While the Oilers young stars played, the real entertainment was Dallas Eakins. He delivered a fascinating interview about rookies, camp, and the big club.
ON THE OILERS YOUNG STARS PERFORMANCE
- “To be honest, I didn’t like much.”
Great answer, because it’s blunt and honest. Eakins is more credible with this kind of answer, and although he added things like a lack of practice the point was made. If I’m Eakins, my notes from this tournament are short and sweet: “Don’t expect any help from any player in this group for at least a year.” If Klefbom and Marincin show well in main camp–and that’s possible because there will be more structure there–it’s still a tell when a player like Klefbom (at age 20) can’t impact the game consistently. Not a lot of “calming the waters” by the highly touted blue last night or against Calgary. Klefbom hasn’t played a lot, better to let him play in OKC for half a season or more (I have him playing 60 games in the AHL in the RE) before letting him defend NHL sorties.
ON THE NHL DEFENSE BATTLE AT TRAINING CAMP
- “I think we have 8 guys with NHL experience, and a highly touted European player coming over from the KHL which makes the 9 who are really going to compete for the jobs at camp.”
This is maybe the best part of a very intense press conference (Eakins can hold the room’s attention I’ll give him that; I think reporters are going to have to actually write down their questions and have a point) and tells you where he’s heading–PROVEN players, ACTUAL players, are going to be the key. In order for a rookie to knock off a veteran with NHL experience, he’s going to need to grab that job by the nuts and pull hard.
For Smid, Petry, Ference, the unrelated Schultz’s, Grebeshkov, Larsen, Potter and Belov that’s good news. If the Oilers begin the season with 8 of those guys and another on IR (that’s what will probably happen if the battle is close), that should be considered the reasonable, most likely and best result. Don’t let the ultimate tournament of small sample sizes (TC) fool you.
A FEW NOTES ON THE WINNIPEG GAME
- It went as expected, the Oilers best players up front are the kids (Khaira, Chase, Roy) and the twin towers (Marincin, Gernat) are showing well among the touted blue. The goaltending is no name, the struggles appear to be coming from the 20+ year olds and that is incredibly discouraging. At this point, I think Andrew Miller should fake an injury, as each shift gets him closer to Bakersfield.
- In the two games so far, Edmonton’s SP is .813
- Khaira, Chase, Platzer and Betker–all new to this tournament–are +1, the only players in the black.
- Klefbom, Kessy and Miller are all -5, the worst number in the tournament.
- Shots on goal leaders: Marco Roy (8–tied for 3rd in the entire tournament); Khaira (6); Gernat (5); Fyten (5); Chase (4); Ewanyk (4); Leach (4).
- Point leaders: Platzer (1, 1-0-1); Khaira (2, 1-0-1); Chase (2, 1-0-1); Ewanyk (2, 1-0-1); Klefbom (2, 0-1-1); Marincin (2, 0-1-1); Gernat (2, 0-1-1)
I’ll have more later this morning as we get ready for an early afternoon game. There are positives from this camp (incredibly) but I think it’s reasonable to suggest Edmonton came here with a roster that should have been expected to get these results. The Oilers brought a knife to a gunfight, or more accurately, their tough forwards are ready to intimidate and they’ll get right to it as soon as the other team stops scoring on them.