The Edmonton Oilers are heading into the season with a lot of familiar faces. Yet it's the new guys who may make the difference between a playoff berth and another early golf season. General manager Craig MacTavish went about trying to supplement his roster this off-season looking to provide support to his young up-and-coming stars. He gained secondary scoring by trading for David Perron and added bot-tomsix depth with Will Acton Boyd Gordon Ryan Hamilton and Jesse Joensuu. MacTavish also attempted to solidify his blue-line by signing Andrew Ference Anton Belov and trading for Philip Larsen. He added toughness with Steve MacIntyre. All told the Oilers will open the season with eight players who are new to the organization. Perron made the biggest impact in the preseason and is fitting in well with the young core. "The guys have made it really easy for me to come in here and have been very welcoming" Perron said. "It's good coming to the rink with smile every day knowing it's going to be fun here this year." Acquired in a trade for Magnus Paajarvi this off-season Perron will add offence to an already impressive lineup which includes Taylor Hall Jordan Eberle Sam Gagner Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov. Perron 25 had 10 goals and 25 points in 48 games with the Blues last season. The six-year veteran has twice collected at least 20 goals in a year. "I hope to have an important role on this team and be a factor every single night" Perron said. "Whether that's contributing on the offensive side which every player would like to do every night or on the penalty kill. Over the last couple of years I got more time on it in St. Louis and coming here I feel comfortable doing that." Perron fits into new head coach Dallas Eakins phi-l osophy of using offensive players in a penalty-killing role. It's a similar mindset shared by St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock. "I think the league is slowly moving towards that direction" Perron said. "If there is a bouncing puck or whatever at the blue line you probably want Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle going down there on a two-on-one. "You also have to think about the other side when you're on the power play and Pavel Datsyuk is on the PK you're really more aware of what kind of pass you're trying to make and he makes you be more aware. It seems like you have less time and the turnover happens and it's down the ice that's what we're going to try and accomplish."
New and improved Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Sun | Oct 1