Things are getting a bit more serious as each team head into their 2nd preseason games. The Oilers will ice what might be their opening night forward group, while the Kraken are surely using the preseason to build chemistry between all their players as they get set to begin their inaugural campaign. We will likely see the goalies rotate halfway through the game.
Seattle will have no choice but to be one of the hardest working teams this season, so it will be a nice challenge for the Oilers’ top players to get revved up in matching their opponent’s intensity. The Oilers need to be more intense and more structured to succeed in the playoffs, and that starts now with a commitment to consistently bring a compete level and an attention to detail.
This could easily project to be a playoff matchup, as I would project both to finish top 4 teams in the Pacific division this season. The new rivals offer a contrast in both roster construction and potential style of play.
The game can be streamed on EdmontonOilers.com at 7 MT.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Naturally, seeing how the Oilers offseason addition Zach Hyman plays in his debut is notable, while RNH-Draisaitl-Yamamoto will look to continue their strong chemistry. The Shore and McLeod lines are fighting for spots in the bottom 6, so we should see a lot of energy from these groups.
On defence it will of course be nice to see how Broberg and Bouchard play. Broberg will likely be paired with Berglund in the AHL this season, but it will be interesting to see how Bouchard and Niemelainen perform together. Niemelainen is a big, defensively minded defender who is a long shot to make the NHL club, but has put in some strong seasons for AHL Bakersfield and could endear himself towards a call up in the future.
It’s definitely exciting to get a look at the Kraken as they try to forge their identity. It’s anyone’s guess what the opening lines might look like, but the Sheahan line will get an opportunity to prove their mettle as a checking unit against the Oilers’ top talent. We’ll see if True or Lind can win a spot, but Donato and Geekie will likely be offensive focal points for the Kraken this season, Geekie in particular with the potential to breakout in a manner similar to that of the Golden Knights’ William Karlsson during their inaugural campaign.
Oleksiak, Dunn, and Lauzon are likely 3 of the 6 regular Seattle defenders this season. We’ll see how they fair with some partners who are lower on the depth chart and fighting for spots, as Carrick has been a solid depth defender and Borgen looks poised to break into the league.