COLOGNE, GERMANY -- A series of moves on Tuesday finalized the Oilers 23-man roster for the start of the 2018-19 season.
The team signed forward Alex Chiasson and defenceman Jason Garrison, both previously on pro tryout contracts. To further pare the numbers, Kris Russell was placed on injured reserve and Andrej Sekera on long-term injured reserve.
"We wanted the experience. Specifically with Garrison, we're looking at some younger D who may or may not stick around and we wanted that experience in that pairing and he showed well in camp that way," said Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli on Wednesday morning.
"With Chiasson, he won a Cup, he plays the right way. We look at him as a good depth guy. Very reliable. Both have had a lot of experience in the League. My experience with those guys is they can help bolster the back-end of the lineup and both of them are good people with valuable experience."
Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said that adding the veteran experience was key.
"This is our team. Eventually, with players getting healthy, we have to get down a number or two but for our team this is what training camp was all about, to get to this moment," he began.
"The players that we brought in this year were mature players. One has a Stanley Cup ring, the other has been to a lot of championships and played some important hockey. We're excited to have them. They fit our group well. There's the on-ice part and the off-ice part and if you can be effective in both roles, it's important."
Garrison said he did everything that was in his control to make the club.
"Those kinds of decisions are out of my hands. All I can do is control what I do, work as hard as I can and compete and obviously that's a positive," he stated. "Throughout my career I've faced adversity. That's obviously one of the toughest I've been in. I had to remain positive and hope for that opportunity."
The blueliner added that he relishes being a role player.
"It's very important. Everybody has to know their role to be a successful team. That's a key part, too. That includes myself."
BEAR, BOUCHARD MAKE THE TEAM
As of now, Ethan Bear and Evan Bouchard are both on the 23-man roster. Bear was sent down briefly on Tuesday in order to make room for the new Garrison and Chiasson contracts. Once those were finalized, Sekera was placed on long-term injured reserve and then Bear was recalled, with his salary eating into the created space due to Sekera's status.
"You want to get as close as you can to the upper limit before you invoke LTI. That maximizes your long-term injury reserve. By doing it the way we did it, we were $70,000 short of our upper limit and the timing of it was the best way to maximize our LTI," said Chiarelli.
Bear was very proud of his achievement to make an NHL team out of camp for the first time.
"It's definitely a dream come true. Something I've been working for a long time. Pretty happy to be here."
For Bouchard, there's a chance he could become one of a very few number of NHL players who started their career with a game in Europe.
"It'd be pretty special. First NHL game to be in Sweden," Bouchard said. "I've never really been there before so really cool."