The young Oilers failed early, often and miserably last night in their pre-season opener at the Penticton shootout. The day is ruined, the world will never be the same.
- Martin Marincin: +1 on a night when the Oilers were taking bullets by the hundreds, he was a calm, reliable defender and stood out because of it.
- Jujhar Khaira: Started slowly, but scored a goal, was +1 and had 4 shots on goal. Good in the FO circle too.
- Marco Roy: Had a brilliant chance and led the team with shots (5). Despite being -3 on the night I liked him plenty. Needs better linemates.
- Greg Chase: Loved his game. I’m a fan. Nice pass on the Khaira goal and was a problem for the other guy all night long. More please.
- Martin Gernat: Had an assist, three shots on goal. There’s some chaos, but he’s a very nice prospect.
- Cameron Abney: Not much to be said, he can’t get to the play until it’s over, and after the whistle he damaged the team with a bad penalty. I understand new management wanting to get a look at everyone, but this isn’t going to end well.
- David Musil: Got beaten one on one and he doesn’t have the foot speed to recover. Remains a prospect whose actual ability seems to have a wide range of opinion.
- Oscar Klebom: -3 and made an awful pass in the first period but Bunz saved it. I don’t think there’s much to worry about, but we should look for a stronger effort next time out.
- Tyler Bunz: Made some brilliant saves, let in some softies. The numbers don’t lie, as the young man said pre-game.
- Andrew Miller: Did some nice things later in the game (3rd period) but didn’t do much offensively and he needed to be better in that area. Among the players likely to get a long look at this camp, Miller was perhaps the least impressive.
There’s a Canadian Press article up about the Oilers and their talent development. Everything they say is all well and good but lordy your kids need to develop. We’ve gone round and round on Pitlick, Hamilton and Martindale since 2010 fall, and I’m sure the Oilers are hopeful Pitlick can turn the corner. But in my opinion, there are three elements to the process:
- drafting well
- making sure your draft picks are developing at the junior/college/Euro level
- helping them develop on the farm
I think the Oilers have done a good job since Stu MacGregor took over, there’s far less draft walkabout than in past years. However, last night’s best forwards were taken in the last year or so–there’s some buzz growing about Khaira, Chase and Roy–and whatever the fracture from junior to pro to NHL the time to find it is now. I don’t think anyone can reasonably argue that Marco Roy is a poor prospect, but getting him from here to the NHL is a big thing.
2014 MINOR LEAGUE RFA’S
The one major item we need to watch through this winter is the performance of the minor league rfa’s (2014 edition). This is make or break time for this group, and some of them might not make it through the season:
- Tyler Pitlick: Remains the most highly regarded of the 2010 forward prospects drafted outside the first round, Pitlick looks like a hockey player. He’s been in the ditch with his shooting percentage as a pro, and that’s getting to be a fairly long track.
- Curtis Hamilton: Always cheered for him (he’s a Saskatoon Blade) and he had that one fine WHL season before turning pro, but he’s more suspect than prospect as he enters what might be his final season of North American hockey.
- Ryan Martindale: Like Pitlick, he’s never gotten untracked offensively. Martindale posted some nice junior numbers and with the Oilers signing fewer top 6F’s this summer I’m wondering if a guy like Martindale might get an extended look (say, a half season) to show his offensive ability. The danger of course is games like last night–if your man is overwhelmed by competition level, he’ll never have the puck.
- Olivier Roy: He’s the one guy on the list who appears to be on track as a prospect. The only danger here? MacT is going to overhaul the goalie list between now and the draft. We might see a nuclear winter for the organization’s goalies.
- Taylor Fedun: He’s been passed by a lot of kids and there’s a truckload on the way. I wonder if he’ll prefer to try another organization. Certainly nothing wrong with him as a hockey player, hope he gets his chance.
- Mark Arcobello: A big season for him, he’s shown well in the AHL and may have a chance this fall to push his way to the NHL. Arcobello’s offense is clear of Andrew Miller’s based on Vollman’s NHL equivalencies and he could be this generation’s Toby Petersen (with more offensive acumen).
- Cameron Abney: I think we can make the call from here. In the hour after he was drafted I said “I suspect this is a decision by the organization to bring in some filthy players. Sort of like Bendfeld a year ago. The concern, as it was with the Coke Machines drafted 00-03, is that the Oilers are doing this extremely early. This fellow should have been available much later in this draft.” Proof last night, as the invite Bilcke performed better (in a small sample size, but we’ve seen years of Abney).
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Back in the studio today, Friday and a lot going on. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky from Big Mouth Sports. He’ll have terrific insight into the Burke hiring.
- Erin McLeod, brilliant Olympian goalkeeper for Canadian’s Womens Football Team
- Alan Hull from Copper and Blue. We’ll argue over prospects, suspects and the Oilers opening night lineup.
- Rod Proudfoot from FC Edmonton. Eddies had a big crowd for the Cosmos and look for a strong result this weekend.
- Jungle Jim Hunter. We’ll talk about the Tour of Alberta racers and their routines (eating, resting) during competition.
Lowetide_ on twitter and 10-1260 via text. We’ll also talk a ton of football, CFL and NFL.