Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers: Rogers Place, 8 p.m. TV: Sportsnet, Radio: 630 CHEDFive Things to Watch1. Captain not aboardConnor McDavid will be in the press box watching the game because he was suspended two games for a shoulder hit to the face of Islanders defenceman Nick Leddy Thursday night. It’s his first supplementary discipline call from the league. At the time,the Oilers’ leader only got a minor penalty from referees Kyle Rehman and Brad Watson, but the NHL Player Safety folks wanted a phone hearing and after watching the hit 10 ways from Sunday, suspended him. He’s not the first big gun suspended this year. Erik Karlsson and Mark Giordano also sat out two games, along with Evgeni Malkin: Karlsson for a head hit on Austin Wagner, Giordano for a knee on Mikko Koivu and Malkin for a high-stick on Michael Raffl.2. Ryan Kesler breathing easyKesler is always in McDavid’s grill, jabbing, annoying, shadowing but with the Oilers captain not playing, Kesler might actually play some hockey and try to score a goal rather than make McDavid’s life miserable. Kesler’s well-documented hip issues have slowed him, but not having to keep up with McDavid will be like hitting the lottery for the Ducks centre. Not that he won’t totally stop being a pest. He might be in goalie Mikko Koskinen’s kitchen from time to time.3. GM behind the benchBob Murray had never been an NHL coach until he fired Randy Carlyle and decided it was better than he get an up-close look at his team, rather than bring up farmhand Dallas Eakins as a replacement. Murray played 1,008 games for the Blackhawks as a defenceman with buddy Doug Wilson, the San Jose GM, so so he’s used to the action. But he’s only keeping the seat warm until the off-season, when he can bring up the ex-Oilers coach Eakins or go outside where there’s never a shortage of coaches looking for work.4. Spreading the wealthWith no McDavid, the plan of playing Leon Draisaitl on the top line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on left-wing and Alex Chiasson on the right is out the window. They’ll be centering their own lines now as they did in the Arizona loss Tuesday night, when McDavid had the flu and didn’t dress. The Oilers are more fortunate than most teams with their depth at centre, but Nugent-Hopkins gave them a nice option on wing, where they’ve been starved for goals. Just as Draisaitl, whose 35 goals are fourth most in the NHL, has done repeatedly when he’s played on McDavid’s wing.5. Movin’ on upSam Gagner found himself beside McDavid as the game wore on in the overtime win over the Islanders, and already he’s proving to be more effective than Ryan Spooner ever was here. Gagner played 16 minutes against the Islanders, had eight shots and, when asked to take face-offs, won them all. He also scored his first goal in almost five years as a member of the Oilers and got the team-voted motorcycle vest as player of the game. Gagner isn’t always going to be a first- or second-liner, but has the ability to move up as the game dictates.Match-upLeon Draisaitl vs. one of the RyansDraisaitl is on a tear with 12 goals and 17 points in his last dozen games, and with no McDavid, either Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf or Ryan Kesler will be tasked with checking him. It’s usually Gezlaf, matching a pair of big bodie,s which would leave Kesler for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in a secondary battle. But in the last month, Draisaitl has been close to unstoppable. Only Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane and Jeff Skinner have more goals than Draisaitl, who’s always been more of a passer than a shooter. He also has 13 power-play goals, which is also fourth best behind Brayden Point, Steve Stamkos and David Pastrnak.Projected lineupsOilersForwardMilan Lucic • Leon Draisaitl • Alex ChiassonSam Gagner • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins • Zack KassianTobias Rieder • Colby Cave • Josh CurrieBrad Malone • Kyle Brodziak • Ty RattieDefenceOscar Klefbom • Adam LarssonDarnell Nurse • Kris RussellAndrej Sekera • Matt BenningGoalMikko KoskinenAnthony StolarzDucksForwardRickard Rakell • Ryan Getzlaf • Corey PerryMax Jones • Adam Henrique • Troy TerryNick Ritchie • Ryan Kesler • Carter RowneyDevin Shore • Derek Grant • Jakob SilfverbergDefenceHampus Lindholm • Josh MansonCam Fowler • Michael Del ZottoJaycob Megna • Brandon MontourGoalRyan MillerKevin BoyleSpecial teams — Oilers: PP- 39-179 21.8 percent (10th). PK-46-186 75-.3 percent (29th). Ducks: PP-25-161 15.5 percent (27th). PK- 38-196 80.6 percent (15th).Who’s out — Oilers: Jujhar Khaira, Jesse Puljujarvi. Ducks: Ondrej Kase, John Gibson, Chad Johnson, Patrick Eaves.E-mail: email@example.comOn Twitter: @NHLbyMattyOil Spills podcast: Trade deadline approaches with Edmonton Oilers in sell modeThe Edmonton Oilers are indeed sellers for the 2019 NHL trade deadline coming up on Feb. 25. They dealt goalie Cam Talbot to the Philadelphia Flyers for Anthony Stolarz in order to clear salary cap room for defenceman Andrej Sekera, who returned to the Oilers lineup from injury.But can the Oilers under interim general manager Keith Gretzky reasonably do much else besides give players away for middling draft picks to try to clear salary off the books?Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Google Play or Soundcloud. You can also listen via the player below.