When the Edmonton Oilers make their final roster decisions, veterans like Colton Sceviour hope they have shown enough in pre-season to earn a spot on team.
Sceviour, a 32-year-old with 500 NHL games with three different teams, knows the Oilers didn’t offer him a professional tryout contract (PTO) to score goals.
“My two-way game, my ability to kill penalties is probably my biggest strength,” said Sceviour, a Red Deer, Alta., native, who had five goals and 10 points in 46 games with Pittsburgh last year.
“You look at the lineup of the Oilers, they score goals. They don’t need me offensively. They have that covered.”
Sceviour, a right-winger who also spent time with Dallas and Florida, earned an assist and blocked a couple of shots in 10:33 of ice time as the Oilers defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 Saturday night in the final exhibition game for both teams.
Sceviour assisted on Brendan Perlini’s first-period goal that came just 49 seconds after defenceman Evan Bouchard gave Edmonton the lead on a power play.
Kailer Yamamoto scored shorthanded early in the second period to make it 3-0 for the Oilers (6-1-1).
The Canucks (2-5-0) made it close when Phillip Di Giuseppe and J.T. Miller scored late in the third period.
“You know rosters have to be submitted soon so you want to play good for the last game,” said Sceviour.
“A lot of us are very different players. It’s different things we bring to the lineup on a nightly basis. It’s how those pieces fit into the puzzle. I don’t think it’s necessarily they (players) are not good enough, they probably need to fit a certain way.”
Oilers coach Dave Tippett said management has decisions to make before rosters are finalized Monday.
“I don’t think there is anybody that has played themselves off the team,” he said.
“You get people that play themselves into a position. They force your hand. Then there is the necessity stuff that comes with special teams or what you are looking for on a line.”
Perlini is another player hoping he showed the coaches enough to stick with the team. The 25-year-old was picked 12th overall by Arizona in the 2014 draft. He played 239 NHL games, collecting 46 goals and 76 points, with Arizona, Chicago and Detroit before playing in Switzerland last year.
His goal against Vancouver was his sixth of the pre-season.
“Any time you get an opportunity like this in the NHL you try and take advantage of it,” he said. “I just wanted to come in, work my hardest and give my best.
“The goals come and go. I just tried to work as hard as I could on a two-way game.”
Goaltender Mikko Koskinen played the first period for Edmonton, stopping all 11 shots he faced. Stuart Skinner stopped 15-of-17 shots over the final 40 minutes.
Thatcher Demko faced 18 shots for the Canucks.
The Canucks made it interesting in the third period. Di Giuseppe tipped in a Matthew Highmore shot at 13:44. With Demko on the bench for an extra attacker, Miller scored at 17:42 off a pass from defenceman Quinn Hughes.
The Canucks had a chance to tie the game with a six-on-four advantage after Bouchard took a late penalty but failed to score.
The Canucks iced mostly the team that will play this season. The Oilers took a final look at several players fighting for roster spots. Stars like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse and Tyson Barrie didn’t dress.
Miller wasn’t bothered by Vancouver’s exhibition record.
“You’re not playing with the full lineup, you’re missing people,” he said. “You’re just trying to get your bearings. You’re just trying to come together as a team.”
The Canucks lost 3-2 in Edmonton on Thursday night. The teams will play each other again Wednesday in their NHL regular season-opening game.
That will be the start of a six-game road trip for Vancouver.
“We’re excited to go into that building and play against a really good team,” said Miller. “It’s going to be an awesome test and an awesome road trip for us to get going.”
Like many players in his position, Sceviour will wait to see if he will have a job when the season starts.
“That’s not my decision,” he said. “Whichever way it goes I’m comfortable with how I played. I don’t think I came in and was so bad I wasted anybody’s time.
“I feel like I gave it a shot and put a good foot forward. However it rolls out from here is out of my control.”
NOTES: Canucks defenceman Jack Rathbone played in all seven exhibition games. … Prior to the game the Canucks sent centre Carson Focht and right winger William Lockwood to the AHL Abbotsford Canucks. … Before giving up the first goal Vancouver had outshot Edmonton 10-2. …. Former Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith was booed by the crowd each time he touched the puck for Edmonton.
Jim Morris, The Canadian Press