the wing, but could be asked to move back to the middle now that the Oilers are down a man. Jordan Eberle (shoulder) has been skating with the team and his return could be sooner rather than later, which would give the Oilers more options in their top six.
Head Coach Todd McLellan was non-committal after Tuesday’s win over Philadelphia on whether or not he’d move Draisaitl to centre saying he has played well on the wing. McLellan said the line combinations would become more clear Wednesday at practice.
It was a hard fought battle from the Philadelphia Flyers but in the end the Oilers pulled away with a 4-2 win.
“I thought we played well. Obviously the first period they outshot us quite a bit but…I thought we had a pretty good period,” said Philadelphia Flyers Ryan White.
“Obviously we want the shots to be better but we’re not about shots we’re about winning. I thought we took another step in the right direction but we didn’t get the two points again.”
After bouncing back from a 1-0 deficit at the end of the first, the Broad Street Bullies ended up with a 2-1 lead at the end of the second frame.
White said that there are still a few wrinkles the Flyers need to iron out in order to see the positive results they’re fighting for.
“I think we need to be better defensively still. We’re still throwing too many pucks away — we’re just not a confident group right now. I think, when this team’s confident, we’re winning battles and making great plays and going from there. Right now we’re winning battles and almost giving them right back to them in their own zone again.
“It’s tough when you’re not winning, you get a little bit fragile, but we have to get it together here and figure out what we need to do better, just calm down and get back to playing hockey.”
2015 first-overall pick Connor McDavid went down late in the second period with an upper body injury after getting tangled up with two Philadelphia Flyers players and crashing into the boards. He did not return to the game for the third period.
Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan had little specifics on the prognosis, other than it is expected to be a long-term injury.
“He’s got an upper body injury that’s going to keep him out long term and he’s being evaluated right now with the doctors,” said McLellan.
McLellan said the team will continue to evaluate and more information will be provided in the morning.
“I can tell you it’s going to be long term and he’ll be out for a while,” said McLellan.
Oilers players reacted to the injury after the 4-2 win.
“It didn’t look too good,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “I just feel bad for him. He’s been playing so great, putting the work in and it’s just an unlucky play like that. You just kind of feel bad for him.”
“That’s tough. The kid is playing real well for us,” said Matt Hendricks. “I’m not sure what the exact details are of the injury. Glad he was able to get off on his own two feet. He’s in a little bit of pain. It’s hard for teammates to see a guy go down like that, but at the same time we had other guys step up and kind of relish the opportunity.”
McLellan said he saw McDavid after the game and told him to “keep his head up.”
“He’s disappointed he got injured,” said McLellan. “It’s his rookie year. Things are going really well and he wants to be part of the group, which he still will be but he’s just not going to wear the uniform for a little while. I have a 19-year-old and I can’t imagine how he’d feel if he were in the NHL, his first year, and he got hurt.”
McDavid is second on the team in scoring with 12 points in 13 games this season.
The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have activated winger Matt Hendricks off injured reserve.
Hendricks, 34, has appeared in five games this season, posting one assist, six penalty minutes and a plus three rating.
The Oilers also announced they have placed winger Lauri Korpikoski on injured reserve.
BLOG POSTS & FEATURES
- FEATURE: Hall & McDavid recognized for fast starts
- BLOG: Hendricks & Reinhart closing in
- BLOG: McDavid named Rookie of Month
- BLOG: Monday practice updates
- BLOG: Hall is NHL's 3rd star of week
- INBOX: Three questions
- PRACTICE | Monday at Rexall Place
- INJURY UPDATE | Matt Hendricks
- INJURY UPDATE | Griffin Reinhart
- PRACTICE RAW | Taylor Hall
- PRACTICE RAW | Connor McDavid
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
Matt Hendricks and Griffin Reinhart were among the recently injured to participate fully. Reinhart was paired with Eric Gryba, while Hendricks skated on the third line with Mark Letestu and Teddy Purcell.
“I don’t really have an exact date,” said Hendricks. “I think it’s coming along well so I would guess pretty soon. Today was the best day I’ve had so far. I think having a day off yesterday and being able to just rest it, no rehab on it, no putting it in the skate, no real grind on it at all, it’s come along well. Hopefully here the next game, tomorrow or the next game after that.”
Hendricks suffered a cut on his ankle from a blocked shot and has not played since October 17 in Calgary. Reinhart’s undisclosed injury has kept him out of the lineup since October 18. He has been activated off IR.
“I’m pretty anxious to get back out there,” said Reinhart. “It’s not fun when you have to watch, but I think you can learn a lot from being up there and you see how much time and space you have and there’s a lot of time and space you have. There’s a lot of different parts to the game that look different up there than they do on the ice. I learned from that, but I’m obviously pretty excited to get back in a game.”
If either of these players are available, it would signal the need for a roster move. Reinhart’s return would mean shuffling a blueline that includes a couple young players who are battling to stick in the lineup. Reinhart is one of them.
“If Griffin can play tomorrow, there’s some question marks with the other guys,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We’ll see how they feel after practice today but we’re getting deep and we’ll have to make decisions there.”
The NHL has named Oilers centre Connor McDavid the Rookie of the Month for October.
McDavid leads all rookies in scoring this season with five goals and seven assists, for a total of 12 points. McDavid saw his point streak come to an end on Saturday against Calgary. He had been riding a streak of seven games with at least one point.
In October, the 2015 first-overall pick posted three multi-point outings.
McDavid leads a rookie class that has some firepower to it. Arizona’s Max Domi has 11 points in 11 games, including five goals. Chicago’s Artemi Panarin has 10 points in 11 games and five other players have seven or more points on the season.
McDavid is second on the Oilers in scoring through 12 games.
The Oilers are on the ice for Monday’s practice at Rexall.
With the first few rushes, the lines looked as follows:
Defensive Pairings at Practice:
Oilers winger Taylor Hall has been named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week.
Hall is currently the team’s leading scorer with 13 points through 12 games. He is tied for the team lead in goals (5) with Connor McDavid.
For the week beginning on October 26 ending on November 1, Hall recorded seven points (2-5-7) in three games.
Hall has points in five straight games, including his three-point night on October 31 against Calgary. In that five-game span, Hall has three goals and six assists for nine points.
They say the third time’s a charm.
For Calgary Flames forward Michael Frolik, that was the case for him tonight when he scored the game-winning goal for his team and walked away with a hat trick.
“There was battle and I kind of came there for help and a little bit with the battle there too and just try to shoot it and it went in. Kind of a lucky goal but it was a big one,” said Frolik.
The right-winger, who scored his first two goals in the first period, said he felt that the Flames effort was a hard fought battle against the Oilers.
“I felt like it was good. I think they kind of came back but we kind of stuck with it. It was a big goal and hopefully this is going to get us going and hopefully we keep it rolling.”