After a brief holiday break, the Oilers have returned to Rexall Place following a weekend of back-to-back division rivalry games.
Back at home base, the Oil hit the ice focused and prepared to improve on their power play, which has a 17 per cent success rate on the season.
“The thing for us is, you want to be able to generate momentum; we don’t want to create momentum for the other team by giving them opportunities or just chasing the puck back and forth and just wasting energy,” said Jordan Eberle.
With a new weapon in d-man Brad Hunt joining the line-up, Head Coach Todd McLellan says that this is an opportunity for him and the team as a whole to expand on what needs fixing.
“We have a need right now and he’s the ingredient that fits the need,” McLellan said of Hunt’s presence on the point.
“What it can’t be is just be Brad Hunt’s power play; it has to be the Oilers power play. Everybody has to have a piece of it and they have to take that responsibility. I see our group right now, because of lack of success, it turns from a team thing more into an individual thing, guys wanting to go one-on-one, trying to do too much — sometimes being too cute and we need to fix it. It’ll take a little time but we’ll get it there.”
Though he was prevented from joining the Oilers in Calgary on Sunday, Brad Hunt sounds like he’s prepared to make up for lost time.
“I just want to help the team with whatever they need help with,” said the defenceman. “I just want to play my game, what’s been making me successful down [in Bakersfield], and get pucks to the net and hopefully the boys can bang ’em in.”
In 26 games with the Condors, Hunt has scored six goals and added 17 assists for a total of 23 points — leading the AHL team.
Hunt’s performance with the Oilers AHL affiliate has remained steady as the Condors navigate player absences themselves due to injuries and Edmonton recalls. Bakersfield currently has a 13-11-2-1 record.
“A lot of change with injuries and guys getting called up but that’s just the way it is,” he said. “The team’s done a great job fighting through that and getting a couple of wins after Christmas break so they can go into the New Year with a little bit of confidence.”
It was a delayed plane that prevented Oilers recall Brad Hunt from joining Edmonton’s line-up in Calgary Sunday night.
The five-foot-nine, 187-pound defenceman, called up from the Bakersfield Condors, said he hoped to make an impact and contribute in the Battle of Alberta game before he was suddenly prevented from doing so.
“I was pumped,” said Hunt. “I was all ready to go — ate properly throughout the day — and then got on the plane and get off the plane and still in Denver.”
Mechanical issues with the plane caused his flight to be delayed a number of times until the airline decided to cancel it altogether.
Hunt said that as the day wore on he recognized that he wouldn’t be playing that night, but managed to focus on the positives.
“I mean at least it was at Denver airport where there’s lots of good places to eat,” he joked. “I watched [the game] a little bit on my iPad on the NHL app but I just saw the first period and then I got on the plane right to Edmonton, so I couldn’t watch it on the plane.”
The Oilers have hit the ice for practice at Rexall Place.
Power play seems to be a focus this morning. The units are as follows:
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 1, USA 0
Sweden continued its hot start to the 2016 World Junior Championships with a 1-0 win over the United States.
USA outshot the Swedes 46-23, and controlled large portions of play. However, goaltender Linus Soderstrom had a perfect performance in net, shutting out the Americans.
Alexander Nylander scored the game’s lone goal at 2:41 of the second period. He was assisted by Dmytro Timashov and Gabriel Carlsson.
Oilers prospect William Lagesson finished the game with two penalty minutes.
Sweden looks to stay undefeated when they play Denmark on Wednesday at 7 a.m. MT.
Read Press Release | Career in Photos | Laurikainen recalled | Bio & Career Stats
The Oilers have acquired forward Zack Kassian from the Montreal Canadiens, in exchange for goaltender Ben Scrivens.
Kassian, 24, was taken 13th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft. He has played 198 NHL games for the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks, scoring 35 goals and adding 31 assists and 307 penalty minutes. He has played eight NHL playoff games.
The Windsor, ON native has been involved in two previous NHL trades. Buffalo sent him to the Canucks in 2012, in exchange for Cody Hodgson. On July 1, 2015, Montreal acquired the forward and a fifth-round pick from Vancouver, in exchange for Brandon Prust.
The physical forward’s best NHL season, production wise, came in the 2013-14 season with Vancouver. Kassian posted a career high 14 goals and added 15 assists for 29 points in 73 games. He also had 124 penalty minutes that season.
Kassian played his junior hockey for Peterborough and Windsor. He won a Memorial Cup with the Spitfires in 2010 and captured a silver medal at the 2011 World Junior Championships.
It was a much better game for the line of Benoit Pouliot, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said that he's feeling some frustration with the fact that some games certain lines are flying and other games it's other lines.
“We don’t have the rhythm or chemistry in our team right now that we need,” said McLellan. “We find one line and lose a line or find a pair and lose a pair (of defencemen). We have to get home now and get some rest and try to find all 20 players going at the same time. We’re not deep enough or strong enough to just get through with a line and a half or two lines going.”
McLellan this morning called out Pouliot saying that he has to play better and certainly Pouliot responded with an excellent game, including a pair of goals.
“I had a talk with Benny. It wasn’t a screaming match or anything, I just told him what I thought of him as a player and tried to get to him a little bit. I thought he had a much better game tonight. That line played well. It was easily our best line. He found a way to produce, which is a good thing for him and us.”
The head coach also changed up the power play units in an effort to try and shake things up offensively.
“Tonight we went with some new units and tried to mix things up. We didn’t get many opportunities but the shorthanded goal didn’t help our cause at all,” he said.
Edmonton only has one power play goal in its last seven games which has included 17 opportunities (5.8%). They've allowed two shorthanded goals in that time. McLellan said that the recall of Hunt was to try and help spark a struggling power play but due to delays, Hunt did not make it to Calgary from Bakersfield in time for the game.
“We were expecting Brad to come in. Obviously not being able to arrive changed things,” McLellan said. “He’s going to meet the team in Edmonton tomorrow. He’ll practice with us. I think he has the ability to help our power play from the back-end. It’s an area that we’re really struggling in right now.”
The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have recalled defenceman Brad Hunt from the American Hockey League's (AHL) Bakersfield Condors.
Hunt, 27, has appeared in 27 games with the Condors this season, recording 23 points (6G, 17A) and eight penalty minutes. Hunt leads Bakersfield in scoring and assists.
The Ridge Meadows, British Columbia native has posted three points (1G, 2A) in 14 career NHL games with the Oilers.
The Edmonton Oilers also announced defenceman Brandon Davidson has been placed on Injured Reserve.
Extras: Khaira, Klinkhammer
Defence pairings were jumbled but these were the combinations most often used:
Ryan Miller, who left the Canucks game on December 20 in Florida during the shootout, will not play tonight. Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins stated that he will be out longer than he thought, estimating a week.
Chris Tanev is also out after not skating this morning. Chris Higgins skated this morning, as did Brandon Sutter (before the team), but neither will play tonight.
No Ryan Miller on the ice for the Canucks, meaning Markstrom will start vs Oilers.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) December 26, 2015
Jacob Markstrom gets the start in goal for Vancouver.