The Oilers season is exactly two games old and we’ve already seen the good and the bad from this club. The Oilers looked great from the top to the bottom on opening night as they shut the Flames out, but looked slow and almost disinterested at times on Saturday in Vancouver.
Some are worried about the club after Saturday night but, if I may suggest, I think we really need to pump the breaks a bit here. Vancouver gave Edmonton their best shot on Saturday and the Oilers still had ample opportunity to tie and even take that game. Credit Jacob Markstrom, he played a great game, while Cam Talbot had an off night and the Oilers made some bad mistakes.
I wouldn’t get caught up too much in one game in October. I thought the Oilers stuck to the process and actually did a lot of things right in that game. That third goal rarely gets by Talbot and Benning is usually much better on rushes into the zone. It was a bad night and those happen.
I’ll be watching very closely tonight to see what kind of response the Oil have. I suspect, at home against a struggling Winnipeg team, that it’s a strong response and the team will have a chance to win. I think a stronger effort and a more crisp start with attention to detail is in the cards this evening.
Remember, the Oilers were absolutely embarrassed in game three last year and came back with a terrific response. These Oilers have leadership and know how to right the wrongs.
All signs point to Anton Slepyshev making his regular season debut tonight for the Oilers and that is a welcomed sign. After missing almost all of training camp and playing in just one preseason game, Slepyshev was sent to the AHL for a conditioning stint. There, he played in just one game before getting brought back up in advance of Saturday’s game with Vancouver.
I’d temper expectations with Slepy early on, but this is one of the players that I was intrigued by coming into the season. I think Slepyshev has all the tools to be a strong middle-six forward in the NHL, but he needs to start producing offense and getting a consistent look on a line. His play over the next month will be interesting to monitor.
A strong showing could help solve one of Edmonton’s many questions on the wing and could also help what has been a struggling powerplay through the first two games.
Yamamoto’s Next Stop:
Kailer Yamamoto was relatively silent in his NHL debut last Wednesday, but that isn’t a surprise considering how tight of a game that ended up being. I was surprised and disappointed to see him scratched on Saturday, and am beginning to think that the plan is to send him down as soon as he hits nine games in the NHL.
The Jets have really struggled defensively to start the season, so I wouldn’t be against playing him tonight and seeing how he looks. If he’s lost again, then maybe you can send him back to the WHL during the coming break in the schedule. Personally, I’d play him in all three of the upcoming home games against Winnipeg, Ottawa and Carolina.
In the end, unless he shoots the lights out, Yamamoto is going to end up back in Spokane. There is nothing wrong with that either, this kid has done nothing but impress me since draft day.