Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan surely has a timeframe in mind for when he wants to have camp decisions made and a roster formed. However, it’s going to take time. That in mind, sooner is still better.
“The quicker the better, for myself as a coach and for our staff,” said McLellan. “We’ve got a lot of new players here that we need to get to know and we’ve got to figure them out fairly quickly. We’ve got to look for chemistry and the fewer people in camp, the better. We also have a number of (pre-season) games to play. We’ve made a number of commitments to some young men that have made commitments to us to come here and we have to give them the opportunity. The sooner the better but, with that being said, fair.”
McLellan says fans and media will be able to make assumptions fairly quickly on line combinations and the direction the roster is going.
“We’ll have a break in camp very quick where it becomes somewhat evident of what our plans are, as far as divvying up teams between NHL and the AHL,” said McLellan. “That doesn’t mean we’ll be set in stone. There will be players that move from the B Group into the A Group, if you want to call it that, on a regular basis, on a daily basis, so we can see them interact. It will give us an opportunity to begin to put our game in place well before that last week of opening day.”
As for line combinations and defensive pairings, the organization has a rough template but it’s fluid.
“Obviously, we have lines and pairings that we’re going to start training camp with,” McLellan said. “We’ve tried to do as much homework as we can and look at chemistry issues and who plays well in situations but that will change rapidly. Everybody will arrive at camp and I’m counting on them to be prepared and be in good shape and ready to go but that doesn’t always happen. Players will earn more ice time and others will lose ice time as it goes along. And we’ll look for chemistry.”