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BLOG: Spooner embracing Oilers excitement

"There's a lot of skill there and their top-six forwards are some of the best players in the world. It's going to be fun to be a part of that," newly-acquired Oiler Ryan Spooner said.

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB ­­- In a New York minute, Ryan Spooner became an Edmonton Oiler.

The forward's focus immediately swapped to the present and the role he can play for his new team and teammates this weekend in upcoming back-to-back games that begin with the first Battle of Alberta of the season in Calgary on Saturday.

A home debut against the reigning Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights follows the day after at Rogers Place

Talk about an introduction.

"I'll be flying in tomorrow [to Calgary] and meeting the team there for back-to-back games," Spooner said. "I'll try to get some rest tonight, pack up, and go from there."

A swap from blue and red to blue and orange hopes to be a welcomed change for the former Ranger, who recorded a goal and assist through 16 games this NHL season.

"At the end of the day, I just wasn't really playing up to my standard," Spooner admitted. "There are no excuses for that, and the fresh start here will do me good. There's a lot of skill there and I think I'll be able to fill in. I'm excited to join them."

Spooner, able to play at centre or wing, brings a versatile game and plenty of speed that can be slotted in seamlessly in the Oilers forward corps. The talent and notoriety surrounding a young Oilers team is an exciting prospect for the former 2010 second-round pick.

"There's a lot of skill there and their top-six forwards are some of the best players in the world. It's going to be fun to be a part of that," Spooner said.

"They started off well there and things are looking good. They have a lot of talent and skill and I'm excited to go in there, help the team, and just bring my skill and my speed. I just want to help out and its exciting times for sure."

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BLOG: Old connections revived for Spooner

The forward was drafted by Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli back in 2010, with Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian providing some familiar faces from his time in Boston and Peterborough.

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - At the 2010 NHL Draft in Los Angeles, then-Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli called forward Ryan Spooner's name on stage in the second round at 45th overall to officially welcome him to the National Hockey League.

Eight years and five months later, now at the helm of the Edmonton Oilers, Chiarelli was the first to call the 26-year-old to welcome him to the Oilers organization, only this time by phone.

"He gave me a call right after it happened and I was surprised," the Ottawa, Ontario product said to "We chatted and I told him how excited I was to get there and he said the same thing. Hopefully I can get back to playing the game I know I can play."

Spooner recorded 41 points (13 G, 28 A) in 59 games last season split between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, including 16 points in 20 games in New York after arriving in Manhattan as part of a deadline-day deal for Rick Nash.

With the Bruins under Chiarelli was where Spooner was also introduced to Milan Lucic, who played a role in helping him adjust to the league as a rookie after playing parts of three seasons with the big man in Beantown. Spooner's former Peterborough Petes linemate Zack Kassian is another familiar face he's excited to reconnect with as an Oiler.

"I actually played on the same line with him for a bit, too," Spooner added. "I was 21 or 22 when I played with him and he was great to me and always positive, so that was definitely something good to see.

"Then I actually played with Zack Kassian with the Peterborough Petes for two seasons when I was 16 or 17. He was my linemate there too. It's been a while, so I'm definitely excited to see him too."

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BLOG: Koskinen to start in Calgary

Finnish netminder will get his first taste of the Battle of Alberta, while Cam Talbot is expected to start on Sunday versus the Vegas Golden Knights

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - The back-to-back starters have been decided.

Mikko Koskinen will man the pipes against the Calgary Flames on Saturday and Cam Talbot will get the Vegas Golden Knights in Edmonton on Sunday.

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan confirmed his starters on Friday before departing for Calgary.

"Two games, we're at home and we're on the road," he started. "One team went to the Stanley Cup Finals last year and the other team is a rival. We just decided that we would play Mikko on the road to experience the rivalry and Talbs at home in the back-to-back."

Koskinen is 4-1-0 this season with a 2.52 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. McLellan expressed his comfort with the Oilers goaltending situation so far in 2018-19.

Video: RAW | Todd Mclellan 11.16.18

"Two goaltenders that are capable of playing any given night," he added. "With all due to respect to the goalie that were here in the past who gave us everything we had, I don't know if we ever got to that point. 

"At this point right now, we feel comfortable playing either of them. Mikko's done a tremendous job of creating a sense of confidence amongst his teammates and staff. That's gone a long way and we know what Cam can do."

The Oilers coach has also been happy with Talbot's body of work in practice late. The netminder is 5-7-1, owning a 3.09 goals-against average and .895 save percentage.

"He's spent a lot of time with Dustin Schwartz, the goaltender coach and they talk about his play, scenarios, reads and then when he does get the time on the ice, he works as hard and as efficiently as anybody we have on our team," McLellan said. 

"That is very encouraging."

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RELEASE: Oilers acquire Spooner from Rangers

The Oilers have acquired forward Ryan Spooner from the New York Rangers in exhange for forward Ryan Strome

by Press Release / Edmonton Oilers

EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers have acquired forward Ryan Spooner from the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Ryan Strome.

Spooner, 26, has played in 289 National Hockey League games, registering 160 points (46G, 114A) and 61 penalty minutes. In 16 games with the Rangers this season, he has scored once and added an assist.

The 5'11", 191-pound native of Ottawa, Ontario is in his eighth professional season, spending time with both the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers. He recorded career highs in goals (13), assists (36) and points (49) with the Bruins during the 2013-14 season.

Spooner was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins in the second round (45th overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft.

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BLOG: Practice updates 11/16

The Oilers practiced at Rogers Place on Friday before departing to Calgary for the first Battle of Alberta on Saturday

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers practiced at Rogers Place Friday afternoon with their sights set on the season's first Battle of Alberta tomorrow in Calgary.

Get all the content from today's skate below.

Video: RAW | Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 11.16.18

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BLOG: Oilers set to play first divisional games

"It's basically a four-point swing in the standings every time you play divisional team. We're ready for it," said defenceman Matt Benning.

by Tony Brar /

EDMONTON, AB - It's been a different start to the season for the Edmonton Oilers.

Along with beginning the year in Europe and already having played 10 games on the road, the Oilers have also yet to play a divisional opponent this season.

That won't be the case for much longer.

The Oilers next game against the Calgary Flames will kickstart a stretch of seven divisional battles over the next eight games - a challenge the players are looking forward to.  

"It's huge. It's basically a four-point swing in the standings every time you play divisional team," said Oilers defenceman Matt Benning following Thursday's practice. "We've had a little bit of rest since last game. We're ready for it."

Video: OILERS TODAY | Divisional Stretch 11.15.18

"The Battle of Alberta definitely gets you wound up and gets you going," explained Head Coach Todd McLellan. "Any time you play a rival, the fans get excited about it and the players get excited about it. Both teams are improving and pushing for a playoff spot (this season).

"I know it's very early in the year but these games become vitally important as they add up throughout the season. Our group will be excited."

For the players, it's not too early to start watching the standings closely, as the U.S Thanksgiving weekend has always served as the first unofficial checkpoint for teams and their respective playoff chances.

"The league is tighter than it's ever been," said forward Zack Kassian. "Even if it's late November, these are important games for our hockey club."

The Oilers will face off against the Calgary Flames, Vegas Golden Knights (twice), San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and LA Kings (twice) in the next seven of eight games. The Dallas Stars match is the only non-divisional game during that stretch.  

Edmonton is currently fourth in the Pacific Division with a 9-8-1 record. 

Video: RAW | Todd McLellan 11.15.18

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BLOG: McLellan gives his core a rest

"If we err at all, we're going to err on the side of rest rather than fatigue," said McLellan

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Thursday's Oilers practice at Downtown Community Rink might have appeared to be an optional skate, given the absence of more than five players. Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan confirmed, after the fact, it wasn't.

The bench boss kept a handful of players off the ice to rest and rehab.

"I didn't make today an optional. I told five players they weren't skating, just to get them the rest," said McLellan.

Those five players included Oilers Captain Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson and Oscar Klefbom. Kris Russell also didn't skate and neither did Tobias Rieder, who will be sidelined for probably a month, per McLellan.

"There are players that have played a lot of hockey and they're going to play a lot of hockey," McLellan added. "We've had some travel - it's the only three-day break we're going to get - and if we err at all, we're going to err on the side of rest rather than fatigue."

Each of the five players absent average more than 20 minutes of ice time a night. Darnell Nurse is also a member of the 20-minute club, averaging 22:03 per night, but he skated on Thursday.

"The three forwards, Connor, Nuge and Leon, they're well over 20 minutes a night," said McLellan. "That's not going to change all year. It was also a maintenance day for a couple of the guys that are beat up."

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BLOG: Rieder sidelined for 'probably a month'

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan provided an update on the forward Thursday

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan provided an update on forward Tobias Rieder on Thursday.

"Tobi's going to be out for probably a month," the coach said. "He has an upper-body injury and won't be available to us."

Rieder, 25, was finding his groove on the Oilers second line alongside compatriot Leon Draisaitl and Alex Chiasson. The German has also found ice time on the Oilers penalty kill and power play units.

"It's a blow that hurts us in a number of different areas," McLellan added. "He became a very trustworthy player for us. A very solid defensive player, one that you could put out in any situation. Up front, he was creating well while maintaining that responsible aspect of the game."

Rieder has seven assists in 18 games this season.

"We'll miss his speed, his aggressiveness on the forecheck but in turn, he'll get some rest, he'll get healthy and we'll get him back," said McLellan.

The Oilers recalled forward Patrick Russell from the Bakersfield Condors on Thursday as a result of Rieder's injury.

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RELEASE: Oilers recall Patrick Russell

The Oilers have recalled forward Patrick Russell from the American League's (AHL) Bakersfield Condors

by Press Release /

EDMONTON, AB - Russell, 25, has played in 11 games with the Condors this season, posting nine points (4G, 5A), four penalty minutes and a +9 plus/minus rating.

The 6'1", 205-pound forward has appeared in 147 career AHL games with Bakersfield, recording 53 points (26G, 27A) and 74 penalty minutes.

The native of Bickerod, Denmark, represented his country at the 2018 World Hockey Championship in Denmark, marking his second world championship appearance (2017, 2018). Russell also played for his country at two Under 18 World Hockey Championships (2010, 2011) and two World Junior Hockey Championships (2011, 2013).

Russell joined the Oilers organization in 2016-17, signing as an undrafted free agent after two years at St. Cloud State University.

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BLOG: Practice updates 11/15

The Oilers practiced at Downtown Community Rink on Thursday

by Staff /

EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers held practice at Downtown Community Rink on Thursday.

A handful of players, including Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins did not skate. After practice, McLellan disclosed that forward Tobias Rieder would be out for, "probably a month." Get all content from Thursday's practice below.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Divisional Stretch 11.15.18

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