The Oil Kings are currently sitting in the first wild card seat in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 6-7-0-1 after their first 14 games. Edmonton was riding a five game winning streak, before losing eight games straight in the month of October. This seminated from their road trip to America where they were outscored by American teams 30 to 14 in five games. They most recently won their game against the Kootenay ICE in a 6-3 win at home. Their next game is Saturday October 27th against the Saskatoon Blades.
Edmonton’s depth was a key contributor to their early win streak. They found scoring/offensive play from all three lines and their defensive core looked ten folds better than it was at struggling times last year. Since their loss to Spokane on Saturday October 6th, the Oil Kings have been scored on 34 times. Their goaltending has taken quite the hit as well, as the duo of Boston Bilous and Dylan Myskiw are both a sub .900 Sv%.
Something new to the team this season has been the influx of NHL scouts filing into the rinks. With several at every game this year to watch NHL prospects Matthew Robertson, David Kope, Boston Bilous, Jacson Alexander and Liam Keeler.
Jayden Platz was recently let go from the Oil Kings roster. Platz was a second round selection of the Oil Kings in 2015. Jayden provided a serviceable steady defender to the team’s roster. He was stable and adhered to the defensive play. Platz’s skating was never able to translate to the WHL ranks as he would struggle with four-way mobility and defensive retrievals. He produced three points in 65 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings over three seasons. After being dropped by the Oil Kings, Platz went to Sherwood Park of the AJHL. Since then, Platz has been picked up by the Tri-City Americans.
Edmonton currently sits third in the Eastern Conference in total goals for with 51 in four games. Only Lethbridge and Prince Albert sit ahead of them currently in this stat line. Both of those teams are above 0.500 and sit in the top two of their respective divisions. Edmonton faces off against the Lethbridge Hurricanes this upcoming Sunday in what is expected to be a high scoring affair.
One of the highlights of the Oil Kings as of late has been emergence of 2000-born defender Ethan Cap who has stepped up in a defensive role for the team since the departure of Platz. Cap was the teams first round pick in 2015 and hasn’t lived up to expectations as of yet. Cap has recently looked much more confident in the WHL with or without the puck. An assertive two-way defender, Cap excels when given bigger responsibilities in his defensive zone. A puck hound that likes to play physical, Cap is looking like a key piece of the team’s future.
Injuries have started to come around for the team as of late. Defenseman Will Warm and Matthew Robertson were out for awhile, though Robertson has returned. Netminders Sebastian Cossa and Todd Scott have remained on the injury list since the beginning of the season.
Cossa was named to play at the World U17 Hockey Challenge in New Brunswick starting in early November. He should return soon as he was listed as out day-to-day on the latest report.
Edmonton has found consistency from there top forwards. Trey Fix-Wolansky and Vince Loschiavo have found chemistry early in the year and have been displaying it on a consistent basis. Not only the leader off the ice, Wolansky leads the team in scoring with 23 points in 14 games.
Jake Neighbours has found himself on the team’s top line as of late. Neighbours started the year in a depth scoring role with Liam Keeler and Jalen Luypen. Slotted on the Wolansky’s wing with Loschiavo inhabiting the other side, Neighbours has 10 points in 14 games, good enough for fifth on team scoring.
Edmonton’s have a bumpy road over the next couple weeks, with games against Saskatoon and Lethbridge in a weekend back to back. Before heading to Southern Saskatchewan to play the two memorial cup teams last year in Regina and Swift Current in another back to back.