After talking with last years coach in Hamilton Walt Kyle and watching these youngsters play together in the American Hockey League it was though they might reproduce thier chemistry in the National Hockey League.
Very few people have heard of Brian Swanson, Michel Riesen and Dan Cleary and as of yet, they are not house hold names but all can be changed this year.
With the training camp and preseason over the test is on the trio to come up with similar statistics against the big boys. All three had good statistics over the preseason while showing fine defensive play and a willingness to go in the corners and fight for the puck.
All three come from different hockey backgrounds and each has it’s own talents but they seem to mesh on the ice extreamly well. The centerman of the group is a product from U.S. college hockey at Colorado College where he became a Hobey Baker finalist. Possessed with good playmaking skills and a nack for finding teammates at oppertune times he brings some much needed offensive abilities at the second line center position.
Swiss born player Michel Riesen adjusted farely quickly
to the North American style of play and has found a niche on the line as the trigger man cruising around the net and in the slot finding seems in the defense to use his deadly accurate shot. Currently is the highest drafted Swiss player in history being taken by Edmonton 14th overall in 1997 one spot behind linemate Dan Cleary whom has taken by Chicago at lucky number 13.
The physical presence and power forward type player provides a bull in a china shop mentality to the line. Dan Cleary will drive fearlessly to the net and fight in the corners for loose pucks while trying to be a pain in the back sides to goaltenders by parking himself in front of the net. Blessed with a goal scorers touch and grinders body, he is ready for a breakout season along with linemates should add some extra excitement and youthfull enthusiasim.
If the unit can produce the 70 goals this season that they had in Hamilton the worries of finding a consistent second line are over. Thier contributions this season play a profound impact on how high the Oilers place in the Conference Standings, so anywhere from 5th to 8th and even fighting Colorado for the division title is a strong possibility with this new crew.