SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers calling up more troops

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:59 PM ET

The Edmonton Oilers need reinforcements, but they’re not enthusiastic about having to take them from a team in a playoff race.

That’s one of the reasons the Oilers will wait until Thursday to call up three forwards from their AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City, allowing them to play Wednesday night in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“We have names circled, but they have a game (Wednesday) so we have to wait and see if everybody makes it through, and go from there,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “We’ll let them see how they play (Wednesday) and draw some conclusions from there.”

Currently the Oilers have nine forwards on the roster, due to Shawn Horcoff, Gilbert Brule, J.F. Jacques, Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky all being out of the lineup with injuries. The team is down to just two natural centermen in Andrew Cogliano and Colin Fraser.

It’s expected two of the three players called up from the Oklahoma City Barons will be natural centremen, leading to speculation Brad Moran and Ryan O’Marra will be recalled.

Moran, 31, has 18 goals and 37 assists for 55 points in 67 games for the Barons this season. O’Marra has two goals and 20 assists.

The Oilers could also look at the option of bringing up Milan Kytnar, a fourth-round draft pick in 2007, or Chris Vandevelde, a fourth-round pick in 2005 in his first year of professional hockey, having spent the last four seasons with the University of North Dakota.

Whomever they call up will be playing his third game in three nights, as the Oil Barons played on Tuesday as well.

“It is a concern, but we have no choice,” said Renney. “Unless somebody is doing something extraordinary and we’ve signed someone from South Africa or something, this is it.

“But they’re going to want to come up and play in the NHL, which is good. We’ll be able to play off of them and do everything we can to have a position to have some success.”

With the amount of injuries to their roster, the Oilers are able to call up players on an emergency basis, circumventing the NHL’s limited number of recalls after the trade deadline. That may allow the Oilers to take a look at a number of different players in the farm system.

“That’s possible, we’ve talked about that, too,” Renney said. “We’re in a situation where Oak City is in a position to continue to pursue that playoff spot, so we want to be conscious of that as well, and we want to do everything we can to help them.

“That being said, that is a situation where we might be able to look at a couple of guys at a time.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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