The post 3 Oilers Playoff Tone Setters Beyond Evander vs. The Kings appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

As the Edmonton Oilers gear up for the playoffs, setting the tone early becomes paramount, particularly against a physical opponent like the Los Angeles Kings. Evander Kane‘s aggressive play often sets the tempo — at least it did in the last game where his hit on Drew Doughty sparked momentum for the Oilers. But, Kane is questionable to start the series, or if he does suit up, it’s not clear he’ll be 100%. Who can the Oilers count on to get the rest of the roster ready to play in the first few minutes?

Kris Knoblauch believes Evander Kane and Mattias Janmark will be able to play in Game 1 on Monday. He expects Kane to be on the ice for tomorrow’s practice. If both are ready to go, Knoblauch said the decision to play or scratch Dylan Holloway will be made Monday morning.

— Daniel Nugent-Bowman (@DNBsports) April 20, 2024

Heading into Game 1, Kane has been sitting out of games and practices for precautionary measures, though Coach Kris Knoblauch anticipates his return. Kane’s physicality and engagement are crucial for the Oilers’ success, especially as he was hitting his stride before his temporary absence. He could use some help as the Oilers look for players to step up early, the top candidates being Dylan Holloway, Corey Perry, and Mattias Ekholm.

Related: Evander Kane Still Out For Oilers, Hopeful for Game 1

In Kane’s potential absence, Holloway stands poised for a breakout opportunity. Should he seize it, his impact could prove difficult to ignore, potentially cementing a spot on the roster throughout the playoffs. While a healthy Kane is the preferred playoff disturber, Holloway’s merit warrants consideration even in a healthy roster scenario.

Holloway can be physical, but it will be his combination of speed and forechecking that sparks his teammates. In the final few games of the season, the action seemed to follow him around. He was hitting everything he could, pressing hard for pucks, and making things difficult for his opponents with his speed. His effort level will be critical.

The Oilers Have Veterans Who Know How To Annoy and Set a Tone

On the defensive end, Mattias Ekholm emerges as a formidable force, capable of disrupting opponents both physically and verbally. If Kane isn’t available to go after a player like Doughty, Ekholm won’t mind. His evolution into a dual-threat defenseman underscores the Oilers’ need for heightened defensive awareness in the playoffs, but his trash-talking skills are highly underrated. It takes a lot to throw Doughty off of his game, but Ekholm will be up to the task.

Corey Perry Evander Kane Oilers issues

Corey Perry is another player who knows what buttons to push. This will be the first time he’s gone on a playoff run with Edmonton but the 15th season he’ll have seen playoff action. No one knows how to flip the switch on this roster like Perry does.

As the Oilers prepare to face off against the Kings, the spotlight shines on their ability to establish dominance early, with Kane’s presence being a factor if he’s good to go. Should he not be, others will happily step up.

Next: Maple Leafs’ Struggle in 5-1 Game 1 Loss to Bruins

The post 3 Oilers Playoff Tone Setters Beyond Evander vs. The Kings appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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