The Edmonton Oilers have assigned forward Anton Slepyshev to the Bakersfield Condors, the team announced Tuesday.
Slepyshev suffered a lower-body injury prior to the start of training camp, which held him out for the majority of the preseason. As he recovers, he will condition and get back into the swing of things with the Condors to start the year. After a short AHL stint, he is expected to make his return to Edmonton.
Head coach Todd McLellan told the media that he would have loved for Slepyshev to return Wednesday, but didn’t find that “fair” to the Oilers that went through the grind of training camp.
“We’d like him to go to Bakersfield and play one game there, perhaps as early as this weekend, and then bring him back and find a spot for him in our lineup,” McLellan said.
The Russian winger suited up for 41 games with the Oilers last season, scoring four goals and 10 points. He also played in nine games with the Condors, racking up three goals and 10 points. Still, his most notable performance came in the postseason, where he had three goals in 12 games and was one of the team’s hardest working forwards.
Coming off a strong 2016-17 campaign, Slepyshev has plenty to offer, and has shown more goal-scoring progress over time. He is a versatile player who can play any side of the wing, and he is an excellent skater with a great shot. In addition, the 6-foot-2, 221-pound winger plays a physical game and takes good care of the puck, rarely turning it over.
However, he will have to work on being more dominant in the offensive zone and also needs to be more confident in his play. Not only that, the 23-year-old could stand to shoot the puck more.
As he begins the years in the minor leagues, Jujhar Khaira, Iiro Pakarinen and Kailer Yamamoto will all get to start the year on the opening night roster. Each of them played well in the preseason, and because of this, they will all get to prove their worth on the main roster to kick off 2017-18.