It was a sleep-easy night that turned into a stressful day for a lot of Edmonton Oilers fans. After the team won their opening game on Wednesday versus the Vancouver Canucks, they got awful news about one of their top-four defenders. What did the coach learn about that win? What did he share about the injury? Fans were all ears as Dave Tippett discussed what he liked and did not like about the home opener, then what the team plans to do about their blue line.
Also, there is news on the trade status of Jesse Puljujarvi and for fans who want to see Taylor Hall return to the Oilers, don’t hold your breathe.
Here we go:
Tippett Liked the Oilers Level of Compete
Coach Dave Tippett said after the game on Wednesday that he wasn’t a fan of how often the Oilers allowed chances against, but he did like their level of compete throughout the game. Turnovers in the neutral zone and an inability to get the puck out almost killed them but they found a way to squeeze out a win.
He called Oscar Klefbom steady, said Ethan Bear was strong, and had a few good things to say about other players like Mike Smith and Connor McDavid. Leon Draisaitl’s and Zack Kassian’s game spoke for themselves, each with three points, and one player Tippett wanted to get in more but couldn’t based on the way the game shaped up was Gaetan Haas.
Puljujarvi Status in Edmonton
Ken Holland told media during a scrum before Wednesday’s game that there wasn’t much in the way of progress when it came to Jesse Puljujarvi and the Oilers finding him a new home. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman added to reports that there might be noise coming out of the New York Islanders organization in respect to Josh Ho-Sang. He linked the Oilers to those rumors.
Could there be a fit where Puljujarvi goes to NYI and Ho-Sang comes to Edmonton? Now 23, Ho-Sang is talented, and there is some history with Connor McDavid from their Toronto Marlboros days but the Oilers would likely be asking for more. Ho-Sang for Puljujarvi isn’t a fair deal for the Oilers.
Simply put, Puljujarvi is a top-end draft pick who could still have a bright future in the NHL. Ho-Sang has proven he’s not likely to be an NHL regular.
Draisaitl to Be Better Than Last Season?
It’s hard to imagine how he does it but Leon Draisaitl is a player that looked like he’s dedicated to upping his numbers from last year. He was a horse in Wednesday’s game, scoring a goal and two helpers, and there were stretches were he dominated. He was likely the best player on the ice for either side.
Is he just scratching the surface of what he’s capable of? That first game was a great sign of things to come. He was named an assistant captain before the game. Fans should expect big things out of him this season and to put to shame his ranking in the Top 50 by NHL.com.
It was also noteworthy that McDavid didn’t appear to be his regular self but could still be a difference-maker when it mattered.
Major Lineup Changes Already
The Edmonton Oilers announced today that they have assigned defenceman Ethan Bear to the Condors & recalled defenceman Evan Bouchard from Bakersfield. The team has also placed defenceman Adam Larsson on Long Term Injured Reserve.
TSN’s Ryan Rishaug: “Sounds like a roster shuffle with Bear and Bouchard for LTIR purposes. We’ll get details when Tippett talks… Larsson blocked a few shots last night, one nasty one in particular. LTIR for a top pairing defenceman is not ideal for this team, already thin on top 4 guys.”
Reports TSN’s Darren Dreger on Larsson: “Looks to be a serious ankle injury.”
One game in and the Oilers are down a d-man. That’s not good news. Don’t expect there to actually be much in the way of roster changes. Bear isn’t going anywhere.
Hall Likely Not Returning to Edmonton
For fans who were hoping to see Taylor Hall back in an Oilers uniform at some point, the news out of New Jersey isn’t great. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall has given his agent, Dan Ferris, permission to work on a contract extension with the team during the NHL’s regular season.
Speculation is that Hall likes the direction the Devils are headed in and has an interest in working out a contract extension with the team sooner than later if the money’s there.
This comes after some hiccups in communication where reports were the Devils and Hall were working towards a new deal but Hall later revealed no numbers were exchanged and Hall was never in a room with Devils management talking extension.
There is still a chance a new deal can’t be worked out based on financials and that Hall elects to test free agency, but the chances of Edmonton being part of his future seem to get slimmer with each passing day.