Within an all-Canadian Division, the Battle of Alberta will be hot-and-heavy this season. It looks as if the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames will play each other 10 times during the regular season. Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland announced on Monday the number of times, which suggests that he (and other NHL general managers) have likely seen the schedule. However, it hasn’t been shown to fans at this time.
This is an interesting season, and it will probably pit long-time rivals against each other often. That probably also means that the Montreal Canadiens and the Maple Leafs will also likely play each other 10 times. What seems like a dream in Canada of an all-Canadian-only division will also probably happen only during this 2020-21 season. It isn’t something fans should get used to, but it will sure be fun for this season.
As we wait to hear more news about the NHL’s schedule, in this post I’ll try to help Oilers fans stay more up-to-date with news emerging from the organization.
Item One: Ken Holland Hopes to Sign RFA Ethan Bear Soon
Oilers’ general manager Holland is hopeful that he can sign restricted free agent Ethan Bear to a new contract soon. During 71 2019-20 NHL games, Bear scored five goals and 16 assists (for 21 points). He also had 106 blocked shots and 59 hits.
Perhaps more important however is that Bear absolutely chewed up minutes on defense, averaging almost 22 minutes per game. The Oilers have been patient, but it seems that Bear’s become an important part of the Oilers’ defense.
Holland announced that, “Hopefully we can come to an agreement in the next week or so.”
Item Two: Gaetan Haas Is Quarantining and Will Miss Some of the Oilers’ Training Camp
Gaetan Haas might not have COVID-19, but he was close to someone who did. As a result of his close contact to a positive case when he was playing in Switzerland, he’ll miss the beginning of the Oilers’ training camp.
Oilers’ Holland reports that Haas’ close contact happened earlier this month; and, as a result, Haas’ travel timeline has been pushed back.
During his time with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League, the 28-year-old Hass scored five goals and eight points during the 14 games of his loan.
Item Three: Old News, But Oscar Klefbom Is Gone for the Season.
Holland has confirmed once again that defenseman Oscar Klefbom (who has a shoulder injury) won’t play during the 2020-21 season. Holland’s tweet made it official.
The Oilers hope and plan to have Klefbom back for the beginning of the 2021-22 campaign. The 27-year-old Swedish defenseman has had a nagging shoulder injury and wasn’t expected to play this season.
During the 2019-20 season, Klefbom scored five goals and 29 assists (for 34 points) in 62 games. The Oilers signed Tyson Barrie during the offseason to replace Klefbom as the quarterback of the Olier’s top power-play unit.
Item Four: Leon Draisaitl Named Germany’s Sportsman of the Year
Oilers’ forward Leon Draisaitl was recently named Germany’s Sportsman of the Year. He and basketball’s Dirk Nowitzki have been the only team-sport athletes to ever win the award during the 73-year history of its presentation. It was a good year for Draisaitl, and this award wasn’t the only one he’s received.
Closer to Canada, the Oilers’ forward also was named as the winner of the Art Ross Trophy (given to the player who led the NHL in points – he scored 110 points in only 71 games). Due to his impressive 2019-20 performance, Draisaitl also won the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award.
Item Five: Oilers’ Prospect Philip Broberg Named Captain of Team Sweden’s World Junior Team
Edmonton prospect Philip Broberg has been named captain of Sweden’s 2021 World Junior Championship team. He was a first-round pick of the Oilers during the 2019 NHL Entry Draft (eighth overall). He’s one of the top prospects in the Oilers’ organization. Playing in Sweden, he scored two goals and eight points in 23 Swedish Hockey League games before joining Team Sweden for the IIHF World Junior Championships.
His head coach Joel Ronnmark noted that Broberg “is a great captain for our group. He is doing his third JVM and is extremely experienced for his age. He is a leader on and off the ice.”
The Oilers believe there’s a chance that Broberg can make the team’s lineup. He’s a great skater and will probably be groomed into a quarterback of the Oilers’ power play.
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