Oilers to audition wingers
Training camp to determine who flanks McDavid and Draisaitl
EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers opened training camp with franchise forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl locked up to long-term contracts — but with questions on who will play alongside them.
“The right (wing), in my opinion, is the wild-card position on our team right now,” head coach Todd McLellan said as players reported for medical tests at Rogers Place.
McDavid is penciled in with his usual left-wing partner, Patrick Maroon, on the top line. Draisaitl will remain with Milan Lucic on his left side on the second line.
But after that, it’s not so clear.
Ryan Strome, acquired in the off-season for Jordan Eberle, is tabbed to play on McDavid’s right side when the players hit the ice today.
Anton Slepyshev won’t skate immediately as he continues rehabilitation for an ankle injury.
Sophomore Drake Caggiula will move up as the second-line rightwinger in training camp.
But McLellan said if things don’t pan out, he could try Draisaitl on McDavid’s wing, as was done with success last season. Milan Lucic could even move back alongside McDavid, as he did at the start of last year.
Third-line centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could even move to the wing, although McLellan said that’s doubtful. Strome has experience at centre in junior.
“There are moving parts,” said McLellan. “Those pieces are moving all the time in my opinion and they still need to be sorted out.”
The Oilers open the pre-season on Monday against Calgary.
Connor McDavid was all smiles in speaking to the press as the Edmonton Oilers opened training camp at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Thursday.