OILERS ANNOUNCE ROOKIE CAMP ROSTER

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.

FORWARDS

  • 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.

Lines (C-L-R):

  • Miller-Khaira-Roy
  • Ewanyk-Moroz-Houck
  • Chase-Kessy-Platzer
  • Fyten-Baddock-Abney

DEFENSE

  • 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.

Pairings (L-R)

  • Marincin-Klefbom
  • Nurse-Davidson
  • Gernat-Musil

GOAL

  • 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.

2011 Roster

  • 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:

  1. RNH: This is going to be an interesting 8 weeks for the kid. It’s going to be fun to watch him.
  2. Lander: How good IS he? How much has his skating improved? Man, he could be key.
  3. Musil: I have a feeling Musil is going to move up the depth chart in the next 12 months.
  4. Hamilton: Is he a tweener or the real deal?
  5. Rajala: What do the Oilers have here?
  6. 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.

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28 Responses to "OILERS ANNOUNCE ROOKIE CAMP ROSTER"

  1. LMHF#1 says:

    I still can’t help but think that under Sather Gernat would’ve ended up a forward for 15ish games in the AHL then head to the big club. He’s everything they need in a bigger, skilled forward but happens to play the wrong position.

    Really hoping that they don’t give up on him. There’s a diamond worth of talent there.

  2. Lowetide says:

    LMHF#1:
    I still can’t help but think that under Sather Gernat would’ve ended up a forward for 15ish games in the AHL then head to the big club. He’s everything they need in a bigger, skilled forward but happens to play the wrong position.

    Really hoping that they don’t give up on him. There’s a diamond worth of talent there.

    Gernat’s a player who got better every time I saw him over his OK career. At first he was all arms and legs with some rushing ability, then he added passing, a physical streak, a mean streak and finally some calm feet. I don’t remember the last player who I saw in junior who kept improving over a long period.

    Most of the time they go in fits and starts.

  3. spoiler says:

    I might be in Penticton the first week of September… I probably would only be able to catch the Flames game, but if I do, I will fire off a report.

  4. RexLibris says:

    Funny looking over those roster descriptions.

    I’m not a fan of thug hockey, but every once in awhile it feels good to indulge in being the big mean bad guy (MacIntyre vs Ivanans, for example). And looking at some of these forwards it would be a real treat to have the Oilers be the bullies in Penticton for a change.

    Win or lose, just make those opposing defenders do some frantic shoulder-checks as they go back into the corners.

    Also, Gernat as a forward would be a very interesting move. If anyone is willing to see if that potential is there its MacTavish. Probably a better bet than Smid on the wing.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Very cool SpOILer.

  6. regwald says:

    Lowetide: Gernat’s a player who got better every time I saw him over his OK career. At first he was all arms and legs with some rushing ability, then he added passing, a physical streak, a mean streak and finally some calm feet. I don’t remember the last player who I saw in junior who kept improving over a long period.

    Most of the time they go in fits and starts.

    LT, I feel the same way about Gernat. I really like his game and offensive abilities. He’s also a pretty decent skater. When he came back from that shoulder injury, it was a huge boost to the OK offense. He made a difference defensively.

    i can’t help wonder about a disconnect with the Oilers though – the whole saga with the shoulder evaluation and then surgery and lack of news. Also, he cut out early from OKC last spring when they were in the playoff hunt. Not sure if that was just the end of a long season for him or he was pouting cause he was told he wouldn’t play unless there were multiple injuries ?! not sure. It came off strange.

  7. wheatnoil says:

    RexLibris,

    LMHF#1,

    My initial reaction to the idea of Gernat at forward was “aren’t you guys jumping the gun a little” and I still feel that way, but the idea of moving a D up to a wing position is not a bad idea. Whether it be Marincin or Gernat, it could help give playing time to all the extra D prospects down in OKC, especially given the lack of defensive depth. It’s been done before in the NHL, Byfuglien and Burns being recent examples in my mind. It would give the Oilers options anyways. It would be a very MacT move if the future Oilers had a 4th-line of 2 centres and a converted D-man… great options for a mid-game MacBlender.

    (Also, the verbal on Eakins is that he likes using a lot of D-men and switching them in and out depending on the game, so it might be to his liking as well.)

  8. wheatnoil says:

    wheatnoil:

    …the lack of defensive depth.

    offensive depth I mean.

  9. delooper says:

    This is the first rookie camp in a while where the Oilers didn’t have any huge gaping, bleeding wounds in their NHL roster. So I imagine none of the rookies have any illusions that a spot on the NHL team is theirs for the taking.

  10. Dan the Man says:

    Marincin-Klefbom
    Nurse-Davidson
    Gernat-Musil

    This is a really nice group of young D-Men. Nice mix of skill and size. Either we will have some very good depth at this position for years to come or some pretty decent trade chips to add to other areas lacking this quality of depth.

  11. supernova says:

    I might be the biggest cheerleader for Kessy.

    He was my favorite player watching a Tigers team that had Pitlick, Vey, Etem, Shinkaruk and Bunz.

    Obviously not the most talented but he put the fear of god in the opposing team like Torres did in the ’06 cup final.

    I might put his chances at making it to the show at a max of 15% but i sure hope he does. He would be an awesome 4th liner.

    it makes me happy for the first time in a really long time I am cheering for a 4th liner. It feels like i have spent the better part of 2 decades cheering for a complete first line, or a good top 6. I think we have finally arrived at those spots and now I can cheer for 3rd and 4th liners.

  12. supernova says:

    delooper:
    This is the first rookie camp in a while where the Oilers didn’t have any huge gaping, bleeding wounds in their NHL roster. So I imagine none of the rookies have any illusions that a spot on the NHL team is theirs for the taking.

    feels like a great time for a classic movie line.

    “so you’re saying there is a chance”

  13. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Rimmer was the goalie here in Lethbridge for the Hurricanes. He was often the best player on the roster, seemed able to steal some games. He was an over ager for sure, but the team in front of him was really young and hasn’t produced draft picks like many other clubs in the WHL. He could be worth paying attention to.

  14. Hammers says:

    Actually like the suggestion to try Gernat as a forward . If not him perhaps Marincin . Size is there, so is a history of attack minded players .Would that give a team options . Look at Burns . Hadn’t thought of it but it maybe worth trying .

  15. BanffOil says:

    Hey all, long-time lurker

    Regarding Rimmer: Fuhr was an ass’t coach with Rimmer’s PeeWee team and influenced his decision to move to goal from forward.

    http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/jrhockey-buzzing-the-net/lethbridge-ty-rimmer-became-goalie-thanks-grant-fuhr-054420216.html

  16. VanOil says:

    wheatnoil,
    RexLibris,
    LMHF#1,

    I agree with the premise that converting Marincin, Germat or even Simpson to a left winger might be a good idea. A great skating, defensively responsible biggman with a decent shot is part the Oilers lack. It seems good asset management.

    Marincin as a 4th line left winger and PK specialist would be very interesting. With his wing span and good stick covering up high and Smid covering down low on the PK opposing teams would face a significant challenge getting shots on net.

    If he can be taught how to use his size to destroy the cycle in his own end and create one in the opposing end our 4th line might not be the misery it has been as of late. I am confident he is a better hockey player than Brown already and would allow some flexibility with the 13th forward/7th defender role.

  17. Soup Fascist says:

    If you are converting one of many talented D-men to a forward my vote is Gernat. I think his offensive instincts are equal or better than any of these guys. Plus even in the WHL his D-zone play was …. umm … “ragged” ….. at times. Not saying he can’t learn and improve, but to me it is way easier to teach the kid to play LW than re-teach him defence.

    He is a tall lanky kid with a lot of offensive talent – and a bomb for a shot – who will hopefully play at 6’4″ and 215 – 220 lbs if / when he is ready to make the jump to the NHL. It appears there are so many good D prospects in front of him right now that it would be good asset management to at least try the experiment. Plus everyone of the guys ahead or around him on the prospect depth chart also shoot left. Klefbom, Nurse, Maricin, Musil, Davidson, Simpson as well as Gernat – all lefties.

    I think the kid becomes a pretty valuable piece to have on an NHL roster someday if he has some flexibility – maybe play the point on a PP unit for example. My knock on Simpson and Musil as forwards are they lack the offense that Gernat seems to be blessed with and have the footspeed of geraniums.

  18. Woodguy says:

    Lots of beef on that roster.

    “Paging Mr. Lucic…Mr. Lucic, white courtesy phone”

    Mind you, with the knuckle-draggers that SJS and others have sen to this tourney its not a bad thing.

    Hope that none of the boys get an injury.

  19. VanOil says:

    Soup Fascist:
    Simpson and Musil … the footspeed of geraniums.

    Well breed geraniums in the spring time or their careers

  20. Lowetide says:

    Simpson’s footspeed issues were reported in year one, he’s improved a great deal–or at least he’s grown up a great deal–since then. He’s not Yvan Cournoyer but there’s footspeed there.

  21. supernova says:

    Hammers:
    Actually like the suggestion to try Gernat as a forward . If not him perhaps Marincin . Size is there, so is a history of attack minded players .Would that give a team options . Look at Burns . Hadn’t thought of it but it maybe worth trying .

    Burns was a forward before turning into a defenceman before turning back into a forward.

  22. Gerta Rauss says:

    regwald:

    i can’t help wonder about a disconnect with the Oilers though – the whole saga with the shoulder evaluation and then surgery and lack of news. Also, he cut out early from OKC last spring when they were in the playoff hunt. Not sure if that was just the end of a long season for him or he was pouting cause he was told he wouldn’t play unless there were multiple injuries ?! not sure. It came off strange.

    I can’t find the tweet right now and I’m too lazy to look any further, but that(him leaving the team) was discussed around these parts and the Oilers tweeted(after being discussed, it was like they were reading the blog comments) that Gernat had an exam in Slovakia(or something like that)…him leaving OKC in the playoffs was benign. I know what you’re saying though…the shoulder thing was kind of odd and our host here has expressed concerns about Gernat’s long term future as well.

    I’m pulling for the kid-I like him better as a prospect than Marincin although I realize that opinion would be in the minority of a lot of folks around these parts.

  23. russ99 says:

    Jeez. Tambellini’s coke-machine hunt has come in to roost.

    Do we have any skill forwards (other than Marco Roy) in Rookie Camp at all? What’s the game plan you can have with this group? All shots come from the point?

    If more than 2 of these forwards have an NHL career of substance, I’d be surprised.

  24. uni says:

    I find all this talk of converting a big, smooth skating defence man into a LW hilarious.

    If only we could find someone someone like that, a guy who was a defenseman in junior, has size, health, skates like the wind, can play solid defensively, and brings some offense. He’d be perfect for the Oilers LW.

    On another note, I hear Pajaarvi is getting shot on the Blues 2nd line.

  25. wheatnoil says:

    uni:
    I find all this talk of converting a big, smooth skating defence man into a LW hilarious.

    If only we could find someone someone like that, a guy who was a defenseman in junior, has size, health, skates like the wind, can play solid defensively, and brings some offense.He’d be perfect for the Oilers LW.

    On another note, I hear Pajaarvi is getting shot on the Blues 2nd line.

    In fairness, Paajarvi didn’t play defense in Junior. He switched to forward at the age of 12. I think the idea of switching a defenseman to a winger has a little to do with the lack of forward depth (which would still be present if the Paajarvi/Perron trade hadn’t happened) and a lot to do with the number of prospect D coming into the system at this current time. Further, I wouldn’t be a huge supporter of switching a Gernat-like player to forward indefinitely, but given how log-jammed the OKC D will be this year, it may allow some of those high-profile D picks to get more ice time without sacrificing ice-time for high profile forwards (since there’s a lack of them). Essentially, in my mind, the switch would have less to do with the need at forward and more to do with asset management of a potential excess of D in light of other organizational weaknesses.

    Of course, a logical argument can be made that most of the D prospects won’t turn out and so moving a Gernat to forward, only to switch him back if/when a few D prospects drop off or get shipped out, would probably hinder his development.

  26. Ice Sage says:

    russ99:
    Jeez. Tambellini’s coke-machine hunt has come in to roost.

    Do we have any skill forwards (other than Marco Roy) in Rookie Camp at all?What’s the game plan you can have with this group? All shots come from the point?

    If more than 2 of these forwards have an NHL career of substance, I’d be surprised.

    Agreed. These kids are all starting their auditions for the 4th line, 2015 onwards. Safe, defensive play, energy and the ability to gush ‘thanks for the 3 minutes of icetime coach’ should be on everyone’s check list.

  27. denny33 says:

    russ99,

    Wow – could not agree more….really think that offense up front is really weak.

    Not sure who is going to actually * create * offence in this tournament….

    I like the Defence for our team…

    Echo LT’s sentiment – If Miller – who turns 25 next month ( older that most of the Oiler NHL’rs? ) cannot separate himeslf from the likes of that group of forwards …he is in trouble.

    Bilcke, Ewanky, Moroz and Abney…not even sure what the other clubs are going to get out of this tournament for their goalies….

    Going to follow this group of forwards and see how much offense they can create…

  28. Rocknrolla says:

    I will be in attendance as well in Penticton for the Sat-Mon. Will definitely share some notes. Also important to note that Gregor did say they would be streaming the games on the oilers website.

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