The 23 players that will be on the Edmonton Oilers roster when the season kicks off on Saturday are set. Earlier this afternoon, the club announced a series on transactions that gets them compliment with the NHL’s salary cap on the eve of their final preseason tilt in Germany.
The club officially signed PTO’s Jason Garrison and Alex Chiasson to matching one-year deals worth $650,000, while assigning D Ethan Bear to the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors and placing D Kris Russell on the injured reserve.
The Bear transaction was a paper transaction, as the young defender impressed in camp and is currently with the club in Europe. The Oilers then placed D Andrej Sekera on the LTIR, recalling Bear for the time being.
It’s expected that Bear gets sent down when Kris Russell is ready to come off the IR, which sounds like it won’t be until around the game in Boston next Thursday night.
The Final 23:
Here’s a look at the Oilers 23 man roster heading into tomorrow’s action in Cologne.
Forwards: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Connor McDavid, Ty Rattie, Milan Lucic, Leon Draisaitl, Kailer Yamamoto, Jujhar Khaira, Ryan Strome, Jesse Puljujarvi, Drake Caggiula, Kyle Brodziak, Zack Kassian, Alex Chiasson and Tobias Rieder
Defenders: Adam Larsson, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, Matthew Benning, Evan Bouchard, Ethan Bear and Jason Garrison (Kris Russell on IR)
Goaltenders: Cam Talbot and Mikko Koskinen
No real surprises among the forwards. I don’t think Kassian or Caggiula had good training camps, and if it were up to me neither would have made the team. That said, the Oilers don’t quite have the depth to replace them just yet and in fairness to Drake he had been battling illness during camp.
Chiasson beating out Aberg isn’t a surprise, as the speedy and skilled Swede really struggled to get any kind of consistency in Edmonton. He made a big mistake early and never did recover. Best of luck to him with the Ducks.
Defensively, Russell very likely will only miss the game on Saturday. The Oilers have a longer layover in Boston, and won’t play their second game until next Thursday night. That’s nine days from now. Russell will be eligible to return from IR then, and my bet is Ethan Bear gets sent to Bakersfield to make room.
Garrison beat out Jerabek for the seventh defender spot, and did so on merit. I still believe Jerabek is the better bet and player, but Garrison was better in camp and Edmonton saved $350,000 in the process. I don’t think this is a big enough move to be worried about, as that salary can easily be buried in the minors should Garrison struggle.
Other Moves In The Organization:
Interesting to see both Colin Larkin and Stuart Skinner get cut from Bakersfield Condors’ camp. Larkin singed a one-year ELC out of college last spring and went right to the AHL. He played in 16 games, scoring 0-2-2 for the Condors to end the season. He’s got a nice combination of size and skill, but bottom line is he is making a HUGE jump from NCAA Division three to professional hockey. This is the right move.
As for Skinner, this will probably disappoint some people but it shouldn’t. Getting the starting gig in the ECHL as a rookie is, in my opinion, better than backing up in the AHL. Skinner will get a big workload with the Thunder and odds are the majority of the starts. This also allows Dylan Wells or more likely second year pro Shane Starrett to get some AHL time behind veteran Al Montoya.
The Oilers also have a little room to wheel and deal now. With Sekera going on LTIR, the Oilers can go over the cap by $5.5 million while he is out of service. I wouldn’t be shocked if that space was used to acquire a veteran defender when Evan Bouchard eventually gets sent to the OHL later this month.