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Edmonton Oilers training camp’s key battles boil down to one last game

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This. All of Edmonton’s Oilers questions will finally be answered Friday night against the Seattle Kraken.

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Who will play right wing in the second line? Who will play left defense in the third pairing? Which combination of effective and affordable players in the fourth line will bring Edmonton below the salary cap? Where is Jesse? Can you face Puljujarvi and get your hands on $3 million worth? Do you need to increase the number of seats in

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All of that will be answered after the eighth and final (and final) game against the Kraken on preseason Friday.

Friday is the final rehearsal unless an answer has already been received, but head coach Jay Woodcroft has promised nothing has been decided yet.

“As coaches, we say, ‘If you have time, use it,'” he said after Thursday’s practice. “We’re using this final game as another opportunity to evaluate. There are some important battles underway.

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“There are people pushing very hard and I don’t think we need to lock ourselves in. We’re going to use the time we have.” Use as “

One of the biggest fights is the third pairing defense. This was supposed to be the start of a long and illustrious career for Philip Broberg in Edmonton, but the 2019 No. 8 overall pick comes as a strong challenge from 6-foot-6 banger Marcus Niimelainen and veteran Ryan Murray. Inside, the camp was lukewarm.

General manager Ken Holland said it on the first day of camp, and Woodcroft repeated it on Thursday.

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When they said Murray, 29, was here on a one-year deal to push the spot, it wasn’t just lip service. It is very likely that you will jump over your prospects.

“We try to use our eyes every day,” says Woodcroft. “We’re watching and we’re serious about icing the best lineup possible.

“It would be hypocritical if we came here and said, ‘There are a lot of fights and ice-time fights,’ and had a line of thinking that was decided in early September.

“We’re going to use our eyes, and we can’t be afraid to see what we see. Ryan Murray has made a good camp.”

That’s all Murray asked for when he signed here (1 year, $750,000) — a chance for a top 6 spot on merit.

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The Oilers are serious about winning the Stanley Cup this season. Now is not the time to make roster decisions based on who makes you a better team.

“If there’s a team trying to win, it’s a given,” Murray said. Murray is well aware that young players who are destined to one day become foundational pieces are looked upon very closely and with a forgiving eye. I completely understand the need.

“But once you’re on the right track, every game is so important when the regular season starts that anyone who plays well, whether it’s me or someone else, is going to play. I’m in good shape, if I’m in good shape, I’m sure I’ll be there.”

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What Murray does better than the other two is composure and experience, and that will soon become important. With the match being played away, a good start is essential.

“I definitely wasn’t perfect, but I just try and play and do what I do,” Murray said. Go see it and try to make a difference, I always tell myself that if I go out and play, good things will happen.”

When it comes to not being afraid to see what you see, Woodcroft said he can’t ignore the claims Dylan Holloway is making.

The battle with Jesse Purjujärvi for one of the coveted spots on the right flank next to Conor McDavid or Leon Drysaitl has been pretty lopsided so far. Purjujärvi showed more urgency in the Abbotsford match, trying to complete checks and increase his presence, but when the puck is on the stick, he continues to work on composure and decision-making.

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Holloway, on the other hand, has had some bright moments and mild turbulence in his first contact with the NHL’s heavy roster, but says his energy, skill and game give him the edge. I know how he thinks.

“I’m very happy with Dylan Holloway’s play in camp,” Woodcroft said. “There were some learning experiences going into building tough against tough lineups, but I thought he acquitted himself very well.

“The game didn’t have much rhythm (10) based on the amount of penalties (at Abbotsford), but he played on penalty kills, completed some checks and showed up on some offensive opportunities. I thought it was a good match for Dylan.”

Twitter.com/rob_tychkowski

rtychkowski@postmedia.com

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Edmonton Oilers training camp’s key battles boil down to one last game

Source link Edmonton Oilers training camp’s key battles boil down to one last game

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