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Edmonton Oilers

Oilers Make Surprising Changes to Main Roster for Playoffs

The Edmonton Oilers made a couple of key roster decisions ahead of their first-round playoff matchup with the LA Kings.

After calling up several players for the final two games of the regular season, the Edmonton Oilers made some roster moves on Friday, assigning defenceman Philip Broberg and winger Adam Erne to the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. Interestingly, both Sam Gagner and Dylan Holloway remain with the team and will stay on the main roster for the Oilers’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings.

While Holloway’s name might not come as a shock considering how well he’s played since being called up a couple of weeks ago, Gagner hasn’t seen much time at all with the Oilers in the second half of the season. He played Thursday night versus the Colorado Avalanche, but the veteran hasn’t necessarily been worked into the team’s playoff plans.

Sam Gagner Edmonton Oilers

Gagner will remain with the club through the playoff run as a Black Ace. The “Black Aces” are additional players enlisted during a team’s playoff push after their own season ends, often from minor leagues or other teams. These players train with the team and stand ready to step in if needed due to injuries or other absences among the regular lineup. Gagner is happy to accept the jpb and he’s possibly the best player suited for it.

Gagner has surprisingly few playoff games (11) on his NHL resume considering how long he’s been in the league. Still, he offers leadership and veteran experience. He’s a calming presence who is willing to take on any role asked of him.

Holloway Has Earned an Opportunity

Holloway sticking the team isn’t a surprise. During the late-season stretch, he’s showcased his skills and scored five points in six games. More importantly, the action seemed to follow him and he was engaged, often drawing penalties and making plays with much more confidence than he’d done in his previous stint with the team. His impactful physicality on the forecheck created multiple offensive opportunities.

It’s not clear if he’ll be in the starting lineup or if he’ll sit, but Holloway has earned the right to be with the team and he could be one of the surprises of the postseason.

Meanwhile, Gagner will be around to help mentor Holloway and others, while being ready to go in the event of an injury.

Is Not Keeping Broberg a Surprise?

Some may wonder if putting defenseman Philip Broberg back in the AHL versus keeping him as a Black Ace is the best decision. He appears to have taken a step in the AHL and he could provide additional depth where the Oilers might be lacking it. Edmonton feels they have their extra guy in Troy Stecher and the hope is that their top six will remain healthy during the post-season.

Next: Oilers’ Coach Admits to Big Mistake Ahead of Playoffs vs Kings

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