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The Oilers will keep their AHL farm team in Bakersfield, like the Flames in Stockton and Vancouver in Utica, N.Y., rather than move them for the 2020-21 season to their own respective cities since it wasn’t economically feasible. Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg have their affiliates in Canada already.

“In terms of size of the roster, most of this is media speculation. We haven’t had a general managers’ call on that number,” Oilers GM Ken Holland said of the increase to 26 players. “My stance is give me the transition rules and we’ll live by them. We want our farm teams in the U.S for various reasons.

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“Certainly, with the border situation and health concerns in the provinces with regards to quarantining, a taxi squad would be beneficial.”

The Oilers have 17 forwards on one-way contracts, including Patrick Russell Jersey and Alan Quine Jersey, and farm winger Tyler Benson Jersey, currently on loan to a Swiss team, is certainly in the mix but on a two-way deal. On defence, an increased roster would help Bouchard, playing in Sweden on loan. Obviously, the Oilers are up against the $81.5 million cap ceiling, so they’re not sure how adding players would work.

“There could be a lot of games in a short period of time, but for every positive there’s a negative. We don’t want players just sitting around. We’d rather they play in Bakersfield because they’ll only be playing games within their division and busing in and out for road games,” said Holland, with the AHL possibly going to a 44-game schedule starting Feb. 5 and ending in May.

If you’re in Bakersfield, you could be there for the long haul. No look-sees.

“Having our farm team in Edmonton doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons. You have to fly them across the country (if there was a Canadian AHL division) and you’ve got hotel rooms to pay for. There’s more expense, and the COVID concern,” he said. “That said, recalling somebody from Bakersfield could be tough with the quarantine.”

But Bouchard may not see Bakersfield again.

“At some point, we have to see what he can do,” said Holland.

The Oilers have to get players back from Europe and the U.S. in the next two weeks for quarantine issues if camp were to open Jan. 3. Where they skate with the world junior championships taking over Rogers Place and the Downtown Community Arena is a question. TSN’s Jason Gregor tweeted they might use NAIT.

At the Team Canada camp, coach Andre Tourigny said Holloway, the Oil’s first pick this year, is “so powerful, strong, strong on the puck. His skating is outstanding. His effort is always there. He brings a lot of intangibles,” reported Mark Masters of TSN.

Tourigny had Holloway on a line with Alex Newhook and Jakob Pelletier and praised their performance, along with the line of Connor McMichael, Kirby Dach and Dylan Cozens, reported Steven Ellis of The Hockey News.

As for Savoie, University of Denver head coached David Carle raved about the forward and fellow Edmonton-area recruit Mike Benning in a Denver Post article. “They’ve got ice in their veins. They love the game of hockey. They’re gamers. They want to be on the ice in big moments. They know when to move the puck, where to be on the ice offensive. It’s really impressive and it gives our bench, our team, a lot of confidence when they’re out there.”

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Lavoie, Savoie and Holloway are part of an Oilers prospect group at forward that includes Tyler Benson, Ryan McLeod Jersey, Kirill Maksimov, Tyler Tullio, and Cooper Marody Jersey. It’s hard to imagine there aren’t three or four future NHLers in this bunch, along with a first or second line player or two in this group.

This kind of prospect depth at forward is a welcome change.

The Oilers haven’t covered themselves in glory in terms of drafting and development in recent years, but it looks like Edmonton has now assembled it’s top group of forward prospects since 2010, when the organizational prospect rankings had Taylor Hall Jersey on top, Jordan Eberle Jersey second, then promising Magnus Paajarvi, third, Curtis Hamilton, sixth, Tyler Pitlick, seventh, Linus Omark, eighth, Anton Lander Jersey, ninth, Ryan Martindale, 13th, and Chris VandeVelde, 14th.

At that time, there was a great deal of hope around big forwards like Hamilton, Pitlick, Martindale and VandeVelde, while Omark was part of the HOPE crew, along with Hall, Paajarvi and Eberle.

The worst group of prospect forwards during Edmonton’s Decade of Darkness-plus?

My vote goes to 2013 group of Jujhar Khaira Jersey, Toni Rajala, Bogdan Yakimov, Anton Slepyshev, Mark Arcobello and Tyler Pitlick, though the 2012 group, headed up by Nail Yakupov Jersey, is in the running.