The Edmonton Oilers head into training camp with uncertainty at a couple of positions. An influx of depth and talent, as well as exits by some players has created position battles.
“We expect there to be some battling at camp,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “Obviously, there’s going to be some battle down the middle. We have two NHL centremen right now and I have know idea who the other ones will be. That will be for the players to decide.”
The battle at centre will feature third-overall pick Leon Draisaitl, as well as players like Mark Arcobello, Anton Lander and prospects like Jujhar Khaira and Bogdan Yakimov. Centre isn’t the only position where Eakins sees a competition.
The additions of defencemen such as Mark Fayne, Nikita Nikitin and Keith Aulie, along with prospects like 2013 seventh-overall pick Darnell Nurse, 2011 19th-overall pick Oscar Klefbom and Martin Marincin make for an interesting competition.
“We’re obviously going to have a battle on defence. We’ve got some guys that played some games in the NHL last year, we’ve upgraded our D with what I call ‘full-time NHL defencemen’ so there will be a battle going on there. There will also be a spot or two open on the wing we believe. It can only be one. When there is only one spot open, that usually creates a great competition with our players.”