New Faces for 2009-10

This is going to be a fun week for NHL fans. We’ll be shocked and amazed at the names that retire or pass from the game, the names that hit the waiver wire and the trades that take place (we’ve already seen Heatley and Kessel dealt), the names that seem to vanish into thin air.

That will be followed by the annual march of rookies, some so famous we have to think for a moment to make sure this is indeed their first season. Others so obscure that a trip to hockeydb doesn’t do the trick and we’re left to wonder if we’re looking at hockey’s “The Natural.”

When it comes to the Edmonton Oilers and rookies, there has been a lot of talk about Jordan Eberle this training camp. He’s very skilled and has been creating chances every night (even as the quality of competition improves). Taylor Chorney has also played well, and if the Oilers moved a blueliner in the next week or so he might stay with the big club. Theo Peckham’s injury means his rookie timeline has been put back and this might not be his season to emerge as an NHL player. Devan Dubnyk has battled hard but appears headed to Springfield until injury hits. Rob Schremp arrived at the Last Chance Texaco just as the money ran out and the engine blew.

Which means the last man standing for the Edmonton Oilers 2009-10 appears to be Ryan Stone. Certainly he’s getting a push, but he’s also delivering (3gp, 0-3-3 +4) with the opportunity. He’s signed to a 2-way, one-year deal that pays $600,000 and looks primed to grab the roster spot that belonged to Steve MacIntyre a year ago. Stone has some serious foot speed issues, but he’s a “tough cookie” as one scout said not so long ago. If he can maintain this pace as the opposition gets tougher, Ryan Stone should make the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers this fall.

There’s plenty of pre-season to go, but most of the rookies have fallen away. Pat Quinn stated he wanted grit but he also wanted guys who could play, which also happens to be an excellent description of Ryan Stone.

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