It’s ridiculously early days, so take this with a grain of very speculative salt but Kurt Leavins from the Edmonton Journal’s Cult of Hockey has been taking in the training camp and reporting back to us his findings which for the most part have been fairly glowing for the players involved but one, Drake Caggiula.
“Of greater interest to me is who will play on the right side. Drake Caggiula was there Friday, and started there Saturday, too. But he was replaced, part-way through, by Kailer Yamamoto, before returning to that line toward the end. Yamamoto had been on the Gambardella-Christoffer line. Some speculative eyes saw Caggiula having a sleepy 1st Period, and read this as a demotion. But it is also important to see Yamamoto with high-end players. Most really good athletes play better with elite talent. Average ones often have a hard time keeping up, physically and mentally. Which was the case for Caggiula? Hard to say.” – source
“As with Saturday’s sessions, Drake Caggiula had a difficult time getting on track early, and just didn’t look himself for the first half. But he came on considerably, after the break, with a gorgeous finish to a 2-on-1 break with Draisaitl that sent more than a few ooh’s and ahh’s to the rafters at Rogers. Caggiula was much better after that.” – source
Now, maybe it’s just me and maybe it’s just the Oilers trying to experiment a little but when I hear of Caggiula looking “sluggish” and “sleepy”, it doesn’t give me any reassurances that the 2nd year player is ready to take on the new responsibility and the depth on the right wing is already in question. If Caggiula continues to take his time getting used to his more talented and senior linemates, how long until McLellan replaces him and with who?
Joey Laleggia is a player I keep saying to watch out for folks. He’s got speed and he can score PLUS he’s got a helluva lot more professional hockey experience than Caggiula. Or does Chris Kelly all of a sudden come into the picture here? He’s not a top-6 man but if Puljujarvi keeps performing well at training camp, would Kelly fit in beside Jokinen and RNH?
Definitely, something to think about.
That’s not to say that the Drake isn’t ready for pro hockey. He is ready, as he showed last season. I’m just wondering if he could use a bit more time beside Mark Letestu and Zack Kassian and working on the PK instead of firing him onto a line with Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl right off the bat.
And I don’t think it’s pessimistic or unfair to think that someone from last season’s roster may not work out this season. If it’s Caggiula or Slepyshev, someone of that ilk, we should consider ourselves lucky, no?
Now, tonight we’re going to be treated to our first real serious (kind of) hockey of the 2017/18 season as our Oilers take on the NHL’s newest relocation consideration. It’s a split-squad game meaning we’re going to get an awesome chance to focus on some of the players whose roster place isn’t a guarantee like Joey Laleggia or Chris Kelly and some of the players who may be struggling like Caggiula.
I’m predicting double blow-outs and a combined score of 9-1 in favor of the Oilers 🙂
Now scroll down and check out a sweet vid from the BLH Youtube channel and a couple of t-shirts that are MUST HAVES if you’re an Oilers fan!