Will Acton

Oilers waive Acton

The Edmonton Oilers placed forward Will Acton on waivers Wednesday for the purpose of sending him to AHL Oklahoma City.

Acton, 27, has appeared in three games for the Oilers this season, going scoreless with five penalty minutes and a minus-2 rating. He played in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Flyers, getting just over nine minutes of ice time.

The son of Edmonton associate head coach Keith Acton, Will came to the Oilers in July of 2013 to reunite with Dallas Eakins — the two were together with the AHL Marlies for three seasons. Acton appeared in 30 games last year for Edmonton, scoring three goals and five points.

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

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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


“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.”

Oilers place Bryzgalov on IR, swap AHL players


After Tuesday’s aggravating 6-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, the Edmonton Oilers tweaked their lineup on Wednesday. Ilya Bryzgalov was placed on the IR with his concussion-or-whiplash issues, making room for some swaps between the big club and the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons.

Recalled: Defenseman Martin Marincin, Corey Potter and forward Anton Lander.

Demoted: Defenseman Denis Grebeshkov and forward Will Acton.

Oilers Nation points out that Oilers GM Craig MacTavish was able to soak in a pair of Barons games this past weekend thanks to an Oilers road game in Dallas, which might have contributed to these roster moves.

This is the first NHL promotion for Marincin, a big defenseman who was taken in the second round (46th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft. Lander might be the most interesting call-up of the three, however, as he is the Barons’ second-leading scorer with 15 points in 18 games.

Oilers moves: Gordon out of lineup, Bryzgalov gets third straight start

Win or lose, the Edmonton Oilers are always interesting. Such is the case for their game tonight against the Dallas Stars.

The Oilers will also be without center Boyd Gordon. He’s their top defensive center and not having him to help wrangle Jamie Benn and the Stars puts them at a disadvantage as Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal shares.

“It’s going to be a huge loss. Boyd has been our best penalty killer. He takes critical faceoffs . . . he’s one of the top faceoff guys in the league. A guy we rely on heavily,” said head coach Dallas Eakins. “That’s going to be a big hole to fill and it’s going to have to be filled by the group.”

Will Acton will take Gordon’s spot in the lineup and likely play the fourth line.

The Oilers will start Ilya Bryzgalov for the third game in a row. He’s gotten the call in each game of their three-game road trip that wraps up tonight. He earned a 3-0 shutout victory against the Nashville Predators on Thursday but was chased out after giving up four goals in two periods in their 4-2 loss to Columbus on Friday night.