The Edmonton Oilers enjoyed immediate returns from former first overall picks Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger thinks Nail Yakupov will keep that streak alive, based on his interview with 630 CHED.
Krueger was also asked if Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz, a highly touted young defenseman that signed an entry-level contract with them as a free agent, would be used with the man advantage.
“They will be strongest, probably, in those [power play] situations early on,” Krueger said, as transcribed by the Edmonton Journal. “It’s the 5-on-5 game in the National Hockey League that truly tests young players – to find their way defensively first of all and then to create offensively is quite difficult when you’re new into the league.
“On the power play their skillset will have a little more time and space and they should be able to add to our power play strength immediately.”
He was also asked about the potential line combinations that the Oilers might employ – they will have the option to go with a top line composed entirely of first overall picks – but Krueger didn’t tip his hand.
Krueger is taking over an Oilers team that’s already spent several years rebuilding. They’re not at the stage yet where they’re a serious competitor, but they certainly have assembled an impressive core of young players.
Mike Babcock’s reign with the Detroit Red Wings ended in another first-round defeat, yet it may be lost in time just how close that series was.
Yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning shut down the Red Wings to win Game 7 at home, but Ben Bishop deserves a ton of the credit. The Red Wings snagged the puck for much of the contest, just not enough to beat the big goalie.
While change is in the air in Detroit, the Bolts are largely the same squad that generated a nice showing in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. We’ll get to see if the Red Wings gain a measure of revenge on NBCSN tonight, with home-ice advantage this time around.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”