Nail Yakupov is the headliner at the Oilers prospect camp getting underway today in Sherwood Park.
Oilers fans get their first glimpse at the new kids just drafted, the kids who have signed pro contracts and the injured pro’s this week. Here are some names to watch:
- G Tyler Bunz: Had some concussion issues, remains a quality prospect.
- D Oscar Klefbom: Rumors in the dailies that the Oilers may want him to come back in the fall for main camp.
- D Taylor Fedun: It’ll be important for him to show how far he has progressed since the injury. If fully recovered, we’ll have to start talking about where he fits on the depth chart.
- D Kyle Bigos: Huge defender will spend another year in the NCAA. He told Guy Flaming on the Pipeline show last night.
- D Dillon Simpson: Interested to see if his foot speed has improved.
- D Martin Gernat: He came a long way this season.
- D David Musil: Injury derailed season, need to make sure he’s recovered.
- D Erik Gustafsson: We don’t know a thing about him.
- D Joey Laleggia: Impressive stats, I wonder if they turn him pro next year?
- R Nail Yakupov. Rock star.
- L Tobias Rieder: The forward version of Gernat in terms of season over season improvement, it’ll be interesting to see how much he gets noticed this camp.
- L Curtis Hamilton: A huge year begins in his hockey career. Hamilton needs to have a big recovery season in OKC 12-13.
- L Daniil Zharkov: Big winger with skill, we get a chance to see his scoring ability up close.
- C Ryan Martindale: Like Hamilton, he needs to show something pdq. The last good thing we read about him was during TC last fall.
Oilers will announce Ralph Krueger as the team’s new head coach today, too. As I mentioned yesterday, this has some good arrows in that he’s not a retread and is obviously a very bright guy.
Having said that, this roster has holes and the Oilers haven’t done anything to address defense, goaltending and veteran forwards. We’re into the window of opportunity now and the organization is still doing the chores at home. Plenty of rumors about trades for blue (Chicago, Montreal, Columbus) but we don’t really know how close they’ve been.
The Oilers will be flying to Toronto in order to meet with Justin Schultz before the weekend. Lowe, Tambellini and Katz are likely on the plane, I think they should have Krueger and MacT too. Maybe the Nuge and Ebs and Hall as well.
Schultz is a good player, that much we know. What makes him special.
- Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves: “It’s his vision. It’s his composure with the puck. It’s his puck skills. And the one thing that’s just a gift is his shot. He has the innate ability to get that puck to the net to allow for rebounds, tip-ins and goals. He’s got what we call a smart shot.”
I’m hopeful the Oilers don’t have all of their eggs in one basket. This isn’t a sure thing, and expectations are high this summer. Another Cam Barker July 1st would be a disaster.
Oilers will apparently meet with Ryan Smyth’s representation while in Toronto. One hopes this gets done.
I’m confident–based on the MacT hire, the Krueger hire, and the selection of Yakupov–Edmonton will make better bets on players. The chores are done, time to go to town and do some shopping.