EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers took to the ice for their morning skate today with two newcomers. After claiming Matt Fraser off waivers from Boston and acquiring Derek Roy in a trade yesterday, the two skated with their new team for the first time.
“I think anytime there is a trade or you add new bodies it provides more energy for the rest of the team,” Oilers interim coach Todd Nelson said. “It gives you a bit of a new look, it’s not the same personnel that you’re dressing every night. I think it’s always been healthy in the past if you see a trade made and getting new people in the lineup. I think it’s exciting and provides energy for the players.”
Roy was skating between Nail Yakupov and Teddy Purcell. Fraser was on the right wing with David Perron and Leon Draisaitl.
“That’s what we’re going with tonight and hopefully they have chemistry with them,” Nelson said.
Other lineup notes: Nikita Nikitin looks like he will return to the lineup tonight, paired with Justin Schultz. Based on this morning’s skate, Ben Scrivens will start in net for the Oilers.
NELSON TAKES THE REINS
Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish will no longer be on the bench during games as Nelson takes over as interim coach.
“It’s not a huge deal for me,” Nelson said. “It’s a situation where I got to work with Mac for five games I think and it was a good experience, but I’m ready to take the next step.”
MacTavish was on the bench assisting Nelson for the last five games. It gave the GM an opportunity to get a different perspective of the personnel, while evaluating Nelson and his comfort level on the bench before eventually returning to full-time management responsibilities.
“I think it was more comfortable definitely,” Nelson said of the transition period. “I think it was good from MacT’s perspective to evaluate me as well and also get a good handle on the personnel in front of him. From my standpoint, it was I guess more comfortable.”
Now taking over the reins completely, Nelson says it is good for the team to have that one voice and coach to follow.
“I think so. I think there’s more clarity. The players know that I’m the head coach and I have a directive and this is the way we’re going to play moving forward. I think it’s easier for the personnel to accept the buy in of what we’re having to accomplish, versus maybe mixed signals.”
NEWCOMERS EAGER TO HELP
Fraser and Roy both seemed eager to get started with their new clubs, while speaking to the media this morning.
“Coming here and seeing the young talent they have and all the skill and speed out there in practice it’s weird to see that their record is that low,” Roy said. “I’m just going to try and come in here and bring my work ethic and prepare for games. If I can teach them some things that’s great and they’re also going to teach me some things. It’s a work in progress to try and get better every day.”
Oilers winger Taylor Hall says he expects Roy to bring some skill up the middle.
“He’s got a lot of skill. I haven’t seen him play too much in the last little while, but he’s a guy who has produced points in the past and it’s certainly going to bring some skill to the middle of our lineup,” Hall said. “It’s good to see. He’s been around, he’s been on some good teams, some winning teams and hopefully he brings that attitude to our team as well.”
Fraser will bring something the Oilers want more of and that’s a good shot and a willingness to go to the hard areas where greasy goals are scored.
“When I heard the news and when I talked to Mr. MacTavish yesterday, my immediate reaction was that I told him I wanted to be part of the solution and not the problem,” Fraser said. “For me, I’m a hardworking guy. I like going to those dirty areas, get my nose dirty and that’s what I’m going to bring every day.”
QUICK NOTES: Derek Roy has played 692 regular season NHL games in his career, recording 502 points (178-324-502). Roy has 49 games of playoff experience in the NHL, scoring 27 points (7-20-27). Matt Fraser’s best professional season came in 2011-12 when he scored 37 goals for the Texas Stars (Dallas Stars affiliate). Fraser was a teammate of Oilers winger Luke Gazdic in Texas. Ben Scrivens is set to play his 100th NHL game tonight.
-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com
KINGS (18-12-7) at OILERS (7-22-7)
TV: FS-W, SNW
Season series: The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Edmonton Oilers 6-1 on Oct. 14 at Staples Center. Tanner Pearson had two goals and an assist.
Kings team scope: Los Angeles opened its three-game trip through Western Canada with a 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday. Tyler Toffoli scored for the Kings, who have lost five of eight (3-4-1). "The team has got a big bounce-back game [Tuesday] night, right back at it," Toffoli said. "It's probably best for the team to just forget about this one and move right on. That's what we do every night. It doesn't matter if we win or lose; when we go into a new game, it's a new game, new team." Jonathan Quick, who made 13 saves against Calgary, might get the night off given the back-to-back situation. If he does, Martin Jones would make his first start since he allowed six goals on 20 shots in a 6-2 loss at the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 12. The Kings complete their trip when they visit the Vancouver Canucks on New Year's Day before opening a seven-game homestand.
Oilers team scope: Edmonton was busy Monday, acquiring Matt Fraser off waivers from the Boston Bruins in the morning and trading center Mark Arcobello to the Nashville Predators for center Derek Roy in the afternoon. Fraser had three goals and was minus-5 in 24 games with the Bruins this season. Coach Todd Nelson faced Fraser when the 24-year-old forward played for the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League and he was behind the bench for the Oilers' AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City. "He's a guy that can shoot the puck," Nelson said. "I've seen it firsthand when we used to play against Texas and he's scored his fair share of goals against us. I've seen it up close." Roy, 31, has 502 points (178 goals, 324 assists) in 692 NHL games, mostly with the Buffalo Sabres. In 26 games for the Predators this season, he had 10 points (one goal) and an even rating. The Oilers have lost nine straight (0-7-2).