One year ago, the Oilers bemoaned a lack of toughness after Sam Gagner and Taylor Hall were targeted during exhibition games.
This preseason, the club is being proactive.
The Oilers are bringing noted pugilist Kevin Westgarth to training camp, the club announced on Tuesday. Westgarth, 30, spent last season with Edmonton’s inter-provincial rival in Calgary, where he was part of a Flames team that also featured fellow enforcer Brian McGrattan (the pair combined to scrap 17 times.)
As mentioned above, the Westgarth invite could be Edmonton’s version of preventive medicine. Following last year’s incidents involving Gagner (had his jaw broken by Zack Kassian) and Hall (Dale Weise took a run at him), the Oilers claimed leviathan Steve MacIntyre off waivers, despite the fact they already had the likes of Mike Brown and Ben Eager in the lineup.
This year, the Oilers already have some toughness on hand in the form of Matt Hendricks and Luke Gazdic — a guy Westgarth knows relatively well: