The Oilers are hoping that 21-year-old defenceman Martin Marincin is the real deal. They took him in the second round, 46th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
After playing the past four seasons in Oklahoma City with Barons, Marincin earned his first call up to the NHL earlier this season. This is his second stint with the Oilers, and he has shown improvement since his initial time in Edmonton.
“He’s more assertive,” said Head Coach Dallas Eakins. “I think when you get that first one you’re nervous, you don’t dare want to make a mistake and I think you play hesitant a lot of times. When we sent him back, Craig (MacTavish) and I sat with him and gave him a very clear outline of what we needed him to be better at and most of it comes from being assertive and playing like he does in the American League.
“He’s come back and he’s done that for the most part. He’s got a lot of growing to do, he’s got a lot to learn about the game, but the thing he gives us back there is size. He’s not a heavy guy yet. He still looks like boy but his range with that stick, he can get us out of trouble with that long, long range.”
At 6-foot-4 and 188 pounds, the Oilers are hoping Marincin can develop into a big defenceman that they need on their blue line.
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins says he has a plan for rotating his two goaltenders. Ilya Bryzgalov has started six of the last eight games for the team, but that doesn’t mean he has overtaken Devan Dubnyk as the team’s number one netminder.
“No,” Eakins said when asked if Bryzgalov was the number one based on his recent stretch of starts. “It just means he’s played six of the last eight. Both of our goalies are more than capable of being the number one guy. (Dubnyk) has already had a lot of starts. We’re just trying to get Bryz up to speed. I think he’s earned his starts and it’s important to get a guy like him some workload now. His body is ready for it and we’ll see how he reacts.”
Bryzgalov made 24 saves in tonight’s 5-3 win over Tampa Bay. Dubnyk has 10 of the Oilers wins this season in 30 games while Bryzgalov has three in his 12 games.
Oilers winger Jordan Eberle returns to the lineup after sitting out one game with a knee injury, following a run in with Logan Couture in San Jose.
“It was awkward,” said Eberle of his collision with Couture. “I just tried to step up and hit him and just felt my knee tweak a bit. I think the adrenaline of the game kept going. I felt all right to play then the next day, it hit me. Like most injuries, it was really, really sore. It’s tough to sit out, but you kind of get a (different) perspective from up top and I’m happy to be back.”
In 43 games this season, Eberle has 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points, which is tied for second on the team.
37-year-old Ryan Smyth seems to have found the fountain of youth this season. He is not only able to keep up with the speed of play on the ice, but has been a solid forward for the Oilers this season. It is all thanks to his preparation on and off the ice, which has allowed him to continue to perform.
“Over the course of the year, he’s been solid,” said Head Coach Dallas Eakins. “I think when you get up in the late stages of your career, you really start to focus in on everything that’s going to make your body churn. What you put in it, how you’re going to train and all of those things. He made a real big commitment to that this summer.
“He’s helped us on the penalty kill. I’ve tried to utilize him where he’s best on our power play. He’s one of those guys that is willing to go stand right in front of the net and take a beating. He’s been a solid guy and a guy that the rest of our group needs to look at how he carries himself in the community and how he carries himself with our fans. He’s a pro and we need a lot of our guys to emulate that.”
Smyth has six goals and eight assists in 34 games this season. He has already bettered his totals from last season, as he finished the 2012-2013 campaign with two goals and 11 assists in 47 games.
Slepyshev, Russia's captain, had four shots on goal and a minus-one rating. Yakimov was an alternate captain and had an even rating with one shot.
The Oilers announced that they have assigned centre Anton Lander to the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons.
Both Oilers prospects at the World Junior Hockey Championship are currently playing for Russia -- Anton Slepyshev and Bogdan Yakimov. On Saturday morning, the Russians lost to Sweden 2-1 and will now play the loser of Canada vs. Finland for the Bronze Medal.
Neither player had any points in the game. In terms of plus/minus they both had an even rating. Slepyshev had three shots on goal and Yakimov had two.
Slepyshev is tied for the team lead in points with seven. He has two goals and five assists and is +7 with 16 shots on goal.
Yakimov has a goal and an assist, is +2 with nine shots on goal.
As per the lines the Oilers used during pre-game warmups in Anaheim, Ales Hemsky moves up to the second line.
Hall-RNH-Perron, Yak-Gagner-Hemsky, Smyth-Gordon-Jones, Gazdic-Arcobello-Joensuu. Ference-J. Schultz, N. Schultz-Hunt, Marincin-Petry.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) January 4, 2014
Tonight will mark the NHL debut of defenceman Brad Hunt. Hunt has been leading the way in Oklahoma City among blueliners with 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) in 27 games. He also has a +1 rating and 14 penalty minutes.
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins talked about the recall, stating that he expects to play Hunt with a veteran defender.
“We are planning on giving Huntsy some experience to play with. We’re going to try that. We’re still kicking it around, but we may put him with Nick Schultz to start,” Eakins remarked.
“It’s an exciting time for Huntsy. I thought he had an excellent camp. I think it was the game in Vancouver he played and I thought he was excellent. I’m sure he’s excited to get his feet wet.”
Hunt echoed his coaches comments, stating that he was very excited to play his first career NHL game tonight.
“It’s an awesome, awesome feeling,” he said. “It’s my first time and you don’t really know what to expect when you get that call. It was really neat and I’m really excited.”
Hunt was asked if he felt like he would get that chance to come up to Edmonton, being an older prospect at age 25.
“I’m a firm believer in that you control the things that you can control. I just try to work as hard as I can and don’t really read too much into that kind of stuff. I guess it’s good to see all those guys down there, too, start to mature a little bit.”
Hunt has a history with Oilers GM Craig MacTavish. When Hunt broke into the AHL after completing his senior year at Bemidji State University in 2012, he signed a tryout contract with the Chicago Wolves. MacTavish was head coach of that team.
“After my season was over I got an opportunity to go there and Craig was the coach. I got to know him and he got to know me,” Hunt began. “We had a pretty good relationship down there and I played really well. That really helped me to get that AHL contract with the Wolves the next season.”
Hunt had a goal and five points in 14 games with Chicago and added a goal and four more points in five playoff games.
“It was a really good opportunity for me. He really gave me the opportunity to show that I was able to play in the American League. I’m so ecstatic right now to be here, I can’t find any words.”
The Oilers announced this morning that they have recalled defenceman Brad Hunt from the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL.
Hunt, 25, has never played a game in the NHL. This season he leads all Barons defencemen with 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) in 29 games. Hunt has a +1 rating and 14 PIM.
Philip Larsen, who has been out with an illness, was placed on the IR.
Phillip Larsen moved to IR to make room for Hunt call-up. Hunt has 3-12-15 in 27 GP in OKC and is +1— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) January 3, 2014
Spoke to Brad Hunt he sounds very excited. Doesn't know if he is playing tonight. Has been playing right side all season.— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) January 3, 2014