Hockey is back tonight, and the big headline is the return of Connor McDavid. Tonight, the Jackets battle him and his squad first in their swing against Western Canada.
Both teams have had forgettable first halves, and what better way to start the second half right against one of the worst teams in the league.
The Oilers have made a lot of changes since the summer. Edmonton lost Viktor Fasth (EU), Steve Pinzotto (EU), Richard Backman (VAN), and Matt Fraser (WPG) to the open market. The Oil also dealt Boyd Gordon to Arizona for Lauri Korposki; Martin Mannicin to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a draft pick and Brad Ross. That draft pick was then dealt with Travis Ewanyk to Ottawa for Eric Gryba. The Oilers also traded a first round pick (Matthew Barzal) to the New York Islanders for Griffin Reinhart. Edmonton trades Liam Coughlin to the Chiacgo Blackhawks for Andres Nilson. Edmonton also dealt a second round pick for Cam Talbot. Recently, they traded Ben Scrivens to Montreal for winger Zack Kassian. They added McDavid, Andrej Sekera, and Mark Letestu via free agency. They also hired Todd McLellan as their head coach and Peter Chiarelli as their general manager.
In terms of the lineups tonight, nothing imminent for the Blue Jackets; however, John Tortorella is expected to be back behind the bench. As for Edmonton, McDavid is back after separating his shoulder against Philadelphia.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Brandon Saad- Alex Wennberg - Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell - William Karlsson - Matt Calvert
Kerby Rychel - Gregory Campbell - Jared Boll
Ryan Murray - Seth Jones
Jack Johnson - Justin Falk
Fedor Tyutin - Dalton Prout
Scratches: Cody Goloubef, Jared Boll
Injuries: Sergei Bobrovsky (groin), David Clarkson (back), Curtis McElhinney (ankle), David Savard (oblique)
Taylor Hall - Leon Draisatil - Teddy Purcell
Benoit Pouliot - Connor McDavid - Jordan Eberle
Zach Kassian - Mark Letestu - Nail Yaukpov
Iiro Pakarinen - Matt Hendricks - Lauri Korposki
Andrej Sekera - Mark Fayne
Griffin Reinhart - Adam Clendenning
Darnell Nurse - Eric Gryba
Scratched: Anton Lander, Luke Gazdic
Injured: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand), Oscar Klefbom (leg), Andrew Fernece (hip), Brandon Davidson (illness), Justin Schultz (illness)
Players to Watch
Columbus Blue Jackets: Camsanity. After being named the second star if the week later week, Cam Atkinson is carrying a chip on his shoulder.
Edmonton Oilers: McJesus. Connor McDavid is back for the Oilers, and still has a shot at the Calder, according to some. His team still has an outside shot of making the playoffs, and he can help them get into it.
Enjoy the games tonight. More to come…