Oilers forward Slepyshev goes from scratch to top line

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It’s not often you see a player go from being a healthy scratch to playing on the top line the following game, but that’s exactly what the Oilers will do with Anton Slepyshev on Sunday.

The 21-year-old was in the press box for Saturday’s game against the Flames, but he will play with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall in Sunday’s clash against Vancouver.

Matt Hendricks, who blocked a shot in the game against Calgary, will miss the game against Vancouver.

Had Hendricks been healthy, would Slepyshev still have gotten this opportunity? Who knows. But the fact that he’s in there shows that the Oilers are at least willing to give the young forward a shot.

Like Hall and Nugent-Hopkins, Slepyshev is also a former first overall pick. He was the first player selected in the 2011 KHL junior draft by Metallurg Novokuznetsk.

The 6’2, 194 pounder put up a career-high 15 goals and and 25 points in the KHL last season (as a 20-year-old).

This should be Slepyshev’s first real opportunity to produce in the NHL. He’s played under nine minutes in three of his first four games.