Oilers bulk up in off-season

Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid, seen here at the Perry Pearn 3-on-3 camp in Edmonton, Alta., says...

Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid, seen here at the Perry Pearn 3-on-3 camp in Edmonton, Alta., says the addition of some hard-nosed players during the off-season will help the team. (CODIE McLACHLAN/QMI Agency)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:39 PM ET

EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oilers are not too keen on watching Taylor Hall fight his own battles.

The club would rather see their young star padding his stats than exchanging punches or taking hits from opponents.

So despite letting perhaps the top heavyweight in the league go, the Oilers have improved their toughness this season with the acquisitions of Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk and Andy Sutton.

Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk and Andy Sutton will bring a huge physical presence for us, said Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid, currently taking part in Perry Pearns three-on-three camp at the K of C Twin Arenas. The style of hockey were playing, were going to need players like that and I think theyre going to help us big time.

I think we needed it. But at the same time, these are guys who are physical, but can also play hockey. You talk about Hemmer (Ales Hemsky), hes taken some big hits in the past and hopefully its not going to happen again with those guy in the lineup.

Last season, Hall was injured in a fight with Columbus Blue Jackets forward Derek Dorsett. Hemsky has taken his share of abuse during his time with the Oilers.

It doesnt hurt to have those guys, said Oilers defenceman Theo Peckham. For me, that part of the game is a lot of fun.

Its definitely nice to be helping out in that respect, but at the end of the day, its about putting the puck in the net and keeping it out of ours. It should be pretty interesting. We definitely got a lot tougher, but with the other additions to our team, we also got a lot better, so it should be exciting.

Hall hasnt ruled out dropping the gloves again if he deems it necessary. But considering the Oilers probably got off lucky seeing their future franchise player just twist an ankle in the fight against Dorsett, its something theyd rather not see again.

If one of us is on the ice, its not going to happen again, Peckham said. It was tough to watch that, I wasnt playing that game, I was up in the press box. You kind have to take it upon yourself to make sure it doesnt happen again.

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

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