With the injuries to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and now Sam Gagner, the Edmonton Oilers are looking to fill holes in their roster and are evaluating players across the board.
There will continue to be shuffling to the forward lines, but one trio is sticking together for the time being.
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins was asked if he's given any thought to breaking up the top line combination of Ryan Smyth, Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky. He has not.
“No, not right now,” said Eakins. “I like that line. I think it’s been our best line in training camp. You’ve got Taylor and Hemsky with great speed which covers Smitty off a little bit. I’m not sure there’s a better guy on our team on the wall than Smitty. He’s able to get pucks out. There’s maybe not a better guy on our team that’s willing to go to the net. So then Hall and Hemsky can do a lot of the cycle game knowing that we’ve got somebody there.”
NURSE LEARNING FROM VETS
Rookie defenceman Darnell Nurse has the right attitude. The seventh overall pick in this year's draft is doing his best impression of a sponge, soaking up all of the tips and strategies from the Oilers veterans that he can.
“I think that’s one of the best parts of coming to camps like this,” said Nurse. “I get to sit back and absorb as much as I can from these guys not only on the ice but in the room. I ask them questions about their game and their strategies and what they do on the ice as well as their lifestyles too.
“That’s really the biggest benefit of coming to camp. Just being able to learn and develop yourself not only as a player but also as a person.”
Veteran Andrew Ference has particularly been an influential player for Nurse and gave him this advice.
“Just go out there and play your game. I am in this situation for a reason and not change as a player, it’s just based on where I am.”
LARSEN HAVING STRONG CAMP
Flying under the radar in camp is defenceman Philip Larsen. The Denmark native was acquired in a trade that sent Oilers former captain Shawn Horcoff to the Dallas Stars.
Larsen has played in three games for the Oilers this pre-season, scoring a goal and adding two assists.
Last night against the Winnipeg Jets, he had five blocked shots in a 2-1 win.
“It was a fun night,” said Larsen. “I think we played good. There’s always things you can improve on but overall, I think it was a good game and it was important that we won the game.”
Larsen is pleased with his performance so far in camp.
“I think it’s been going good so far. My legs feel good out there and even when you have a new (defensive) partner every game, I think it still feels good. Everybody is talking with guys and helping each other. So far, it’s been a fun camp.”
OILERS TRIM ROSTER BY ONE
The Oilers placed forward Linus Omark on waivers this morning for the purpose of assignment to Oklahoma City.
“Well obviously, we didn’t see enough for him to un-seat somebody in that forward group," said Eakins. "I think he took too much on by himself. It’s clear that we want you to compete and there are all these things that go into the game. But a guy like that is going to have to put up some numbers and he wasn’t able to do it."
-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com
4 Taylor Hall 14 Jordan Eberle 28 Ryan Jones 41 Will Acton 48 Ryan Hamilton 51 Anton Lander 55 Ben Eager 57 David Perron 62 Mark Arcobello 68 Tyler Pitlick 83 Ales Hemsky 94 Ryan Smyth
2 Jeff Petry 19 Justin Schultz 36 Philip Larsen 74 Darnell Nurse 77 Anton Belov 81 Taylor Fedun
1 Jason LaBarbera 40 Devan Dubnyk
8 Darroll Powe 14 Taylor Pyatt 15 Derek Dorsett 16 Derick Brassard 19 Brad Richards 20 Chris Kreider 21 Derek Stepan 22 Brian Boyle 24 Ryan Callahan 28 Dominic Moore 32 Micheal Haley 36 Mats Zuccarello 45 Arron Asham 61 Rick Nash 62 Carl Hagelin 67 Benoit Pouliot
4 Michael Del Zotto 5 Dan Girardi 6 Anton Stralman 17 John Moore 18 Marc Staal 27 Ryan McDonagh 44 Justin Falk 47 Aaron Johnson