The Edmonton Oilers will release their training camp list sometime today, and along with the physicals this will make the beginning of hundreds of Oiler-related stories over the next 6 months. Some of these young men will arrive in the best shape of their lives, and others may have picked up an injury along the way. So far we know:
- The Nuge will get a new prognosis, which may or may not inspire the arrival of a Smithson.
- Anton Belov is having some paperwork difficulty, and that is delaying his arrival.
The training camp list is probably going to come in at 62-68 names depending on who gets invited on a PTO (they may invite no one) and how many of these rookies they send out right away. I believe a youngster like Greg Chase has earned the week in big camp, but we’ll see how it goes. Organizations usually like to have an equal number of everything so no one is standing around, but we’ll see. It’ll also be interesting to see if there’s a goalie added to the group.
Gone from the scene are Shawn Horcoff, Magnus Paajaarvi, Theo Peckham and Nikolai Khabibulin. In for sure are Andrew Ference, Boyd Gordon, Jason LaBarbera and after that there’s a dizzying number of new possibilities (Belov, Grebeshkov, Joensuu, Acton, Ryan Hamilton, etc).
The biggest addition this summer? Dallas Eakins. There are a mountain of questions about him, he’s coming in with a lot of reputation and has not yet met all the players and received their buy-in (you can say it doesn’t matter but tell that to Tom Runnells). However, he also has a reputation of turning out players who are better after him than before, and a long list of players with very nice things to say (two soldiers signed up over the summer from the Marlies). I think this is a solid hire, but thought Ralph was too. I think it’s probably wise to take a guarded stance and a watchful eye–this is a big thing here, overcoming many years of futility.
During the MacT coaching era, there were forwards who made the club, made themselves useful in defined roles, who were not the obvious hires. I’d include Zack Stortini, Patrick Thoresen, Liam Reddox, Kyle Brodziak and even Fernando Pisani in that list, while the list of first rounders who were not rewarded is best represented by Rob Schremp. MacT didn’t much care for draft pedigree, and if Eakins is the same that will be good news for any number of kids trying to rise above the rest.
Remember the year Brodziak came in and turned heads? He was faster, worked hard from day one of training camp? Maybe that kind of success can be reached by a current farmhand, and maybe that process begins today. If Mark Arcobello wins a spot on the opening night lineup, would that be similar to Brodziak’s 2007 fall camp? I believe it would.
At some point the Oilers are going to make a decision on a few returnees. Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones, Corey Potter, Ben Eager, Mike Brown, Anton Lander and then farther up the food chain to Nick Schultz and even Ales Hemsky and Devan Dubnyk. There’s been a regime change, MacT and Eakins have no loyalty to Anton Lander beyond what he can do on the ice to help them win.
If you’re going to flush people, now is the time to do it. Dallas Eakins has no bond with any of these men, so he can make decisions solely on performance. It’s a great place for the coach to be, a tough one for the players. That should mean a good opening night roster, and we should be ready for some surprises.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Bruce McCurdy from Cult of Hockey. We’ll talk rookie camp, the Oilers roster and what it might look like, and the possible impact of the Nuge injury on the early part of the season.
- Sean Bissell, Campus Director of Donnan Hockey. We’ll have our ask the coach feature and focus on the best way to develop younger players.
- Rob Soria from Oil Drop will pop in to discuss Oiler camp, the Hall at center idea (what if he’s good and they keep him there?) and some tennis too.
- Jeff Krushell from Krush Health. Jeff’s back and we’ll talk baseball, US Open and more.
Lowetide_ on twitter or 10-1260 via text. Hope you can tune in!
These many years later there isn’t much to be said that hasn’t been said already, except we remember you and will never forget. Rest in peace.