Young defencemen racing for roster spots as Edmonton Oilers begin pre-season

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The race for spots on the Edmonton Oilers roster begins Monday night when the teams hosts the Winnipeg Jets in pre-season action at Rogers Place.

Evan Bouchard, drafted 10th overall by the Oilers in 2018, is slated to play. Bouchard was the star of Sunday’s scrimmage, racking up two goals and two assists as his side won 7-1.

READ MORE: Evan Bouchard shines in Edmonton Oilers scrimmage

“Everyone here is fighting for a job. They harped on, if you want to play here you have to take someone’s job,” said Bouchard, 19, who played seven NHL games last season.

“To play in the NHL you have to be able to hold your own in a lot of different situations. Each player has their strengths,” head coach Dave Tippett said. “Bouchard is a good offensive defenceman. He has unbelievable poise with the puck. The weaknesses in his game are inexperience and the ability to defend when he has to defend.”

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Also in the lineup Monday is Caleb Jones, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2015. Jones was with the Oilers for 17 games last season and scored his first NHL goal.

READ MORE: Gaetan Haas and Joakim Nygard hope European experience leads to spots with Edmonton Oilers

“I came in here with one goal and that’s to make the team,” said Jones, who had 29 points in 50 games with Bakersfield in the AHL.

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“You want to see them embrace that competition,” Tippett said. “A lot of them, especially the guys from Bakersfield last year, they’re all buddies. They’re all teammates. They have to recognize they want that job in the NHL. So far the competition has been pretty good. The next level starts tonight.”

“I have more confidence. I know what to expect,” Jones said. “I’ve played games. I’ve had success. I just have to go show it.”

The Oilers expected lineup is:

Gagner – Nugent-Hopkins – Neal

Khaira – Sheahan – Archibald

Nygard – Haas – Chiasson

Benson – Cave – P. Russell

Klefbom – Persson

Jones – Benning

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Lagesson – Bouchard



Catch the Oilers and Jets on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 5:30 p.m. The game starts at 7 p.m.