The Oilers have taken the ice at Rexall Place for Monday’s practice.
The line combinations are as follows:
The Oilers announced today that they had assigned centre Leon Draisaitl to the Canadian Hockey League.
“We wish Leon the best in going back to junior,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “The short time I had to work with Leon was a pleasure. I thought his game improved over the time that he was here and it’s a good opportunity for him to hone his skills and be a better hockey player and a more confident guy.”
Draisaitl 19, played in 37 games this season for the Oilers, scoring nine points (2-7-9). Nelson spoke about the roster decision and gave his thoughts on what Draisaitl needs to work on back in junior.
“In the case of Leon, I thought his foot speed through the neutral zone got better and that’s one thing he has to continue to work on but also developing the confidence to find the back of the net,” Nelson said. “He has that ability, he’s a great passer, I’d like to see him shoot the puck more but that goes for everybody in that locker room, we want to shoot the puck more. It’s just a few things to touch on. We talked to him about that and that’s what he’s going to work on.”
The Oklahoma City Barons have won seven-straight games, making it the nine victories in their last 10. Their record of 23-7-2-2 and 50 standing points put them at first in the Western Conference and tied for first in the American Hockey League. As their former bench boss, Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson is pleased with their continued success but doesn’t believe they’ve even hit their peak.
“I guess they got rid of the cancer down there or something,” Nelson laughed. “They’re doing a great job down there. Gerry Fleming, I talked to him last night and I’ve watched a few of the games, and they’re playing excellent hockey. They’re doing things the right way and they’re playing with confidence. They’re getting good goaltending and they’re just playing very solid hockey. By no means do I think they’ve reached their peak. They’re just playing very confident and they’re playing a very good team game.”
Nail Yakupov has nine points (4-5-9) in 39 games this season. Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson talked about where Yakupov, 21, is at in his development right now and where the forward needs to show improvement in his game.
It involves shooting the puck more and having closer puck support.
“I think he’s working hard,” Nelson said. “He’s trying to execute the things we think he needs to work on. Once again, we want to get him in a position where he can shoot the puck but it comes down to playing with decent structure and also, in the offensive zone, once again we want to see more shots going to the net. I think we’re passing up shots as a team but Nail too wants to pass the puck when he has it. I’d rather see him shoot the puck at the net and be hungry for rebounds. One thing we’re trying to work on with him is just having closer support with guys in the corner with the one-on-one battle, to go there and help out. Right now, he’s kind of playing off a bit and waiting for that pass. I think with close puck support he’ll get the puck more. But I think from the time that I’ve been here he’s been trying these things and I think it’s improving. I think his game is improving and it’s still a work in progress.”
Klinkhammer, 28, has played in 139 NHL games with Chicago, Ottawa, Arizona and Pittsburgh. He’s scored 39 points (20-19-39) and recorded 35 penalty minutes.
He has three points (1-2-3) in 10 games for the Penguins this season.
Perron played 116 games for the Oilers in two seasons, scoring 33 goals and finishing with 76 points (33-43-76).
More information to follow.
Since Craig MacTavish and Todd Nelson took over the Oilers bench, Justin Schultz has recorded four points in his last five games. The offensive side of his game appears to be coming around and that’s what MacTavish says is most noticeable.
“My assessment of Justin is he’s doing what he does well much better now than he has,” the Oilers general manager said. “There are still deficiencies in his game. There are plenty of examples of that. But I’m pleased with the way he’s jumping up to open ice and his contributions offensively. There was a period this year where he was ineffective offensively and ineffective defensively and that’s a bad combination, but he’s playing with much more urgency in his game offensively, which is the strength of his game.”
Schultz has played 35 games this season, recording 15 points (3-12-15) and four penalty minutes.
Tonight will be Todd Nelson’s first game as interim coach without Craig MacTavish on the bench. The Oilers GM says it was the right time to step back and let Nelson take the reins.
“I just feel like the transition is the right time now,” MacTavish said. “Coaching is not a place for two captains and I think Todd has directed the team and changed the lines the last couple of games. I offer to support him as best I can but it’s time for him and I’m comfortable now that he’s got a familiarization with the personnel and I think it’s time for him to put his mark on what he can do with this hockey club.”
Nelson said the transition period helped him feel more comfortable with the personnel but he’s ready to take the next step.
Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish stepped in front of the media on Tuesday to recap yesterday’s moves, which included claiming Matt Fraser off waivers from Boston. MacTavish hinted that the club has had interest in the winger for quite some time, and their familiarity with his production in the minors sealed the decision to snag him.
“Our guys have had a lot of interest in Matt over the years,” MacTavish said. “He’s had some success against Todd that’s been well-documented over the last 16 hours or so. I remember when I was coaching in the American Hockey League and he was playing in Texas, he had success against us too. He gives us an element that we don’t have in abundance and that’s a shot. We’ll see if he can get some traction here.”
The Oilers are on the ice for Tuesday's morning skate. The line combinations are as follows:
The defensive pairings:
Leon Draisaitl, who missed yesterday's practice due to illness, is on the ice.