The Edmonton Oilers should be releasing their Penticton rookie camp rosters any day now and we’re getting drips and draps here and there about the incoming kids. If we just include draft picks and a few prospects from the Orientation Camp this summer, we can probably fill in the holes on the rest of the invites just based on roster holes. Let’s start with what we know.
OILERS PROSPECTS IN PENTICTON
- Kailer Yamamoto is the big name among forwards, and Tyler Benson should get a lot of attention if he plays.
- Joe Gambardella should dominate Penticton and could push for some NHL time by April.
- The heart of the prospect base in Penticton will be defense and goalies.
- Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear, Ziyat Paigin and Ryan Mantha represent the organization’s best hopes among prospect blue at this time. All begin their AHL careers at the same time.
- I’m not sure all four goalies will be in Penticton but they’re all eligible. Certainly the junior goalies should be locks for the competition.
AHL CONTRACTS AND INVITES IN PENTICTON
- Polei, Butcher and Gust are AHL prospects. The rest are either confirmed invites (Schioler, Fix-Wolansky) or expected invites based rumor and orientation attendance.
- Evan Polei is intriguing, Brandon Saigeon has a nice range and Trey Fix-Wolansky is a fun player to watch.
- If I had to pick one player who could get the Braden Christoffer treatment it would be Sahvan Khaira. He’s a righty, has a physical element and appeared to turn a corner in 2017. He is draft eligible in 2018 but my understanding is that he can be signed.
WHAT DO THEY NEED?
For Penticton purposes, I think the goalie position and defense are probably covered. I’d be looking for centers and left wingers based on my projected group above. Tyler Benson may not play and Ostap Safin is coming over from Europe so if forced to pick a position of great need, it would be left wing.
Any player here on an invite will want to perform at a high level, because the potential payoff could be very large. In the fall of 2015, Peter Chiarelli’s first as general manager, Braden Christoffer won an NHL deal based on exceptional play during the early weeks of training camp. Here’s a report from this blog summing up Christoffer’s Penticton games.
- L Braden Christoffer, 3GP, 3-1-4. The one player this camp who came out of nowhere to shine brightly and I bet he gets a long look during the rest of his camp. He’s a rugged bugger and has skill, is 21 and is slightly undersized for pro hockey. Impressive. Source
The players with contracts are going to want to show well and those four defensemen ticketed for Bakersfield really want to stand out. Chances are the die is cast, for this fall anyway. The two rookies most likely to break camp with the big team? Joe Gambardella and Kailer Yamamoto. Both very unlikely but the door is ajar.