Drake Caggiula will play his first NHL game Saturday when the Edmonton Oilers visit the Dallas Stars. The 22-year-old was injured in the pre-season on October 6 against the Winnipeg Jets.
“It’s my first game in six weeks so my polish might not be there. I just want to contribute in any way I can,” says Caggiula, who is expected to play centre tonight.
“As he enters into the lineup, we have very high expectations for him down the road,” says head coach Todd McLellan. “We’ll ease him in. We think he’s quick. We think he has a shot. He reads the play well and can make our team faster.”
Winger Matt Hendricks will play his first game of the season. He was also injured in the pre-season. Defenceman Kris Russell is expected to return after missing seven games with an injury.
To make room for the returning players, defenceman Eric Gryba and winger Benoit Pouliot will be scratched. Pouliot has gone eleven games without a point.
“I talked to Benny the other day. We talked about getting some type of results,” says McLellan. “He’s honest when he plays. He’s giving us what he says right now. But the timing, the reading, the reacting, there’s not much getting done.”
One more player will have to be scratched. That’s likely to be centre Mark Letestu or winger Tyler Pitlick.
Anton Lander cleared waivers Saturday morning and has been assigned to Bakersfield of the AHL.
The Oilers and Stars are on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 3:30pm. The game starts at 5pm. (jrw)