On Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oilers announced via their social media accounts that the team had assigned both Evan Bouchard and Shane Starrett to the Bakersfield Condors. In addition, Jason Gregor also reported that Joel Persson suffered a shoulder injury, though the severity is not yet known.


When Ken Holland came to town as the Oilers’ GM, it was instantly assumed that the new operating procedures would allow for prospects to spend time in the minors before making the leap to the NHL, and that’s exactly what happened with Evan Bouchard. In years past, you just know that dad would have been rushed into the league and expected to produce whether he was ready or not, and it’s, frankly, refreshing to see the news that he’ll be starting the season in Bakersfield.

As Gregor mentioned, Ethan Bear has had a very good run on the Oilers’ blue line and clearly the coaches think he’s worth a longer look. With two preseason games remaining, I’d guess that Bear will play in both of them to give Dave Tippett a better understanding of how he’ll match up against more NHL ready rosters. I’d imagine that Bear’s chances of landing a roster spot will gain a significant boost if Joel Persson’s shoulder evaluation comes back with bad news (more on that below), but he’s earned the opportunity and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

As for Shane Starrett, it’s not exactly surprising to see the goaltender being returned to the Condors, Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith were always going to be the tandem, but that’s not to suggest that he had a poor pre-season at all because he certainly did not. In each of his appearances, Starrett made some noticeably big saves that kept his team alive and I hope that the taste of NHL pre-season is what he needs to power him through another successful run in Bakersfield. It would certainly be nice to see a goalie develop in the Oilers’ system for once, ya know?


Joel Persson left tonight’s game against the Arizona Coyotes early in the second period after he taking a short shift and then returning to the Oilers’ dressing room. According to Gregor, Persson suffered some kind of shoulder injury that will have to be reevaluated, but as an Oilers fan, we know that these problems don’t generally come back with good news. Considering the top-four spot he was occupying throughout the pre-season, Persson was looking like a big part of Dave Tippett’s plans and it will be very interesting to see what the doctors say after getting to look at him tomorrow.

I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that Persson has one of the best opportunities of anyone on the roster seeing as he was slotted alongside Oscar Klefbom with a prime shot at top-four minutes. Depending on how things go, this injury could derail or seriously delay what was amounting to an impressive start for the former substitute teacher turned first-year NHLer. Given the Oilers’ need for offence from the blue line, Persson’ offensive instincts are a rare asset on the depth chart and we’ll have to wait and see how this news affects the roster as we wind down the tune-up season.