This morning, the Edmonton Oilers announced their roster for this year’s Rookie Camp and young stars series. There are a few interesting names, but most of the focus will be on 2013 first round pick Darnell Nurse and 2011 first rounder Oscar Klefbom.
- R Cameron Abney: One of two 1991′s who is on the roster, Abney’s skills (enforcer) are quite rare in the organization. Two years into his 3-year entry level deal, Abney has played just 18 AHL games. There must be a sense of urgency for this player.
- L Brandon Baddock: Possible draft pick down the line, he’s a big kid (6.03, 200) he passed through this year’s draft and didn’t play a whole lot with the Oil Kings this past season. I like him, seems to have an idea about what he’s doing.
- R Ty Bilcke: We knew he was coming and he’s an interesting prospect, would seem to be future competition for Abney should the Oilers end up acquiring him.
- C Greg Chase: I think this guy will be a star of this camp. He’s an agitator with skill, that should get him some notice and it doesn’t look like this roster is loaded up front.
- C Travis Ewanyk: Ewanyk should dominate and his aggressive style will certainly stand out. I’m never sure about his offense, so it would be nice to see him fill the net with pucks (even at a rookie tournament where he’s the oldest guy in the group).
- C Austen Fyten: He’s on an AHL contract and will probably see the streets of Bakersfield sometime this winter. He’s a kid who had some success in the ECHL.
- R Jackson Houck: I have high hopes for him. This guy MIGHT be that most elusive of players: a tough, rugged forward who can also play with skill. Let’s not get too excited, but the resume suggests it is possible.
- L Kale Kessy: Big, tough winger who can play the enforcer role and score at a reasonable clip (32 WHL goals last year if you include a dynamite playoff run). No real idea if he’s a quality pro prospect, but we’ll find out soon enough.
- L Jujhar Khaira: I’m really hoping he’ll get a feature role at the rookie tournament. The Oilers have a need for big skill forwards and he certainly appears to be one.
- C Andrew Miller: By far the oldest player here, he should have an enormous advantage (think Kramer dominance) versus the competition.
- L Mitchell Moroz: Isn’t it funny? When they drafted Moroz the club had very few PF options, and now there’s Khaira, Kelly, Houck and others. This is a huge season for him, there’s some urgency. The club has already signed two 2012 draft picks, and he isn’t one of them.
- C Reid Petryk: Good size, described as having some ability on puck retrieval and protection, best WHL season was 40 points in 70 games–he’s unlikely to have a long pro career. But you never know.
- R Kyle Platzer: Not a lot is known about him–even Knights fans didn’t seem him a lot–but there’s some evidence he was undervalued at the draft (lack of exposure). We’ll see.
- R Marco Roy: Interesting prospect, the 2nd rounder this past draft and he has a nice range of skills. I hope they give him some PP time to show he can wheel.
- C Chase Schaber: I believe he’s been to two of these before iirc, Oilers must like something about him.
- Ben Betker: HUGE defensive defenseman who is going to stand out in this crowd. I’d like to see how mobile he is, that’s the big question in my opinion.
- Brandon Davidson: What a year, holy man. I’m not sure he can compete against what is becoming an insane organizational depth chart, but after what he’s overcome I’m not betting against him either.
- Martin Gernat: This is going to be a big camp for him, as Gernat could end up in Bakersfield, OKC or Europe. I think his skill set will get him a job with the Barons if he plays well.
- Oscar Klefbom: I expect this is strictly to get ready for main camp, and believe there’s a chance Klefbom makes the Oilers opening night. He should be able to show his range of ability very well at this camp despite the rust.
- Joey Leach: Big man on the same contract as Fyten, Leach is a guy draft followers will remember from the 2010 draft. Oilers should have taken him instead of Blain, as they’ve basically traded spots.
- Martin Marincin: Enters this camp as a close to ready NHL player, and as such should (along with Klefbom) find this camp fairly easy to dominate.
- David Musil: The defense-first blueliner will have a lot of marquee names playing his position at this camp. My bet is he does enough to get noticed.
- Darnell Nurse: It’ll be interesting to hear and see what comes out of this camp. He’s definitely a top flight prospect, but in this group could end up playing reduced minutes. I’d like to see his ability to pass the puck and his shot from the point on the powerplay.
- Tyler Bunz: He’s coming to this camp with a lot to prove. He was poor in net last season and has concussion issues too, but his WHL career was impressive and perhaps he can turn it around this season.
- Franky Palazzese: This is an interesting prospect. Palazzese has posted two straight seasons of good to very good SP’s in the OHL (.927 and .922) and a strong showing here might get him a longer look in main camp.
- Ty Rimmer: Local Edmonton kid gets a nice chance to play with the local team at age 20. WHL product has posted SP’s of .922 and .912 in the last two seasons.
- Philippe Cadorrette: Q goalie is 1995 born and hasn’t posted an SP over .900 in two seasons with Baie-Comeau. He is their starter though and had a fine playoffs this spring.
- GOAL: Olivier Roy, Tyler Bunz, Adam Brown
- DEFENSE: Colten Teubert, Taylor Fedun, Martin Marincin, Jeremie Blain, Brandon Davidson, David Musil, Martin Gernat, Ryan Lowery, Tyler Schmidt, Wes Vannieuwenhuizen
- CENTER: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Anton Lander, Milan Kytnar, Ryan Martindale, Travis Ewanyk, Chase Schaber, Colin Smith
- LEFT WING: Curtis Hamilton, Antti Tyrvainen, Phil Cornet, Drew Czerwonka, Tobias Rieder, Brett Ferguson
- RIGHT WING: Tyler Pitlick, Kristians Pelss, Toni Rajala, Cameron Abney
The six questions I asked in summer 2011:
- RNH: This is going to be an interesting 8 weeks for the kid. It’s going to be fun to watch him.
- Lander: How good IS he? How much has his skating improved? Man, he could be key.
- Musil: I have a feeling Musil is going to move up the depth chart in the next 12 months.
- Hamilton: Is he a tweener or the real deal?
- Rajala: What do the Oilers have here?
- Pitlick: Is he healthy? Any good?
There’s going to be a lot of talk about how weak the forward group is, but I’m not sure that’s true. Miller, Roy, Khaira, Houck and Chase are all skilled enough to score and the blueline should be able to get them the puck. The worry here is the goaltending, with a concussion history for Bunz and three unproven invites the only options available.