The Edmonton Oilers had an exciting second day of training camp Friday, moving past the fitness testing and taking the ice together. So far, there is a lot to take away from the pairings, player evaluations and overall press conferences.
Without further ado, let’s break down the second day of training camp, and look at some of the observations.
Patrick Maroon is still his Big Rig self, except he’s a little less… big. The left winger lost 25 pounds over the summer, and slimmed down to a leaner size for this season. He played on a line with Anton Lander (subbing for Leon Draisaitl) and Nail Yakupov, which is an interesting combination there.
Overall, Maroon looks good, and this is a sign that he is taking himself seriously. He is ready to help lead the Oilers rebuild, and also seems to be hitting it off with Lucic.
“He’s won a Stanley Cup and he’s been in the playoffs every year since he’s been in the league,” Maroon told CBC of his new teammate. “To have that role and character guy in the room is very special.”
Maroon also pointed out how Lucic is a leader similar to that of McDavid, and can teach the young guys and be a voice that the team rallies around.
Drake Caggiula started off on Team A, slotting in between Milan Lucic. He has been given the big task of being a placeholder for Connor McDavid, and will get to show off his skills on that Group A unit until the World Cup of Hockey comes to an end. Fellow centres Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl are also missing from camp.
On the backend, things got interesting. Oscar Klefbom and country-mate Adam Larsson are together, and it seems the two are forming strong chemistry. Darnell Nurse played with Brandon Davidson, and Mark Fayne paired with Dillon Simpson (Andrej Sekera substitute). Eric Gryba played with Griffin Reinhart, and the two will likely duke it out for the sixth/seventh defender job.
Kris Versteeg played with AHL players, giving the sign that he is not automatically granted a spot on the NHL roster. This is a positive sign for Edmonton, making the team-making process more difficult. Not only does that ensure that each player gives their full effort, but it makes it easier for the coaching staff to get a glimpse of the player at their top potential.
Bakersfield/NHL wingers Anton Slepyshev, Jujhar Khaira and Iiro Pakarinen are going to have to step it up, as they’ve been placed on somewhat of a confusing position on the roster. They will likely have to stand out, or get thrown in with the rest of the Oilers’ strong depth.