Edmonton Oilers

Rangers coming up on decision time with Duclair


The Edmonton Oilers announced today that Leon Draisaitl has been reassigned to the Western Hockey League. Is Anthony Duclair on the brink of experiencing a similar fate?

There are clear differences between Draisaitl’s situation and Duclair’s. For one thing the New York Rangers forward has a bit more seasoning as he was drafted in 2013 and spent the 2013-14 campaign in the juniors. At the same time, he’s gotten far less playing time than Draisaitl during his NHL stint, in part because of how much more difficult it is to crack the New York Rangers’ lineup.

Another difference is that while Edmonton decided against loaning Draisaitl to Germany for the 2015 World Juniors, the Rangers are letting Duclair play with Team Canada. That’s bought them time to weigh their options while Duclair plays against the best players in his age group.

It’s also given them another opportunity to evaluate him.

“Duke is playing today and maybe tomorrow and we’ll decide what we’re going to do,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told the Bergen Record. “Yes, we have cap space. I know Jeff (Gorton) is on his way to Toronto to see those games and we’re hooking up with Glen (Sather) in the next day and we’ll make that decision.

“There’s a lot of components that go into making that decision. One major component that we have to consider is that if we send him down, we can’t call him up (until the end of the QMJHL season) and that team is Memorial Cup bound so you’re looking at mid-May (until Quebec’s season is over).”

Canada will play against Slovakia in the semifinals tonight and then either participate in the Bronze Medal Game or go for the gold on Monday.

Goalie nods: Oilers hope Scrivens can maintain post-break high

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All the latest from the crease…

Oilers stick with streaking Scrivens

Almost nothing has gone right for the Edmonton Oilers this season and that includes their goaltending. Lost amid the Oilers’ seemingly never-ending struggles though is the fact that lately, Ben Scrivens has been doing a great job between the pipes. He’ll enter tonight’s game against the New York Islanders with a 1.99 GAA and .931 save percentage in four games since the holiday break.

His efforts played a key role in the Oilers earning a rare win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday and he’s also helped Edmonton secure at least a point in three straight contests.

It’s not known who the Islanders will counter with, although Jaroslav Halak is a good bet.


Panthers at Capitals: Roberto Luongo will start for Florida, but Washington didn’t tip its hand ahead of the 3:00 p.m. ET start.

Lightning at Senators: Ben Bishop vs. Robin Lehner

Stars at Hawks: No word on who Dallas will start, but Corey Crawford will be in net for Chicago.

Blue Jackets at Avalanche: Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlamov are the probable goaltenders, but neither has been confirmed.

Predators at Ducks: Similarly, we’ll likely see Pekka Rinne and Frederik Andersen play tonight, but that’s based on speculation rather than any indication from Nashville or Anaheim.

Oilers return Leon Draisaitl to juniors


The Edmonton Oilers announced Sunday afternoon that forward Leon Draisaitl has been returned to the Western Hockey League.

They took him with the third overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and the Oilers had hoped that he would be able to serve as their second-line center this season, in part due to how thin they are up the middle. Draisaitl ended up scoring two goals and nine points in 37 contests. He also won just 40.6% of his draws and ranked near the bottom of the team with a minus-17 rating.

By allowing him to play in at least 10 games, this will still count as the first season of Draisaitl’s entry-level contract. However, he would have been eligible to become an unrestricted free agent a year earlier had he reached the 40-contest mark.

With their hopes of making the playoffs a distant memory, the Oilers have been making changes lately. GM Craig MacTavish has fired head coach Dallas Eakins, claimed Matt Fraser off of waivers, acquired Derek Roy from the Nashville Predators in exchange for Mark Arcobello, and shipped David Perron to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Rob Klinkhammer and a 2015 first-round pick.

Edmonton will play against the New York Islanders at 9:30 p.m. ET tonight.

Red-hot Price, Habs finish perfect trip by beating Pens


David Perron’s goal was noteworthy because it was his first with Pittsburgh, but especially boastful Montreal Canadiens fans might say it was worth mentioning because goals have been so rare against Carey Price.

Price stopped 30 out of 31 shots as the Canadiens handily beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 on Saturday.

As NHL.com’s Arpon Basu notes, Price is on a remarkable run in which he’s allowed two or fewer goals in nine straight starts.

It’s not too surprising that Montreal is rising with its elite goalie, but the results remain impressive.

The Canadiens have won six games in a row, including all five of a road trip they just ended.

Really, the Habs have just been unreal since a very tough stretch in which they dropped six of seven games from mid-November to early December. They’ve only lost one of their last 10 games with just one of those nine victories coming via a shootout.

It’s not too surprising, then, that Montreal sits atop the East with 54 standings points. The Penguins could have crept ahead of the Habs tonight, but their struggles continue to an extent.

The two teams meet again in Montreal next Saturday, so we’ll see where two of the top teams in the East stand once again.

Video: Perron scores in Penguins debut


Upon realizing that he’d join the Pittsburgh Penguins, David Perron remarked that he grew up idolizing Alex Kovalev. His debut with the team was more like a different memorable Penguins scorer, however, as he scored on his first shot with Pittsburgh (like Mario Lemieux):

Talk about a change of fortune: Perron goes from slumming it with the Edmonton Oilers to skating on a line with Sidney Crosby. It remains to be seen if the 26-year-old will stick with Crosby once players like Patric Hornqvist come back, but either way, he’s likely delighted to be in this situation.

So far, it looks like he might make the most of his opportunity, too.

Here’s Perron’s press conference from before today’s game: