Young guns send Carter packing

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 6:49 AM ET

The Oilers yesterday released Anson Carter, ending his brief tryout with Edmonton.

"I thought he played well, but our young players played so well that it wasn't about Anson," said head coach Craig MacTavish, who simply couldn't stunt the development of a Robert Nilsson, Marc Pouliot or Sam Gagner.

"It was about these young players and their level of readiness."

Still, it's not easy showing an old friend the door.

"It's a double-edged sword when you invite guys that you like, and have respect for, to camp, and there may be a spot or there may not be a spot. It's difficult to have those conversations. Anson understood and appreciated the opportunity."

- The Oilers placed winger Patrick Thoresen on waivers for the purpose of assigning him to Springfield.

- In signing Sam Gagner the Oilers had to return to the negotiating table with agent Mike Gillis, who was front and centre during the Michael Nylander controversy this summer.

"Rick Olczyk (Oilers cap guy/lawyer) is the one who handled a lot of this, and Kevin talked to his dad (Dave Gagner)," said Oilers VPof hockey operations Kevin Prendergast.

"Sam wants to be here and we want him here. When that happens you get it worked out."

- While Ladislav Smid and Denis Grebeshkov were a little risky in their own end in training camp, Tom Gilbert picked up right where he left off late last season, when he stood out in an emergency relief effort.

That's why Gilbert is skating with Dick Tarnstrom as Edmonton's third defence pair, while Smid and Grebeshkov will likely start the season as Nos. 7 and 8.

"You have to say that Gilbert deserves an opportunity," said MacTavish.

"And he'll likely get that Thursday night."

- Former Oilers captain Jason Smith has been given the C in Philadelphia, which comes as no surprise to MacTavish.

"I think you know how highly we hold Jason," said the coach.

"He did a great job as captain here, the longest serving captain in Oilers' history, which is a real tribute to him. Great leadership ability. I'm sure this is going to make the transition (to Philly) very, very easy.

"We wish him the best, with the exception of Saturday night."

Edmonton hosts the Flyers on Saturday.

The Oilers will announce their own captain before practice today. MacTavish suggested earlier in the preseason that Edmonton might employ a rotation similar to the one Minnesota used last year.


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