The Edmonton Oilers have had a week to rest, recuperate and get ready for a matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The club feels like they have a lot to prove after being swept in their previous three games against Toronto and not looking good in the process. Edmonton exited that series and went on a strong run of wins while the Leafs have looked nothing like the dominant force that shut down Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Still, the hope of a strong game against Toronto isn’t the only thing fans are talking about.
Yamamoto Returns for Oilers
One of the benefits of the week off is that the Oilers will get forward Kailer Yamamoto back in the lineup Saturday. He’s been out for some time and he will make a nice compliment to that second line. Head coach Dave Tippett said of Yamamoto’s return, “He’s great on the forecheck, he keeps pucks alive, he’s got good skill to make plays & he’s a smart defensive player.”
McDavid was asked about Yamamoto coming back and said it’s good to have such an aggressive forechecker back and he’s got a lot of useful tools he’ll bring back with him. He noted that he’d like to see Yamamoto not defer as much going forward but that’s bound to happen with a younger player.
Dylan Holloway an Option for the Oilers This Season?
Wisconsin was eliminated out of the Big-10 which means the Oilers will need to make a decision on what to do with prospect Dylan Holloway. Some are wondering if there’s a chance he plays in Edmonton this season?
As Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic writes, “If Dylan Holloway signs with the Oilers (logical next step), a stint in Bakersfield makes the most sense.” He addes, “He can step right into the lineup (rather than having to quarantine) and get acclimated to the pro game. If he excelled, his skill set should be desirable to the big club.”
There is an argument to be made that burning a year of Holloway’s ELC (entry-level contract) can help keep the cost of his next contract down and TSN’s Craig Button thinks Holloway could come in. If the Oilers don’t add before the NHL Trade deadline at forward, Holloway could be an option and the team is high on him. Even if he’s not slated to make a major impact, he could see some games as a test before the playoffs.
Holloway could start out with the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL and he could work with coach Jay Woodcroft who could then help the Oilers decide if he’s ready. The new quarantine rules from CDN government means a recall from Bakersfield is now 7 days instead of 14.
McDavid Says It’s Time to Show “We Can Beat These Guys”
McDavid was asked about the feeling for the team this week and said that everyone has been extremely bored. The team is eager to get back to playing and while guys will be rested, the team wants to make sure they dial things in right away and don’t come back too lethargic.
When asked about the group’s motivation, “We have to show not only them but ourselves that we can play with these guys and we can beat these guys. We’ve done it before.” It won’t be the physically that the Oilers may feel a bit less than themselves but the mental aspect of the game they need to ensure doesn’t slip.
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