Snapshots: Oilers, Edvinsson, Merilainen, Fitzgerald
It appears as if the Oilers will have two of their star performers available for training camp as head coach Jay Woodcroft told 630 CHED (audio link) that both defenseman Darnell Nurse and center Leon Draisaitl are expected to be ready when team activities open up next month. Nurse played through the playoffs with a torn hip flexor and while it was speculated at the time that he would need surgery, that wound up not being the case. As for Draisaitl, he suffered what appeared to be a leg injury in the final game of the first round but still managed to go on a tear offensively in their last two rounds, putting up 23 points in just nine games. Elsewhere around the hockey world: After missing Monday’s preliminary round game at the World Juniors, Sweden head coach Tomas Monten told NHL.com’s Mike Morreale (Twitter link) that blueliner Simon Edvinsson is expected to play in Wednesday’s quarterfinal matchup against Latvia. The Red Wings prospect didn’t suit up last game due to an illness. Edvinsson has a goal and an assist in three games so far while averaging a team-high 22:13 per contest. Senators prospect Leevi Merilainen has decided to play in Finland this season over returning to Kingston of the OHL, relays Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch. The 20-year-old was a third-round pick in 2020 and played in 53 games with the Frontenacs last season, posting a 3.29 GAA and a .891 SV%. However, he’s expected to get an opportunity to compete for the starting job with Karpat in Finland’s top division and Ottawa is in agreement that the opportunity to battle for that spot is what’s best for his development. After spending the last two seasons with Philadelphia on an NHL two-way deal, the Flyers have brought back forward Ryan Fitzgerald on a minor league contract, per a team release from their AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley. The 27-year-old was limited to just four games last season after undergoing surgery on both hips back in September. The year before, he picked up 21 points in 28 games and a return to that level of performance could help secure him another NHL deal next summer.