Oilers’ Athanasiou gets a big hit on winger for top scorer Draisaitl


During the first three days of the Edmonton Oilers phase 3 camp, Andreas Athanasiou looks like the left wing designated with Leon Draisaitl.And it’s his job to stay there after going through his first three weeks with his new one before the NHL break on March 12.

“Obviously, he’s a highly skilled player we swapped for,” said coach Dave Tippett, whose team abandoned two second-round picks and Sam Gagner. “By entering this camp, we wanted to give him this opportunity and see what he could do. It looks like it could be a good fit with Leon and Yamo (Kailer Yamamoto) with his speed. We will see how it goes. ”

Athanasiou has only entered the playoffs once, as a Detroit rookie in the spring of 2016.

“We played in Tampa in the first round. I think I and (Dylan) Larkin were the youngest. We lost in five games, said Athanasiou, who scored a goal in that streak and now has two points in his first nine games with the Oilers. “Leon is a world class player. When you are around him everyday, you see how he controls the game, he is really good at finding the open man. Amazing skill set. Fun to play with.

“It’s your job to build chemistry as quickly as possible. ”


Tippett wouldn’t say whether he would play Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith for 30 minutes of the exhibition game against Calgary on June 28, or go with the guy he thinks was better in phase 3 for the full 60 minutes in preparation for the qualification series.

“We will continue to play a lot and we will be watching our goalies to see where we are,” said Tippett. “We have a lot of time.

“But I wish I had played more than one game so I could play more players. But we don’t have one. ”

Tippett knows there is bad blood between the Oilers and the Flames.

“I think people will read more than there are,” he said of the exhibit. “You’d better use this game wisely to make sure your team play is in order.

“I think we can eliminate the rivalry. I mean, it’s a game and you’re in the playoffs. ”

Same story with Calgary coach Geoff Ward.

“It’s as close to a playoff simulation as we’re going to do. The guys are not crazy, they know what’s at stake. This is an exhibition game to prepare for the playoffs, “he said.


The Oilers will start their series in Chicago with a faceoff at 1 p.m. August 1, then games 2 (August 3) and 3 (August 5) will start at 8:30 p.m. The Oilers will be the home team for the game 1 as seeded in the Western Conference and in their locker room, but the Hawks are expected to be home for Game 2 while the Oilers move.

“Unusual circumstances accompany this whole scenario, but I hope that the guys from other teams will come here and see how nice we are and how nice our arena is and that they enjoy it,” said the defender of the Oilers Darnell Nurse. “Obviously you don’t want them to appreciate it too much, but hopefully they will come in and see how first rate it is.” ”

Tippett added: “I think we are comfortable with our environment. We will know how to get to the ice rink, but I don’t think there is an advantage over the fanless ice rink in the building. ”


The Oilers invited teenage defenseman Philip Broberg for the Phase 3 game to have him in the NHL because he never went to a main camp, but when Mike Green retired for family reasons, this left them with 10 defenders. Now Broberg could stay rather than return to Skelleftea in the Swedish Hockey League.

“It was a pleasant surprise for all of us,” said Tippett, who saw Broberg’s left shot play from the right side during the scrum. “He doesn’t look out of place at all.

“Broberg staying with us will be Ken’s decision (Holland, general manager).”

The first round of 2019 played regularly for Skelleftea at the age of 18 last season in a more defensive role, but he played against adult men.

The Oilers have 33 players in the camp and can have 31 players in the Phase 4 bubble.
Goalkeepers Olivier Rodrigue and Dylan Wellsand might be odd men, but maybe they want to keep four goalies in the bubble, with farmer Stuart Skinner as No. 3 clear on their depth chart.

What ‘n’ that: Defender Caleb Jones skated again with the three additional goalkeepers and a few others from the first group. He could be back with the main group on Friday… Still no sign of the Hawks’ No. 1 goalkeeper, Corey Crawford, who leaves Malcolm Subban as their possible starter for the Oilers series. Defender Calvin De Haan (family emergency) was also absent on Wednesday for a second day … The Oilers officially loaned farm worker defender Dmitry Samorukov to CSKA in Moscow for the Continental Hockey League season … Ian Mitchell of Calahoo signed a three-year contract with the Blackhawks, but former Spruce Grove Saints and University of Denver defender will not be eligible for return to the game… Hawks rookie Dominik Kubalik, who scored 30 goals in 68 games , is one of the finalists for the Calder Trophy. Chicago won rights to Kubalik of Los Angeles in a trade in 2019, dropping a fifth-round pick.

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On Twitter: @NHLbyMatty


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