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BLOG: McLeod better suited with longer stick

"I used a really short stick and I think for puck protection, I couldn't keep the puck as far as I could and I couldn't shoot really well. I just made it a little bit longer and those problems are gone," said Oilers prospect Ryan McLeod

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Height, weight, flex, lie, curve. 

The modifications that can be made to a player's hockey stick are endless and Oilers prospect Ryan McLeod has found out that it's never too late to make edits to a twig. 

After being prodded about using too short of a stick over the summer, the 2018 second-rounder selection decided to lengthen the height of his on-ice tool in an effort for more comfort on the ice when shooting, protecting the puck and passing.

"I lengthened it a lot," McLeod said Thursday following Group B's skate at Downtown Community Rink. "I used a really short stick and I think for puck protection, I couldn't keep the puck as far as I could and I couldn't shoot really well. I just made it a little bit longer and those problems are gone."

Video: CAMP RAW | Ryan McLeod 09.19.18

McLeod said he felt the flak from people around him who said his stick wasn't a good fit for his 6-foot-2 scale. It was enough for the Mississauga, ON, product to make a change.

"A lot of people told me that," he said. "Meeting with teams at the (NHL Draft) Combine and stuff like that, they were all over me for that. 

"I thought I would give it a try and I liked it so I'm sticking with it."

The 18-year-old - who turns 19 on Friday - has continued to impress at Oilers Main Camp. The pivot notched two helpers against Calgary on Monday and was in the lineup for Edmonton's 4-2 win over the Canucks on Tuesday.

"It's a great experience and I'm learning a lot," McLeod said. "It's been a battle every day to stay in the lineup and it's been a lot of fun."

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BLOG: McLellan dazzled by Benson

"It's amazing what health does. Health allows you to train properly, health allows you to feel confident, health allows you to be the player you're supposed to be. We're seeing that from Tyler," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

CALGARY, AB - Tyler Benson hasn't ceased to amaze.

In his first instance playing in front of Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan on Monday in Edmonton's 7-4 pre-season win against the Flames, he did just that.

"It's amazing what health does. Health allows you to train properly, health allows you to feel confident, health allows you to be the player you're supposed to be. We're seeing that from Tyler," McLellan said post-game, after witnessing Benson notch two assists. 

"We believed he could be that type of player but we never got the opportunity to see it."

Video: POST-GAME RAW | Todd McLellan 09.17.18

Plagued by injuries for the past two seasons, the 2016 second-rounder has been making the most of his current opportunity with the Oilers, showing well in Rookie Camp then following it up in Main Camp.

"It's a big season for him," McLellan continued. "I don't know if he'll ever catch up for lost time but he's doing as good a job as he possibly can. I think he's got a future in the National Hockey League. How soon that arrives, that'll be up to him and the rest of our team."

McLellan also noted the extra work the Edmonton, AB, product put in to get back to 100 percent health.

"He was a pretty determined individual," he added. "If you saw him battle during his injuries - battle through some of the therapy sessions, continue to skate and work on his game - you knew he had a chance. He worked hard enough and he's giving himself that opportunity. 

"What he's doing now is creating a situation where he's confident. Good things can happen from that."

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GAME STORY: Oilers 7, Flames 4

Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Benson and Ryan McLeod combine for seven points as the Oilers top the Flames 7-4 on Monday

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

CALGARY, AB - The kids are alright.

Kailer Yamamoto scored two breakaway markers and added one assist, while Tyler Benson and Ryan McLeod each nabbed two helpers to lead Edmonton to a 7-4 victory against the Flames in Calgary on Monday.

Rookie rearguards Ethan Bear and Evan Bouchard maintained the theme by notching a goal apiece, with veterans Patrick Russell and Pontus Aberg helping run Edmonton up to seven.

Mikko Koskinen played the first two periods of the match, stopping 16 of 19 shots. He was replaced by Shane Starrett in the third period, who let one past him in the winning effort.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game at CGY

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WATCH LIVE AND GAME BLOG: Oilers at Flames

Minute-by-minute updates from Calgary as the Oilers face the Flames in pre-season action

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers face the Calgary Flames in pre-season action at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

Watch the game live on EdmontonOilers.com within the Oilers region (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories)

Click here to watch online now or on the video below if on a mobile device. 

Video: LIVE: Oilers vs. Flames

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BLOG: Khaira motivated by McDavid

Striving for success on the ice, forward Jujhar Khaira doesn't have to look far for motivation

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Jujhar Khaira knows his source of motivation.

Look no further than at Oilers Captain Connor McDavid, who Khaira sees pursuing excellence on the ice daily.

"Looking at Connor, he's the best player in the world but he's always out there trying to get better and always obsessed with being the best," Khaira said on Sunday at Day 4 of Oilers Main Camp, when asked what he wanted to improve in his off-season. "Looking at that and being a player that plays on his team motivates everybody."

After his first full season in the National Hockey League, which saw the forward post 11 goals and 21 points in 69 games, Khaira said he wants to continue growing his game offensively and defensively.

Video: CAMP RAW | Jujhar Khaira 09.16.18

"I'm always focusing on getting faster and working on my hands," he said. "The defence zone is also very important to me. That's where I can earn a lot of trust from the coach if I maintain that part of my game and get better at that. 

"There's room for improvement everywhere."

It's all in an effort to ensure last year's disappointing campaign isn't replicated.

"Everybody is feeling competitive, they're feeling good and wanting to get going," said Khaira. "A lot of guys are ticked off about last year and everybody wants to come in this year and make an impact early."

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BLOG: Khaira slotted alongside Strome and Puljujarvi

"Coming in and knowing what both guys are capable of, there's not much more you can ask for. All three of us are excited to get going here," said Jujhar Khaira

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Forward Jujhar Khaira was happy to see who his linemates were when scrimmages began at Oilers Training Camp on Friday.

The 6-foot-4, 214-pounder was slotted on the left side of a line that also featured Ryan Strome and Jesse Puljujarvi, with Strome holding down the pivot position and Puljujarvi taking the right flank.

There's familiarity on that unit for the Surrey, BC, product, whose most frequent linemate in 2017-18 was Strome, playing 263:16 together.

"I play very well with Ryan," Khaira said Sunday at Day 4 of Oilers Main Camp. "We played quite a bit last year on the penalty kill and 5-on-5."

The 24-year-old hasn't shared the ice with Puljujarvi as much - skating 136:18 together - but is looking forward to the opportunity. 

Video: CAMP RAW | Jujhar Khaira 09.16.18

"It's always fun playing with Jesse as well," Khaira said. "He's a big body and great player with a lot of skill. Coming in and knowing what both guys are capable of, there's not much more you can ask for.

"All three of us are excited to get going here."

Khaira and his projected centre manned the ice together Sunday as Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan provided his players with a lesson on defensive zone coverage.

"It was a nice refresher," Khaira said. "The summer habits are still in everybody's game. Just going over our structure and going through our D zone today was huge. 

"The more reps you do early the better off you're going to be when the season starts up. Everybody was pretty happy to get through that today."

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FEATURE: Elevated intensity

From informal skates and fitness testing to Training Camp scrimmages, Oilers players have noticed the elevated intensity at Main Camp

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - The heat is on.

So naturally, the temperature at Oilers Training Camp is bound to increase. 

Oilers players have already noticed from informal skates, fitness testing and now, scrimmages, that there's an elevated sense of fervor emanating in the atmosphere.

Video: CAMP | Day 3

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FEATURE: Guten tag

Lined up alongside his friend and compatriot Leon Draisaitl, Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan felt Tobias Rieder had a good day at Oilers Main Camp

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - 'Guten tag.'

Or, 'Good day,' was what German forward Tobias Rieder was saying to his Oilers teammates on Rogers Place ice when he first arrived in Edmonton a few weeks ago for informal skates. 

The newly-signed winger, who inked a contract with Edmonton on July 1, participated in the light sessions as he familiarized himself with his new club and surroundings in an effort to make the first skate of Oilers Training Camp a smooth experience. 

Video: OILERS TODAY | New Faces

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BLOG: Competition on the back end

Oilers President of Hockey Operation and General Manager Peter Chiarelli assesses the defenders vying for jobs on the Oilers blueline

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Voids on defence due to Darnell Nurse's contract negotiation and Andrej Sekera's Achilles injury provides an opportunity for a few defencemen at Oilers Main Camp.

Among those blueliners are one-year contract signees Jakub Jerabek and Kevin Gravel, former Vegas Golden Knights defender Jason Garrison, farmhands Keegan Lowe, Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear and prospect Evan Bouchard.

Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli was asked about the defencemen at Camp, beginning with Jerabek.

"He's going to get a shot here," said Chiarelli. "He's a very cerebral player, an economical player and you can see the smarts out there in him."

Video: CAMP RAW | Peter Chiarelli 09.14.18

Chiarelli caught a glimpse of the Czech at the beginning of the 2018 NHL playoffs.

"He started the playoffs the first two games with the (Washington) Capitals and they lost the first two, so they took him out of the lineup. Not really his fault. Maybe he didn't get a fair shake there."

Should Nurse's contract standstill carry over into the beginning of the 2018-19 season, Chiarelli said he does have a Plan B but exuded some trust in the club's organizational depth. Chiarelli cited 2015 draft picks Jones and Bear as players who will make their case this campaign.

"You have to (have trust in the farm) when you're building this thing," he started. "The three young guys - and I put Bouchard in that group - but Jones and Bear, their physical conditioning testing was leaps and bounds over what it has been historically. They've really put in the work and we'll see where it takes them but those are three guys that are going to be pushing."

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BLOG: Chiarelli provides Nurse update

Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli comments on the status of Darnell Nurse's contract situation

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - While 62 players converged in Edmonton for Oilers Main Camp Thursday, Darnell Nurse - who still remains without a contract ahead of the 2018-19 season - departed back to Ontario.

Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli was asked for an update on negotiations.

"I can tell you there's a gap," Chiarelli said. "We've had a lot of negotiations so we'll see where it goes here shortly."

The Oilers defenceman was in Edmonton the past few weeks participating in informal skates with the rest of the club. Chiarelli said that Nurse leaving the city is status quo for players in active contract discussions.

Video: CAMP RAW | Peter Chiarelli 09.14.18

"It's part of the playbook," the Oilers GM said. "Some RFAs across the League went home and some didn't. I know he travelled home the other night. We obviously couldn't come to an agreement but we'll hope we can get him in camp here shortly."

Chiarelli did say that there is a backup plan should the two camps be unable to work out a deal by the time the regular season begins.

"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it," he said.

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