Tag: Boyd Gordon

Darnell Nurse, Taylor Hall

Nuge, Eberle and Petry out for Oilers; Nurse, Yakimov to make NHL debuts vs. L.A. (Update: Petry’s a healthy scratch)

1 Comment

Big lineup changes in Los Angeles tonight as the Oilers look for their first win of the season against the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Jeff Petry are all sidelined with injuries, paving the way for two of Edmonton’s top picks from the 2013 draft — Darnell Nurse (seventh overall) and Bogdan Yakimov (83rd) — to make their NHL debuts.

Nurse, the nephew of former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb, has been with the Oilers since training camp but has yet to play a regular-season game. Yakimov was called up from AHL Oklahoma City after Edmonton’s rough-and-tumble shootout loss to the Canucks on Saturday.

It’s unclear exactly what’s ailing Eberle, Petry and Nugent-Hopkins. “Multiple bang ups,” is how head coach Dallas Eakins described their conditions, per the Edmonton Sun; there was some speculation that Nugent-Hopkins injured himself in his first-ever NHL fight against Vancouver’s Dan Hamhuis, but Eakins shot that down.

As you’d expect from such a significant roster shuffle, the ins and outs have altered Edmonton’s lines. Here’s what the Oilers rushed at this morning’s skate:

Taylor Hall-Mark Arcobello-Teddy Purcell

David Perron-Yakimov-Jesse Joensuu

Benoit Pouliot-Leon Draisaitl-Nail Yakupov

Matt Hendricks-Boyd Gordon-Will Acton

Nurse, meanwhile, is likely to be paired with Justin Schultz on defense.

UPDATE: Well, this is interesting — per TSN, Petry, who last year finished second among all Edmonton d-men in TOI per game, is a healthy scratch for tonight’s game.

Related: Gaborik hurt, out vs. Oilers as banged-up Kings lose another

Nuge must ‘step up’ for Oilers, who are thin down the middle

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

“We have two NHL centermen right now, and I have no idea who the other ones will be.”

That was Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins on the opening day of training camp, discussing his club’s biggest weakness heading into the upcoming campaign.

The two NHLers Eakins referred to are Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Boyd Gordon, with the two remaining spots to be filled by some combination of Anton Lander, Mark Arcobello, Will Acton and ’14 first-rounder Leon Draisaitl.

Translation: The center position in the Western Conference is a gunfight, to which Edmonton’s bringing a knife.

That lack of talent and depth down the middle is part of the reason why Nugent-Hopkins — the first overall pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft — feels the pressure to ratchet up his performance.

“I definitely want to make that next step this year,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Oilers’ Twitter feed. “It’s my fourth year in the league now, I have to step up.”

That quote sounds pretty odd coming from a kid that turned 21 in April, but Nugent-Hopkins isn’t your average 21-year-old. He made his NHL debut at 18 and, despite suffering a pair of significant shoulder injuries, has already logged a whopping 182 career games (comparatively speaking, the center taken four spots after Nuge, Ryan Strome, has just 37 games under his belt.)

That experience, plus the aforementioned lack of depth, has put Nugent-Hopkins in a situation where the pressure’s on to carry Edmonton’s load. It’s a tall order, to say the least; the Oilers play in a nightmarish division with regards to center depth (featuring Ryan Getzlaf, Joe Thornton, Anze Kopitar and Henrik Sedin), somethting reflected in last year’s standings as they went a pitiful 8-17-4 against Pacific foes.

As for the rest of the center ice position…it sure sounds like Draisaitl will be in the mix come October. While there’s concern about rushing the 18-year-old — like there was with Nugent-Hopkins four years ago — GM Craig MacTavish suggests Draisaitl is NHL-ready.

“I love the character,” MacTavish told ESPN. “Sure, the size and the skill, but the character, as well. The fact that he committed to being here throughout the summer is going to give him every chance to make it. He’s a really driven guy, with the high skill level, that’s a pretty good combination.

“But it’s a league not all that friendly to youth. He’s going to have to prove that he’s capable of handling it. All signs point to him being given great opportunity.”

Draisaitl: ‘My goal is to play in the NHL next year’

Leon Draisaitl

We’ve grown accustomed to seeing young players starting right away with the Edmonton Oilers in recent years and Leon Draisaitl wants to be the next one.

Jason Gregor at the Edmonton Journal spoke with the third overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft and found out he’s staying in Edmonton all summer to train, leaving his parents behind in Germany, in an effort to make the team out of camp.

“I have a dream and I want to make that dream happen,” he said. “Obviously, I would love to see my parents, but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t see them for a while. My goal is to play in the NHL next year and it (staying in Edmonton) is the best way to get ready and get used to the life here.

“For me, personally, it is the best decision.”

That’s a lot of toughness for an 18-year-old to just up and leave home, but opportunity is there for Draisaitl if he makes the most of it. The Oilers haven’t had issues with Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov jumping to the NHL right after being drafted.

For Draisaitl, the opportunity is there for the taking with Hopkins, Matt Hendricks, and Boyd Gordon the centers at the NHL level. He’ll have Mark Arcobello, Anton Lander, and others to compete with to potentially crack the second line.

PHT Morning Skate: Alfredsson gets another chance at Cup dream

Detroit Red Wings v Columbus Blue Jackets

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Daniel Alfredsson signed with the Detroit Red Wings over the summer in part because he thought he could capture the Stanley Cup with them. They’re far from the favorites to win it all this year, but the former Ottawa Senators captain is upbeat after his team secured its postseason berth. (Detroit News)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $120,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday’s NHL games. It’s $100 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

New Jersey Devils coach Pete DeBoer was very unhappy with his team’s performance during Wednesday’s practice. (The Bergen Record)

Edmonton Oilers forward Boyd Gordon is done for what’s left of the season. (Edmonton Sun)

The Chicago Blackhawks scored their first overtime goal of the season on Wednesday. They had won previous games in shootouts, but never in the overtime period. (CSN Chicago)

Washington’s streak of six straight postseason appearances is over. (Washington Times)

Top Edmonton Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse will play in the AHL after completing his season with the OHL Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. (Edmonton Journal)

The Dallas Stars players talked about the oddity of starting a game down 1-0 in their eventual 3-1 loss to Columbus. (Dallas Morning News)

Highlights from Anaheim’s 5-2 victory over San Jose:

PHT Morning Skate: O’Reilly wants to re-sign, but not negotiate yet

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 27: Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the Colorado Avalanche shoots against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on December 27, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Avalanche 7-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Ryan O’Reilly would like to re-sign with the Colorado Avalanche, but doesn’t want to deal with the negotiations until after the season. He’s scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer, but the Avalanche would need to provide him with a qualifying offer of $6.5 million to retain his rights, so he’s in a strong bargaining position. (Denver Post)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday night’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

For the first time in his career, New Jersey forward Reid Boucher, 20, has found a level that he hasn’t been able to frequently score in. After playing in just 18 NHL games, Boucher admitted that it’s “really frustrating.” (The Bergen Record)

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is convinced that having only two players scheduled to go to the Olympics will help his team in the playoffs. He even commissioned a study that he used to support his argument. (Ottawa Citizen)

Wayne Gretzky was in attendance as the NHL brought its portable refrigeration units to Dodger Stadium. His former teammate and Kings president Luc Robitaille feels it’s vital to have Gretzky be a part of the upcoming outdoor game between Los Angeles and Anaheim. (Washington Times)

Oilers forward Boyd Gordon was very surprised when he found out that Patrick Kane’s accidental goal on his own net was credited to him. He was on the bench when it happened, but the officials ruled he was the last Edmonton player to have control of the puck. (Edmonton Journal)

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is circling Thursday’s contest against the New York Rangers as an important one. After losing to Anaheim and with a razor thin lead in the Wild Card race, Detroit “badly” needs those points. (Detroit News)