It’s like there’s something in the water. A week from now, a normally adult, hard-working city will begin to act like school children on dubble bubble and Freshie. After a decade of disappointment, is this the fall that delivers more wins and losses? Will the Oilers be good enough to sustain talk of contention? Will the McDavid addition have us talking about Edmonton’s first Calder Trophy? Will McLellan’s power play make other teams lay off using the lumber on the youngsters? Will this team find a magic Pisani, that two-way forward who can calm the waters on an inexperienced line? We wait. Not much longer, though!
PROJECTED TRAINING CAMP ROSTER (UNOFFICIAL)
- G Cam Talbot—The No. 1 job is his to lose, and he can’t lose
- G Ben Scrivens—Early word has him ready, not sure it matters
- G Anders Nilsson—I think he might be a major story this TC
- G Laurent Brossoit—AHL starter but McLellan saw him good
- G Eetu Laurikainen—A great damn bet
- G Keven Bouchard—Junior goalie will get a look in Penticton, then back to junior
- G Jordan Papirny—No. 58 on Nickolet’s list.
- D Andrej Sekera—Edmonton’s No. 1 defenseman the moment he signed.
- D Mark Fayne—Stay-at-home defender should play a prominent role.
- D Oscar Klefbom—He’ll be a big part of the team this season—from the start.
- D Justin Schultz—He could score 50 points or not get tendered. WIDE open.
- D Nikita Nikitin—Here’s hoping he passes the physical.
- D Eric Gryba—The new Andy Sutton is gonna cut them down.
- D Andrew Ference—Veteran is the captain and fighting for his job. Unusual situation.
- D Brandon Davidson—Bubble blue with onrushing impact prospects. Easy peasy.
- D Griffin Reinhart—Big defender needs to jump a veteran and hold off a better prospect.
- D Darnell Nurse—I think he might be a top 4D by this time next season. Seriously.
- D Brad Hunt—Impact AHL offensive defenseman. I don’t know if there’s an NHL road.
- D David Musil—Oilers like him, he has one more season of waiver eligibility. He or Davidson win a depth job at some point, I’d expect.
- D Jordan Oesterle—Talented college player impressed in year one AHL. What now?
- D Dillon Simpson—More improvement in the AHL, remains well down pro depth chart.
- D Martin Gernat—Hopefully better days ahead.
- D Ben Betker—Huge blue begins his pro career. He’s a good skater, that’s a good sign.
- D Joey Laleggia—Unique numbers and skills. That’s always a good thing for a prospect.
- D Caleb Jones—Faster and better with the puck than the scouting reports/boxcars imply.
- D Ethan Bear—A nice draft year, this season should tell us a lot.
- D Kevin Davis—No. 36 on Nickolet’s list.
- D Colton Waltz—Tough defender, unlikely to make main camp.
- D Loik Leveille—There’s a chance they sign him.
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—He’s going to be a big part of any success for Edmonton.
- C Connor McDavid—This is a once in a lifetime gift, twice if you’re old like me.
- C Anton Lander—I’m not sure of his role but it should be significant.
- C Mark Letestu—He has a nice range of skills, could see action on multiple lines.
- C Leon Draisaitl—McLellan mentioned the T word (Thornton) and the wing.
- C Bogdan Yakimov—Impressed early and often last year. Can he do it again?
- C Jujhar Khaira—Another young F who showed well in the first week of TC last season.
- C Kyle Platzer—Strong one year ago in TC, we’ll see what a year can do.
- C Alexis Loiseau—Penticton will be a great opportunity for him to show well.
- C Marco Roy—He played well at rookie camp a year ago.
- C Tyler Soy—Skill F, will show his stuff and head back to junior.
- C Cole Linaker—No. 81 on Nickolet’s list.
- L Taylor Hall—Health is the only worry, he’s a fantastic NHL player.
- L Benoit Pouliot—Important piece on this team, also needs health.
- L Lauri Korpikoski—Likely “Pisani” for this team, needs a comeback season.
- L Matt Hendricks—Can he repeat last year’s impressive performance?
- L Luke Gazdic—They won’t Stortini him, but he could be HS opening night.
- L Ryan Hamilton—If he had a little more speed, he’d be an NHL factor.
- L Anton Slepyshev—Anticipation! Can’t wait to see this guy play.
- L Mitch Moroz—Showed well early in Penticton a year ago.
- L Kale Kessy—This could be an emerging story if the uptick in speed remains.
- L Connor Rankin—Rugged winger can score.
- L Braden Christoffer—Tough, undersized and skilled.
- R Jordan Eberle—So consistent he gets overlooked. Very valuable.
- R Nail Yakupov—His skills are somewhat unique on this roster.
- R Teddy Purcell—Enormous opportunity for the veteran in a walk year.
- R Rob Klinkhammer—Veteran with size and speed. That has value.
- R Tyler Pitlick—He’s fast enough and rugged too. Health always an issue.
- R Iiro Pakarinen—He’s capable of passing some men in front of him. Shooter.
- R Andrew Miller—Has the speed to stand out in this crowd.
- R Greg Chase—He’ll be relied on in Penticton to play with an edge.
- F Rihards Bukarts—No. 50 on Nickolet’s list.
- R Cole Sanford—Outstanding scorer, on the NHL.com list.
PROJECTED OPENING NIGHT LINEUP
- Talbot (Scrivens)
That’s every veteran available plus The One. Mclellan is going to run the living daylights out of the top two lines and I do think both Korpikoski and Yakupov will push for Purcell’s spot as listed above. My RE totals have seven men getting the points and that battle could last until the deadline. I suspect foot speed is going to be Purcell’s downfall but don’t underestimate the veteran. He’s fantastic with the puck.
I think we may see another invite to rookie camp (a tough F who can play the policeman in Penticton) and possibly a Kevin Westgarth type for main camp too. McLellan may want a big man who can play and that fellow might be Kale Kessy.
The biggest battles this camp? Backup goalie, the entire right side up front after Eberle and Lander-Letestu for 3C. For the first time in exactly forever, the Edmonton Oilers may arrive at the end of training camp with a veteran on the outside looking in.
OILERS ROOKIES- U OF A ROSTER 2014
- Mitch Moroz – Leon Draisaitl – Mitch Holmberg
- Vladdy Hockey – Bogdan Yakimov – Greg Chase
- Travis Ewanyk – Jujhar Khaira – Kale Kessy
- Connor Jones – Kellen Jones – Kyle Platzer
- Jordan Oesterle – Dillon Simpson
- Darnell Nurse – C.J. Ludwig
- David Musil – Martin Gernat
- Laurent Brossoit (Ty Rimmer)
In the what a difference a year makes category, I offer you this look back at one year ago and the UofA game. The lineup was much bigger up front than in previous seasons and specifically up the middle. Edmonton wasted a lot of at-bats on Vladimir Tkachev that could have been devoted to other kids—that’s another example of why the Oilers have been so bad. They simply shoot themselves in the foot in all areas and even though it’s a small item it really isn’t when you consider how hard these kids try to impress. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of these types of moments.
OILERS ROOKIES- U OF A ROSTER 2015 ESTIMATED
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
10 this morning, a busy show and lots to talk about. TSN 1260.
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. Jays and US Open matches today for Genie and Milos.
- Brian Swane, Edmonton Sun. Oil Kings gearing up, Eddies need a W.
- Brad Gagnon, Bleacher Report and CBS Sports. NFL talk as we gear up for Week 1 next Thursday!
- Paul Almeida, Saturday Sports Extra. The man, the myth, the opinion! We’ll chat Oilers, Blue Jays and Eskimos.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide twitter. Loooooooooooooooooooooong weekend gets started at 10!!!!