In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, seven years after drafting what could wind up being one of the Oilers top defenseman, there’s a reason for optimism. Finally, are insiders predicting an upset by the Chicago Blackhawks over the Oilers? At least one publication seems to be. And, what does the Oilers official play-in roster look like?

Blackhawks to Upset the Oilers?

Mike Johnson and Mike Rupp of the NHL Network have made some predictions when it comes to the play-in rounds. Both former NHLers have picked the No. 12 seeded Chicago Blackhawks to upset the No. 5 ranked Edmonton Oilers.

Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup
The Chicago Blackhawks pose for a team photo after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime and win the Stanley Cup in Game 6 of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final, June 9, 2010. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Suggesting the Oilers can’t count on special teams, they believe the veteran Blackhawks will see their vast playoff experience get them through the series. “The Edmonton Oilers were so reliant on their power play and penalty kill,” said Johnson. “If that goes cold, 5-on-5 hockey, which playoff hockey involves more of, doesn’t favour them to the same degree.”

The Oilers are clearly the better team in more areas than special teams but it goes to show how unpredictable these play-in rounds could be. That media are actually selecting one of the best teams forced to take part in the play-in vs. one of the worst speaks volumes. You can see the clip below:

The plus side is that should the Oilers actually lose, they’ll have the consolation of knowing they have a 12.5% chance to draft Alexis Lafreniere. Just imagine what media would be saying if the Oilers won another lottery?

Related: Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson Trade Revisited

Nurse Drafted Seven Years Ago Today

Seven years to the day after the Edmonton Oilers drafted defenseman Darnell Nurse, the team must realize what a wise choice it was grab him at the No. 7 spot in the first round. Proving he’s a big part of their future, earlier this year, the Oilers signed him to a two year, $5.6-million contract lasting through the 2021-22 season.

Darnell Nurse Edmonton Oilers
Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Nurse has established himself as a solid top-four defenceman and he’s starting to chip in on offense. This past season he scored 33 points in 71 games and during the 2018-19 season, posted 41 points in 82 games.

The good news for Nurse fans is that he’s mentioned wanting to sign a long-term extension with the team. With the uncertainty around the NHL salary cap, the Oilers may get him at a better value than they originally hoped if he’s ok with taking a deal to stay with the franchise.

Related: Oilers History: The Paul Coffey Effect

Oilers Full Play-in Roster Revealed

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson shared what he learned to be the full Oilers play-in roster and fans shouldn’t be terribly surprised with most of the names on it. The Bakersfield Condors are well represented, as are a few of the Oilers top international prospects.

Forwards

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Leon Draisaitl – Kailer Yamamoto
  • Tyler Ennis – Connor McDavid – Zack Kassian
  • Andreas Athanasiou – Riley Sheahan – Josh Archibald
  • James Neal – Jujhar Khaira – Alex Chiasson
  • Joakim Nygard – Gaetan Haas – Patrick Russell
  • Tyler Benson – Cooper Marody – Markus Granlund
  • Ryan McLeod

Defencemen

  • Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
  • Darnell Nurse – Ethan Bear
  • Kris Russell – Matt Benning
  • Caleb Jones – Mike Green
  • William Lagesson – Evan Bouchard
  • Philip Broberg

Goalies

  • Mikko Koskinen
  • Mike Smith
  • Stuart Skinner
  • Olivier Rodrigue
Ethan Bear
EDMONTON, AB – MARCH 3: Ethan Bear #74 of the Edmonton Oilers lines up for a face off during the game against the New York Rangers on March 3, 2018 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Matheson adds that a few players have joined camp now, some of them quarantining before skating with the team. He writes:

“Ten other players are currently self-quarantining here, eight from outside Canada.Euros and Americans have to be here by Friday per NHL/NHLPA directive. Canadian-born players have to be in town 48 hours before Phase 3 camp opens. Tentatively, July 10 but it might be pushed back until July 13.

source -‘Ethan Bear and Patrick Russell join Edmonton Oilers voluntary skate’ Jim Matheson – Edmonton Journal – 06/29/2020

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