And just like that, in the wink of an eye, the days of #1 overall picks igniting training camp are gone. I’ll miss them in some ways, but mostly it’s a relief–honestly how many years can you cheer for a team trying to lose before it becomes farce? (Answer: one. It was silly by the time we got the Nuge). That said, I’ll take the future and consider myself lucky to be around for this bonus round with giants on ice.
There are moments in life that are perfect, like that sound Neil Young gets from his guitar after he sings “then my face splashed in the sky” on Powderfinger. Not the Live Rust version, either–the original from Rust Never Sleeps–it’s desperate and beautiful and just hangs there for a second before he rips off another incredible solo. It’s perfect.
ROOKIE CAMP 2011 FALL 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
That was two years ago, and there are several things we can see looking back:
- They’re back to being bad/unlucky at finding goalies
- Defensemen develop by sundial. We don’t know a blasted thing about most of these guys two summers later, and the ones we do know about are terrible. Martin Marincin is the only thing we know we know from the defense and he still isn’t ready. Development is hard.
- Nuge. He’s so fine.
- The other centermen are Lander and some other guys, suspect that’s what we’ll be saying 10 years from now.
- Left wing makes defense look like heaven.
- Right wing is sad for lots of reasons.
That’s what #1 overalls do for you, they make these rookie camps worth attending and paying attention to each fall. Let’s check on the 2010 edition.
ROOKIE CAMP 2010 FALL ROSTER
- GOAL: Olivier Roy, Tyler Bunz, Bryan Pitton
- DEFENSE: Jeff Petry, Johan Motin, Alex Plante, Jordan Bendfeld, Brandon Davidson, Jeremie Blain, Martin Marincin, Dominik Schlumpf, Nolan Toigo, Dallas Ehrhardt
- CENTER: Chris VandeVelde, Tyler Pitlick, Ryan Martindale, Milan Kytnar, Chase Schaber
- LEFT WING: Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi, Phil Cornet, Kristians Pelss, Drew Czerwonka, Curtis Hamilton
- RIGHT WING: Jordan Eberle, Teemu Hartikainen, Cameron Abney, Mike Thomas, James Livingston
This is ridiculous–when was the last time the Oilers had THIS at a rookie camp?
- Goalies. Man. Just grab one of those goalie shooting targets already.
- Petry! He was kind of ready out of the box, gotta get more of those. Brandon Davidson has been around awhile, eh? Marincin too I guess. Toigo? Huh. Don’t remember one damn thing about him of Schlumpf. Didn’t Dalton Prout attend one of these?
- The ’27 Yankees rookie camp roster and they still don’t have a center.
- Taylor Hall. Perfect.
- Paajarvi is a player I’m going to miss a lot. I find myself getting angry at poor Perron lately. Poor bastard.
- Eberle had a lot of work to do after 2010 training camp, but he was a big star by 2010 fall and that’s for sure. Helluva player, he really is.
- Hartikainen. I think MacT made a mistake on that one, truth be told. Just saying.
ROOKIE CAMP 2013 FALL ROSTER
- GOAL: Tyler Bunz, Ty Rimmer, Franky Palazzese, Philippe Cadorette
- DEFENSE: Martin Marincin, Brandon Davidson, Oscar Klefbom, David Musil, Martin Gernat, Joey Leach, Darnell Nurse, Ben Betker
- CENTER: Andrew Miller, Travis Ewanyk, Greg Chase, Reid Petryk, Chase Schaber
- LEFT WING: Jujhar Khaira, Mitchell Moroz, Kale Kessy, Austin Fyten, Brandon Baddock
- RIGHT WING: Marco Roy, Jackson Houck, Kyle Platzer, Cameron Abney, Ty Bilcke
- Goalies. Honestly.
- Folks, that’s a lot of talent on defense. Would you bet money that one of them plays 1,000 NHL games? That’s a big bet, but look at these guys! Klefbom, Nurse are first rounders, Marincin a second with one good AHL season (at 20, that’s a thing for D) and then Gernat, Musil and Davidson who could do some things.
- I like Chase and Miller among the centers, maybe not sure shots but at least they have a chance to be players. There’s offense there and some other things. One day I’ll tell you my theory about why the Islanders always used to have more talent than anyone else.
- A good group on LW, Khaira might end up at center but I put him here. I bet he roars through the WHL this season. Moroz needs a strong year, Kessy’s an interesting prospect.
- Roy looks like a gem, Houck might be that elusive two-way winger with a physical element, we know as much about Platzer as we did Mikhnov in 2000 fall.
That 2010 bunch gave the Oilers Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and Jeff Petry. 2011 begat Nuge and Lander.
2013? The answer might be no one. 2014 will likely give us one or two defensemen, and 2015 might see Khaira or Roy arrive. The next goalie to come out of rookie camp isn’t here yet.
Note: The Oilers are streaming the games, schedule is here (first game Thursday at 5 our time against the Flames). A lot of people are saying the roster above lacks offense, but I think Andrew Miller, Marco Roy, Jujhar Khaira and a few others should show well in that area. The defense should be the highlight, but the goaltending is the worry. Bunz and his concussion are a big story this year.