It was a very successful trip to Penticton for the Edmonton Oilers and the 28 hopefuls who played for the club. It’s always important to remember the age of these kid (18 is miles from 23) and of course it’s a rookie tournament so we need to take these things in the proper measure. I saw the three games, here’s my take.
THE ROOKIE INVITES, 2017
- LC Lane Bauer. Played the solid two-way game we expect from him.
- L Luke Coleman. Big winger scored a goal, looked good in a support role.
- R Trey Fix-Wolansky. He showed flashes but played on secondary lines where skill is less prevalent.
- RC Austin Glover. He did a lot of the heavy work miles from the skill. Picked up an assist.
- RD Sahvan Khaira. Huge defender made his presence felt with rugged play. I bet the Oilers like him.
- C-W Davis Koch: He played very well, showed skill and made deft passes.
- RC Steve Owre: Didn’t have a feature role but played well in minutes given.
- LC Grayson Pawlenchuk. He is a responsible player, also scored a goal.
- LC Brandon Saigeon. Another role player I liked his confident play and solid passing.
- LD Liam Schioler. He had good and bad moments, mostly steady play.
- RD Austin Strand. Like Schioler, there were noticeable moments good and bad. He has talent.
- RC Ethan Szypula. I saw him good, Syzpula is skilled and determined.
- G Shane Starrett. I thought he played well today, the team in front of him was slow to the rink. Starrett had the game buttoned down until some penalty trouble late, I liked his play.
- G Dylan Wells. A strong game on Friday night, Wells set the tone for the goalies this weekend with strong, consistent play.
- G Stuart Skinner. The most spectacular outing of the three men, Skinner made a scintillating save (I had to look it up) in getting the shutout. Helluva debut.
- LD Caleb Jones. I would rate him as the most consistent defender on a weekend when all of the blue looked good or better. Jones has terrific wheels, to me his feet were far more calm than a year ago.
- RD Ethan Bear. Strong with the puck in the entire tournament, he was a little loose defensively in the first game but tightened it up in game two. A big season ahead.
- LD William Lagesson. I was very impressed with him. Good speed, smart player. I wish he was staying in North America, would like to see him develop.
- LD Ziyat Paigin. There is more risk to his game (based on this tournament) but his wingspan is a monster and his shot is military strength. I guarantee the Oilers love him.
- RD Ryan Mantha. Another big shot from the point, for me Mantha showed more than I thought he would in this tournament. Patience, defense is a tough damned job, but he has a lot of tools.
- LD Dmitri Samorukov. I was very impressed with him, especially considering age. Very mobile, wonderful skater who can also stop and start effectively at what is a very early age. He’s good.
- LC Joe Gambardella. Took him awhile to find his game but he was all over the ice today and ends the tournament near the top of the scoring charts. He’s going to have a say in things.
- L Tyler Benson. He skated with the team and that is a good arrow.
- L Kirill Maksimov. His goals were spectacular and he showed effort during the tournament. He’s not as dynamic as Yamamoto but very talented.
- L Evan Polei. Butcher will (deservedly) get the headlines but for me no one without an NHL contract did more at this tournament to help himself than Polei. He’s got soft hands, better speed than I recalled and he’s a rugged bordering on agitating winger. Bet the Oilers noticed him.
- R Kailer Yamamoto. He impressed the hell out of me today. Yamamoto and his teammates had a sleepy first period, but the 18-year old was the one who worked hard on the PK to get himself going. I thought he had the shift of the tournament (shorthanded) in the second period with strong performances at both ends.
- R Ostap Safin. He went from disappointing in game one to brilliant in the final game. He has inconsistent shifts but when Safin brings it he’s a difference maker at an early age. Stunning goal.
- R Chad Butcher. He was the MVP of the tournament in my books, never a tentative moment from beginning to end. He’ll have an impact in Bakersfield if he can bring his entire game to California.
We’re on to the college game and then main camp. Buckle up.