Holiday season

10 THINGS: Bringing the Edmonton Oilers into the holiday season

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With a break in the Edmonton Oilers schedule until Santa Claus arrives, here are some things we’ve noticed, especially athletic coach TD Forss, who has to be the busiest man in the league. team with COVID-19 test results and daily injury reports.

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1. The best player in the world probably doesn’t need someone to tell him how to get his way through a hockey game, but Connor McDavid loved shooting in the first 10 games with 46 shots and eight goals. But the captain has become the altruistic one-on-one passer again and is trying to prepare others (Jesse Puljujarvi for his possible hat-trick against Columbus) in the last 10 with 32 shots and three goals.

2. Leon Draisaitl uses a stick blade with little to no curvature, maybe a bit on the toe. It’s not as tall as, say, Zdeno Chara’s, but it’s long, which allows him to keep the puck away from the pawns along the board. The fact that Leon’s blade is straight from Dave Keon (yes, we’re dating here), maybe allows Draisaitl to make the best backhand passes in the league too. On the strip, hard, through the bodies and the pads.

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3. Warren Foegele probably hadn’t played on the same line as McDavid since their Peewee days when their Ontario team, coached by Connor’s dad, Brian, competed in the Quebec International tournament. But he looked great there the last two games. He still thinks and plays like a third row player, doing his best around the net which the Oilers are paying for, but he buried that power play chance against Seattle like he was, uh, Draisaitl.

4. Goalkeeper Stuart Skinner seems on the same organizational path as Laurent Brossoit four years ago, but they would like a different destination. Brossoit, who has carved out a 20-game-a-year substitute role in Winnipeg and now Vegas, never took the opportunity to be Cam Talbot’s 1-B-1-A here. In his final year, in 14 games, Brossoit had a .883 save percentage. Skinner might be the kid who could play 30 games next season with another partner. Mike Smith or someone else.

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5. Kailer Yamamoto gets high marks for even being in the NHL at 150 pounds, and his game away from the puck is exemplary, but while Draisaitl is right to point out that there is a lot of his game to love as as teammate, right Yamamoto has to start working on things he’s not good at? Like maybe shoot 100 pucks every day before practice, get out of the kite, work your way through the lunge. He was very visible in Seattle, but as a professional NHL scout said the other day, a shot-per-game average isn’t enough for a top-six right winger, as is a top-six pace. about 20-22 points.

6. Evan Bouchard keeps his head up all the time when he looks like he’s shooting, like Hall of Fame member Sergei Zubov. The difference was, Zubov, coach of the Russian World Junior team at Christmas here, could rig any checker into a pretzel when he had the puck. Bouchard, if he ever gets that in his repertoire, will be very dangerous. As it stands, Bouchard has only had 17:10 minutes of power play time and has 18 points (15 tied, all five goals five-on-five). Tyson Barrie does a very good job on the power play point, but Bouchard should still play more than 36 seconds per game.

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7. While the Oilers take a break with COVID protocol for seven players and coach Dave Tippett possibly Dec 19-27, if the game in Calgary continues with the Flames destroyed by COVID, unless the NHL does cancel participation in the Olympics and they have a two and a half week window in February to adjust to postponed games, where do the Oilers crowd in their three postponed games? Maybe Rogers Place is already booked with concerts and Oil Kings games. They have four from February 8 to 21. As it stands now, they play 28 games over 60 days in March and April.

8. Kyle Turris has helped win two games with shootout goals, but he doesn’t have a defined role as Colton Sceviour or Devin Shore. He’s a good pro who worked hard this summer to get faster, a little bit stronger and had a good camp. But he has played 17 games and has a goal and an assist. In the Oilers’ last 44 games, Turris has scored three goals and seven points.

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9. Tyler Benson’s transformation from American Hockey League points producer to NHL energy fourth-lineman continues. He took cringe-worthy penalties, of course, and didn’t fully gain the coaches’ trust, but Benson seems to have had a moment like offensive college players Todd Marchant and Andrew Cogliano, both of whom have realized they had to change their games to be NHL contributors. Benson stepped out of his comfort zone to be belligerent with a bump here, pushing there. And the pace of his game is reaching NHL standards.

10. Puljujarvi, released from COVID isolation at a Seattle hotel, returned home on a medical plane, is the frontline right-winger and a clear presence on the power play. He could get 60 points this season. So how much is The Bison King worth next season on a long-term contract? I’m not sure exactly who Puljujarvi’s comparables are, but if Drake Batherson, also 23, is close to $ 5 million on a new deal in Ottawa, Puljujarvi must be in that range. Is not it ?

Email: jmatheson@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @jimmathesonnhl

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