AT THE MORNING SKATE
EDMONTON- The Oilers have cut down their roster by 17 players since the start of training camp, sending seven players back to their junior clubs and assigning 10 to Oklahoma City.
Now the pre-season continues to roll on with Edmonton taking on the Jets in Winnipeg tonight.
NO NERVES FOR KLEFBOM
Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom has been waiting a long time for his NHL debut since being drafted 19th overall in 2011. Injuries have delayed the 20 year-old from achieving his goal, but he gets a chance to step on the ice tonight in his first NHL pre-season game.
“I’m looking forward to this game so much,” said Klefbom. I’ve been preparing myself since last October. It’s going to be very fun to play.”
When asked if there was any nervousness about tonight, Klefbom was adamant that there wasn’t.
“No, I don’t think so at all. Right now, I think my body… It’s like, get into it. My body feels very good. The head feels good, the shoulders feel good so I am looking forward to playing.”
In addition to Klefbom, there are other young players on the Oilers roster making their 2013 NHL pre-season debuts tonight.
Forwards Mitch Moroz and Tyler Pitlick were both held out of Saturday’s pre-season split squad opener due to injuries.
Pitlick was disappointed in missing action on Saturday, but excited to get on the ice against Winnipeg.
“I was definitely looking forward to playing in that one, but I had to be safe and I am looking forward to tonight,” said Pitlick.
“I’m really excited. I had a good summer and I’m looking forward to showing what I’ve got.”
Moroz has sat out of game action this entire off-season after suffering an injury in the Edmonton Oil Kings playoffs last season. This is an opportunity Moroz has been waiting for.
“It’s exciting,” said Moroz. “Obviously, it’s been a longer road than I would have liked. To get a chance to play my first game, it’s pretty exciting and special and I’m looking forward to it, for sure.”
PENALTY KILL PHILOSOPHY
Head Coach Dallas Eakins addressed the way in which he chooses his penalty killers and whether or not he’d sit his best players if they are on the power play already.
“I like the guys that can kill penalties to kill penalties,” said Eakins. “I know some coaches like to say these guys are all on the power play so we have to get someone else to kill penalties. Well, if you’re really good on the power play and are a really good penalty killer, then you’re going to do both.
“The other part of it is if you have your best players killing penalties, and especially the way we’re going to try to kill penalties here, you can suddenly become very dangerous on your penalty kill.”
Eakins added that his philosophy is an aggressive, attack style penalty kill.
“We will be probably as aggressive as you’ve seen.”
-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com
23 Linus Omark
28 Ryan Jones
51 Anton Lander
53 Mitch Moroz
64 Nail Yakupov
73 Cam Abney
89 Sam Gagner
UP FRONT: The Oilers will be sending a team that's younger up front and a bit more experienced on defence tonight in Winnipeg. Linus Omark gets an opportunity on the top line with Sam Gagner and Ryan Jones.
Coach Eakins is giving another opportunity to the duo of Mark Arcobello and Nail Yakupov as they make up line two with Ryan Hamilton on the left side. Tyler Pitlick draws in for his first pre-season action with Anton Lander up the middle and Jesse Joensuu on right wing. Joensuu looked very good on Saturday against Calgary using his size to drive to the net. Oil Kings forward Mitch Moroz sees his first action of the pre-season after missing the Young Stars Tournament due to injury on the fourth line with Ryan Martindale and Cam Abney.
ON THE BLUELINE: The Oilers have some more veteran players on defence with Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry making up the top pairing and Denis Grebeshkov and Philip Larsen on the blueline. Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson make up the third pairing.
KEEP AN EYE ON: After getting his bell rung in last Tuesday's game against the U of A Golden Bears, Oscar Klefbom makes his Oilers pre-season debut tonight against the Oilers.
9 Evander Kane
12 Olli Jokinen
14 Anthony Peluso
17 James Wright
19 Jim Slater
27 Eric Tangradi
40 Devin Setoguchi
48 Carl Klingberg
52 Ivan Telegin
55 Mark Scheifele
58 Eric O'Dell
67 Michal Frolik
3 Jacob Trouba
4 Paul Postma
5 Mark Stuart
24 Grant Clitsome
33 Dustin Byfuglien
71 Julian Melchiori
31 Ondrej Pavelec
32 Eddie Pasquale
UP FRONT: Jets fans get their first look at Devin Setoguchi tonight at the MTS Centre. If practice lines are any indication, he will play alongside Evander Kane and Olli Jokinen.
2011 Jets first-round pick Mark Scheifele also draws into the lineup and he will play with Michal Frolik and James Wright. Frolik also played on Sunday night against Ottawa with Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd.
ON THE BLUELINE: Dustin Byfuglien makes his Jets pre-season debut tonight and is paired with Grant Clitsome. Jacob Trouba also plays his first game of the pre-season at the MTS Centre and will be paired with Julian Melchiroi. Trouba was Winnipeg's first-round pick in 2012 and is well known for his standout performance at the 2013 World Juniors.
BETWEEN THE PIPES: It's expected that Ondrej Pavelec will start with Eddie Pasquale backing up. It is unsure whether Pavelec will play the whole game or Pasquale will come in at some point.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Setoguchi had 13 goals and 27 points in 48 games last season for the Minnesota Wild. He was acquired this offseason in exchange for a 2014 second-round pick. The Jets hope that Setoguchi, 26, will regain the form he had with the San Jose Sharks when he netted 31 goals and 65 points back in 2008-09. He hasn't been able to crack 22 goals since.
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com
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