Well tonight will decide which of the young guys and marginal pros make the cut and survive (at least for now). Everyone that's locked in a position battle is in the line up tonight and it looks like Andrew Ebbett won't be making the cut at Center as he didn't make the lineup tonight and didn't play yesterday either. So It Boils down to these battles and who shines tonight:
Battle of the Kyles: Turris v. Wellwood - Kyle Wellwood looked great early in camp, but his production has fallen of lately. Kyle Turris hasn't produced much either, but he's been flying around and is in the middle of the play. The upside for those rooting for Turris? If the staff feels they're about equal Turris will get the spot because that's another contract the team won't have to use and it'll mean he's ready to stay in the NHL.
That Last Spot on Defense: Many will say that this is Oliver Ekman-Larsson v. David Schlemko v. Maxim Goncharov, but in reality I think OEL has already secured his spot on the team so it's Schlemko and Goncharov fighting for a spot in the press box. Both have looked decent in the preseason so far, but Goncharov has looked a little raw at times. If he'll play in San Antonio rather than going back to the KHL that wouldn't be a bad thing.
Surprise Winger?: Both Viktor Tikhonov and Mikkel Boedker are looking to knock a vet out of the picture. The obvious target has got to be Lauri Korpikoski if a guy is going to go. He's good in the shootout and on special teams, but if Boedker or Tikhonov can pick up that slack they could move him. There are rumblings that Petr Prucha or Taylor Pyatt could be on that fence as well. Everyone in the lineup tonight should be aware they're not safe.
Good luck in the battles, Coyotes vs. Oilers Gamethread is go.
Full Rosters after the Jump:
FORWARDS: Mikkel Boedker, Eric Belanger, Paul Bissonnette, Vernon Fiddler, Lauri Korpikoski, Petr Prucha, Taylor Pyatt, Lee Stempniak, Viktor Tikhonov, Kyle Turris, Scottie Upshall, Kyle Wellwood.
DEFENSEMEN: Adrian Aucoin, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Maxim Goncharov, Derek Morris, David Schlemko, Keith Yandle.
GOALIES: Ilya Bryzgalov, Jason LaBarbera.
Paajarvi - Gagner - Hemsky
Penner - Cogliano - Brule
Reddox - Fraser - Jones
Giroux - O'Marra - McDonald
Smid - Plante
Chorney - Gilbert
Petiot - Foster