It’s a preview of The Heritage Classic preseason style as the Winnipeg Jets make the trek up the Yellowhead Highway to face the Edmonton Oilers at brand spanking new Rogers Arena. This is the second preseason meeting between the two clubs. The Jets won the previous meeting 5-1 back on September 30 at the MTS Centre.
After losing their first exhibition contest, the Jets have won three in a row. Sadly, none of that will count in the standings but there are some positive signs from the Jets. 2015 first round pick Kyle Connor has had an outstanding preseason, scoring 3 goals. Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler look ready to recapture last year’s solid form. Josh Morrissey looks like he might make the opening roster. Yes there are question marks. (Brian Strait is bad. Ondrej Pavelec is untrustworthy. Jacob Trouba is still holding out.) Still, enjoy it now because when the season starts, the stress will be large.
Drew Stafford skated with the team after leaving Monday’s game against Ottawa with an upper body injury. Stafford won’t play in Edmonton but he should be ready for opening night. A strong performance by Connor Hellebuyck may land him the starting goalie job on opening night. We can only hope.
In case you haven’t heard, 19-year-old Connor McDavid was named captain of the Oilers on Wednesday. How that will affect the Oilers in the regular season remains to be seen but it is a fascinating decision that will trigger more than a few discussions around the league.
A 19-year-old captain?
— PATRICK WILLIAMS (@pwilliamsNHL) October 5, 2016
Nail Yakupov has been subjected to trade rumours, in particular to Chicago. While they are just rumours for the moment, the Oilers have been looking to deal the first overall pick of the 2012 draft to any suitor. This might be Yakupov’s last game as an Oiler.
Game Prediction: Close but the Oilers take it 3-2.
Obvious Prediction: There will be plenty of gushing sentiments about Rogers Arena and all its amenities.
Not So Obvious Prediction: The NHL will announce during the game that The Heritage Classic will move to Rexall Place so that the old Jets can relive so many playoff nightmares.