Two months – even two weeks – ago, Jack Campbell potentially facing his old team would headline a matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers.
After all the moves those two clubs made in the past couple days, though, Campbell may be the C or D plot of the Wednesday Night Hockey clash.
Toronto GM Kyle Dubas made four transactions on Monday and Tuesday, and while Edmonton GM Ken Holland wasn’t that busy, he swung a huge deal of his own, acquiring top-four defenceman Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators after clearing some much-needed cap space by sending disgruntled winger Jesse Puljujarvi to the Carolina Hurricanes.
So, how will things shake out as these guys shake hands with their new teammates and slot into the lineup?
Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft confirmed Ekholm – wearing his familiar No. 14 – would be in the Oilers lineup Wednesday, skating alongside Evan Bouchard.
Speaking of Bouchard, Woodcroft indicated both he and Darnell Nurse could see time on the first power-play unit in lieu of Tyson Barrie, who was shipped to Nashville in the Ekholm deal.
The Oilers’ top-ranked power play was obviously working very well with Barrie at the blue line, and Bouchard told reporters before the game on Wednesday that he learned a thing or two from how his former teammate operated.
“He put guys in good spots,” Bouchard said. “He took the shots when they were available and he made the right play a lot of time, and I think that’s why the power play clicked so well with him.”
As for the Leafs and their abundance of new defencemen, only one – Jake McCabe – will draw in versus Edmonton. Old friend and former Vancouver Canuck Luke Schenn is expected to join the team in Northern Alberta before the game and when he does eventually lace up his skates for Toronto, he’ll wear No. 22 after sporting No. 2 during his four-year tenure with the club to start his NHL career.
McCabe, as it happens, will be wearing Schenn’s old No. 2. The former Chicago Blackhawk, who was acquired on Monday, spent his first practice in blue and white Tuesday in Seattle on the left side of the second defence pair beside T.J. Brodie.
The third new D-man, Erik Gustavsson, will meet up with the Buds in Calgary ahead of their game versus the Flames on Thursday. The offence-first blue-liner was acquired on Tuesday from the Washington Capitals in the swap that sent Rasmus Sandin the other way.
With Pierre Engvall having been dispatched to the New York Islanders as part of Dubas’ flurry of moves, Alex Kerfoot is expected to slide into the left winger role Engvall had previously filled on the third line.
Bringing it all the way back to Campbell, Woodcroft would not tip his hand in terms of who the Oilers will start. If it is Campbell, Wednesday will mark the first time he’s faced the Leafs – a team he started 14 playoff games for – since departing as a free agent last summer.