The Edmonton Oilers have made their final cuts. With a number of injured players on the roster that will be eligible to start the year on the NHL's Injured Reserve, the Oilers needed to make 5 cuts to get within striking distance of the league mandated 23 man roster for opening night.
The most notable cut made today is former 6th overall draft choice Gilbert Brule, who is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $1.8M whether he plays at the NHL or AHL level. Brule struggled to stay healthy last year, recording just 9 points in 41 games. He started his pre-season with an underwhelming game in Saskatoon versus Chicago, that was highlighted by a direct giveaway that led to a Blackhawks goal. His pre-season ended against Minnesota on Friday night, in a game that saw him take a cross-checking penalty that negated a game winning goal by Darcy Hordichuk late in the 3rd period.
Brule will be on waivers for a period of 24 hours, where he will be available to any NHL team that wishes to claim his contract. Also waived by the team today are forwards Josh Green, Ryan Keller and Ryan O'Marra. All 4 players will report immediately to Oklahoma City of the AHL if they clear waivers. Forward Teemu Hartikainen, who isn't subject to the waiver process, has been assigned directly.
With these cuts, the Oilers active roster sits at 27 players. With injuries to Ryan Whitney, Ladislav Smid, Taylor Fedun, Taylor Chorney, Sam Gagner and Ben Eager, the Oilers can get to their 23 man roster by placing 4 of those men on Injured Reserve.
The cuts mean that a number of new faces have made the opening night roster, most notably, recent 1st overall draft selection Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Here is the Oilers active healthy depth chart as it stands today:
Ryan Smyth - Shawn Horcoff - Ales Hemsky
Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Magnus Paajarvi - Eric Belanger - Linus Omark
Darcy Hordichuk - Anton Lander - Ryan Jones
Extras: Lennart Petrell
Cam Barker - Tom Gilbert
Theo Peckham - Jeff Petry
Andy Sutton - Corey Potter
(Filed by Dan Tencer)