In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, the team embarks on a three-game road trip starting against the Vancouver Canucks. It might be too early to call this game a must-win, but there’s a lot riding on starting out strong and the Oilers picking up important points before coming back home. If not, there could be significant changes, both to the roster and in respect to the coaching staff.
How are the Oilers dealing with injuries? What is happening with Jack Campbell? Is head coach Jay Woodcroft actually in jeopardy of losing his job?
Canucks Game Is Critical
In a pivotal moment for the Oilers, kicking off their road trip with a win at Rogers Arena against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday is imperative. The Oilers find themselves facing a tough test after being bested by the Canucks in their previous encounters, losing by a combined score of 12-4 in a home-and-away series at the beginning of the season.
For the Canucks, this matchup carries historical significance as they aim to secure a third consecutive victory against the Oilers, a feat they haven’t achieved since their remarkable five-game win streak from October 11, 2014, to April 11, 2015. Vancouver’s impressive start to the season, boasting eight wins out of eleven games and holding an 8-2-1 record, ties their best performance as a franchise through the first eleven games.
The Oilers, however, are determined to turn the tide as they set their sights on the Vancouver clash. Forward Leon Draisaitl expressed the team’s collective resolve, emphasizing the importance of regaining confidence and executing their game plan effectively. Despite their struggles, Draisaitl stressed the need to stay focused and committed to their goals. This road trip is do-or-die time for a number of players on this team.
Injury Updates for the Oilers
In the midst of injury setbacks, with key players like Mattias Janmark and Connor Brown sidelined, the Oilers have made strategic adjustments to their lineup. James Hamblin, recalled from the Bakersfield Condors on an emergency basis, joins the roster, adding depth and versatility. Despite minor injuries, Sam Gagner is expected to play, which is good news since he’s been effective in two games this season.
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The Oilers’ projected lineup for the Vancouver clash showcases will feature Draisaitl and Connor McDavid on the same line. They’ll be flanked by Zach Hyman. Gagner was promoted to the second line and the Oilers will run with a 12-6 formation, putting Hamblin, Raphael Lavoie, and Dylan Holloway on the fourth line.
As for the blue line, Philip Broberg was sent to the AHL, leaving Darnell Nurse with Cody Ceci, Mattias Ekholm with Evan Bouchard and Brett Kulak with Vincent Desharnais.
Stuart Skinner gets the call and it is rumored he’ll be given the bulk of the starts moving forward.
Have Oilers Run Out Of Patience With Campbell?
With the Oilers going to Skinner, there is a lot of talk about the future for Jack Campbell. He seems to have lost whatever confidence he built up through pre-season, but more importantly, the Oilers have seemingly lost confidence in him. While he’ll play the backup role tonight, there is chatter that the Oilers are exploring options to move on.
A trade seems incredibly unlikely, so a demotion to the AHL might be possible. Still, that only frees up about $1.5 million and Edmonton would need to find another option as their 1B.
Jay Woodcroft on the Hot Seat?
As the Oilers gear up for this crucial matchup, their fans eagerly anticipate a spirited performance. If they don’t witness the team’s best, they should expect changes. The most talked about is the removal of head coach Jay Woodcroft. Most insiders think it’s too early, but many are saying it’s a real possibility if the ship isn’t righted soon.
Following a report by Mark Spector that Woodcroft is in Dave Tippet and Todd McLellan territory, Ryan Rishaug of TSN, stated that while early in the season, Woodcroft may be on the hot seat, and the team may be looking at other options if things don’t change fast.