The Oilers may have something in 2013 third-round pick Anton Slepyshev. This is the winger’s first season in North America after playing in the KHL, and he has done nothing but impress so far in training camp and pre-season.
He has played so well that he is now getting time on a line with skilled players, Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall. With Jordan Eberle out 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury, Slepyshev has stepped up to help fill the void.
Head Coach Todd McLellan agreed with the media that he continues to warrant discussion for the opening night roster.
“When I look at his game, and we watched the video again, the video doesn’t lie,” said McLellan. “He did a lot of the things we worked on today in the game (on Thursday night). He’s a young player, but he’s played pro hockey before. You can see it. He’s been around pro players before. It doesn’t matter what league you’re in, you’re just around older players, more mature players and he carries himself well.”
McLellan said earlier in camp that Slepyshev was “opening our eyes” to what he can do. The 21-year-old can fill spots up and down the lineup, with the ability to play a faster, skilled game or a slower, heavier game. McLellan says the winger has the ability to change the dynamic of a line, depending on who he is replacing.