NHL / training camp
Oiler's Cut Five, Down to 29 Players in Camp
Things are getting serious in camp as the Oiler's trim the roster down to 29 players. Only 6 more cuts need to be made this week and the roster is down to just players with a shot at making the team. There will definitely be some tough decisions that need to be made this week and I don't envy the coaching staff. The groupings at todays practice were: RNH-McDavid-Rattie Lucic-Draisaitl-Yamamoto Rieder-Khaira-Puljujarvi Caggiula-Brodziak-Kassian Chiasson-McLeod-Aberg Kleflbom-Larsson Nurse-Benning Russell-Bouchard Jerabek-Bear Garrison Source This gives a pretty good idea of where the coaching staff has their heads at. Ryan Strome didn't skate today so that's an extra forward to add to the mix which most likely leaves us with Caggiula, Chiasson, McLeod & Aberg battling for one or two roster spots for the forward grouping. Ryan McLeod has had a great camp but I don't think anyone ever expected him to make the team this year, he will likely be sent back to juniors at some point this week. The remaining three have all been quite disappointing during training camp and I really think the battle between the three could go any way. Caggiula likely has a slight edge on the other two just based on his history with the team. Chiasson doesn't currently have a contract so I have a hard time seeing him get signed at the point unless he really impresses this week. Aberg hasn't had much of an opportunity to showcase his talents this training camp, an issue that stems from him missing a practice last season. I'll be rooting for Aberg and McLeod from this group of four although it feels unlikely that those two will end up making the team. Source From the defensive group, Klefbom, Larsson, Nurse, Benning and Russell should be locks to make the roster. Personally I don't believe Benning should be in this group but everything shown by coaching and management seems to disagree with my opinion. That leaves Bouchard, Jerabek, Bear and Garrison. I suspect Bouchard survives to the regular season, even if it's just for a few games before heading back to juniors. Bouchard hasn't looked great in camp but has some tools that the club is sorely lacking, offensive talent. I would put Ethan Bear in a similar category to Bouchard, both are better offensively than defensively. It probably doesn't make sense for the Oiler's to keep both players at this time but I see a scenario where Bouchard gets his 9 game audition to start the season while Bear goes to the AHL for a few games. If the Oiler's opt to start the season with 8 defensemen, we could see both players sneak onto the roster. Jerabek is a bit of a wild card at this point, he hasn't played well in preseason but for whatever reason the Oiler's seem to really want him to succeed. The last guy in this group is Jason Garrison, a player who has had a dreadful training camp but seemingly sticks around just because he is a veteran. I'd be shocked if the Oiler's signed him to a contract at the end of training camp. Oiler's playe three preseason games this week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. This is a very important week for many players as they find out whether or not they will be playing in the NHL this week.