The reaction in the press box of Rexall Place was unanimous. Leon Draisaitl, the third-overall pick in this year’s draft, is playing himself into that second-line centre spot to start the season. The big, talented 18-year-old hit a couple of posts, and was making plays all over the ice.
After scoring 105 points last season in the WHL with Prince Albert, his offensive skills are coming to light here at the NHL level. But it is Draisaitl’s willingness to learn that stuck out to his head coach.
“He showed some great flashes of what he can do,” Dallas Eakins said after the game. “There were some learning points in the game as well. The one really good thing is our young players are not shy on the bench, they’re asking questions, and he was doing that when he wasn’t sure. He showed some flashes.”
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins provided some updates on injured defencemen Andrew Ference and Jeff Petry. Ference injured his right arm in the pre-season game against Chicago, while Petry has been nursing a shoulder wound.
Both appear to be getting better.
“Petry continues to get better, which is a good sign,” Eakins said. “He’s out there, he doesn’t have any pain shooting the puck anymore so he’s moving along nicely, which we like. Ference was out there. He rubbed some dirt on that injury, it’s sore still, not ready to play but he’s able to get through the practice part.”
"There's a subsection in the CBA that defines prior season. When we looked at it, it looked like Vlad fulfilled all the criteria to sign a Standard Player's Contract," MacTavish began. "He went through the draft -- 30 teams had a chance to draft him -- and he played the prior season in North America, which he did in Moncton.
"But when you go down two paragraphs further, in another subsection of article 8, it defines 'prior season' as a complete season. Vlad had played some games in the KHL and that went unnoticed."
MacTavish added that he felt bad for Tkachev, who had three points in his three NHL games, handling himself well against some tough competition.
"I feel bad for the player because he played so well and he was so excited to be offered an NHL contract," MacTavish remarked.
The unfortunate part for the Oilers was there was no way that he could have signed with Edmonton or any other NHL team, for that matter.
"We didn't miss a deadline or miss an opportunity to sign him but we thought we had the opportunity," the GM stated.
Tkachev's agent also thought that there was an opportunity for Tkachev to sign with an NHL club.
"I spoke with the agent and he read the clause and then stopped reading after it looked like he was eligible."
The Oilers announced Tuesday afternoon that Vladimir Tkachev's contract has been ruled ineligible by the National Hockey League.
Vladimir Tkachev's Standard Players Contract has been ruled ineligible by the National Hockey League.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) September 30, 2014
Travis Ewanyk (Oklahoma City - AHL)
Mitch Moroz (Oklahoma City – AHL)
Jordan Oesterle (Oklahoma City – AHL)
Dillon Simpson (Oklahoma City – AHL)
Andrew Miller has been placed on waivers for the purpose of assignment to the Oklahoma City Barons.
Tuesday's line combinations for the first group are as follows:
#Oilers 1st group: Hall-RNH-Yakupov, Perron-Draisaitl-Eberle, Pouliot-Gordon-Purcell... D: Marincin, Klefbom, Aulie, Fayne, Nikitin, Schultz— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) September 30, 2014
The second group hit the ice as follows:
#Oilers 2nd group looks like: Tkachev-Yakimov-Westgarth, Hendricks-Khaira-Pitlick, Pinizzotto-Acton-Joensuu, Gazdic-Arco-Lander— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) September 30, 2014
Jeff Petry skating for a second consecutive day. No Andrew Ference, still healing a banged up right arm.— Tom Gazzola (@TomGazzola) September 30, 2014
The Oilers may have a blueline battle brewing. Brad Hunt, 26, was a Second-Team AHL All Star last season. He scored 50 points (11-39-50) in 66 games with the Oklahoma City Barons. He played three games on a call up with the Oilers.
Now Hunt is making an impression on the Edmonton staff.
“You cheer for guys like Hunt,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “He loves playing hockey and he can play, that kid can play. He’s shooting on the power play, he’s ready to tee it up. He’s not deferring to others, he knows when to move the puck, he knows when to jump in the play and he turned out to be an excellent partner for Darnell. I thought Darnell was good, I thought Hunt was excellent.”
Hunt scored nine power play goals last season in OKC. Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson called him the team’s, “top power play guy.”
The power play is just one tool in Hunt’s arsenal, but it’s up to him to keep playing well if he wants to stick.
“That would be in his back pocket for sure. He can do it. He’s going to have to push his way in with 5-on-5 play, but tonight Hunt showed that he can play at this level of play right now.
Pitlick scored a goal, that was eventually disallowed. He played 17:32, including just over six minutes on the power play and some time on the penalty kill. He finished the night with one shot on goal and four hits.
“It was fun to play with him,” Hall said. “It seemed like he was comfortable playing his game and that’s how you want to make guys feel when they come on a line with you. We had a few chances. There was a lot of power play time tonight so it was a bit tough to really shore our game, but for the most part I felt he played well.”
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins also felt Pitlick played well.
“I thought he played good,” Eakins said. “We talked about it this morning that it was a bit of a reward for him. He was a factor in our last game (against Winnipeg) and he did his job tonight. He went up and down the wing, supported those guys, we got him a little power play time too to see how he could handle it. We thought he had a good game.”