EDMONTON, AB - There will be plenty of questions from the players and coaching staff about who the Oilers are as a team.
During Thursday night's meeting that officially kicks off Oilers Main Camp after a day of physicals and testing, Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan, his coaching staff and the players will start answering them.
"The team might be a little 'who are we?' and 'who are you?'" McLellan said to the media. "Who are we as a team, who are you as in individual, how do we get there and what do you bring to the table?"
Video: CAMP RAW | Todd McLellan 09.13.18
But the Oilers bench boss is already putting in place the building blocks for forward and defensive combinations, using late-season success to guide a number of early decisions.
It begins up front on the wings alongside Connor McDavid.
"We will start there with the [Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid, Rattie] line," McLellan said of the trio. "They think similarly, they complement each other, they have confidence, Nuge can keep up and keep plays alive for Connor. They just have a knack right now to play efficient, smart hockey with each other."
Nine points in 14 games for Rattie alongside McDavid at the end of last season provided a microcosm of the Airdrie, AB right-winger's potential with the Art Ross Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award winner.
"We have to keep in mind that experiment started near the end of last year," McLellan added. "That group has to get it done when it's really tough early in the year, and we believe they can."
Video: CAMP RAW | Connor McDavid 09.13.18
The evolution of Jesse Puljujarvi continues by placing the 2016 fourth-overall pick in an environment the Finnish winger feels is comfortable and complementary.
"He's an important part of our team," McLellan said. "We want to put him in a situation where he feels comfortable and confident. In my opinion and just talking to his teammates that's been with [Ryan Strome].
"We want him to evolve into a real good player. Now that definition is pretty broad. Is he going to be the Patrik Laine 50-goal scorer? I don't know. But I think his evolution and development is going the right way and it will continue."
The Oilers special team units will take on a more clear image as Main Camp progresses, but as preseason games begin everyone will get the opportunity on both the power play and penalty kill.
"We play two games right off the bat," McLellan said, with the Oilers facing the Flames and Canucks on the road Monday and Tuesday to begin their preseason schedule. "It's a tough situation to really get special teams going. We're going to play some kids. They deserve a chance to play in the games and we'll let them play. We'll probably see lines running out in power-play situations with everyone getting a chance at the penalty kill.
"As camp wears on we'll start to put units together and practice with them a little bit more, giving some of our older guys an opportunity at success. They have done it before, we have new eyes on it, and to be successful you need two units to push each other and perform well."