Oilers sign top AHL sniper

SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 5:05 AM ET

The Oilers have landed last year's leading scorer of the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

And they may have also found a potential powerplay specialist when they inked free agent centre Chris Minard to an unspecified deal yesterday.

The 27-year-old, who also played 20 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season, had 34 goals -- including 21 on the powerplay -- and 57 points in 54 games last season in the AHL. He added a goal and two assists during his time with the Stanley Cup champs. Minard was a member of the "Black Aces" during the Pens' playoff run, but he didn't see any action.

Edmonton also signed defenceman Matt Nickerson yesterday. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound rearguard played the last two seasons professionally in Finland and Sweden. Nickerson, 24, was originally drafted by the Dallas Stars in the third round (99th) overall in the 2003 NHL draft.

Gruelling preseason set

Potential Oilers will be put through their paces early in preseason after a rigorous exhibition schedule was announced yesterday.

Edmonton opens the preseason with five games in six nights, beginning Sept. 15 in Calgary against the Flames. They travel back home the next night to host ex-Oilers netminder Dwayne Roloson and the New York Islanders.

After a day off, the club hosts Florida, Friday, Sept. 18, followed by a trip to Vancouver the next night and a neutral site contest in Saskatoon on Sept. 20, again vs. the New York Islanders.

After that, they host Calgary Sept. 23 before travelling to Winnipeg for a neutral site contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sept. 24.

The club concludes the preseason vs. the Vancouver Canucks on Sept. 27.


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