Craig MacTavish is a very aggressive guy. Proof? He’s made a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse looking for players. The result? A dizzying number of brand new pro hockey players, and one teenager who is probably the best of the bunch. Steve Tambellini would have taken years to get this done.
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
- Greg Chase. 19-years old and not yet signed, Chase can’t play pro hockey next season but signed a tryout deal so he could play these down the stretch games. The last guy Edmonton did it with? Jordan Eberle. Incredible. At even strength in the WHL this season, Chase went 70, 25-31-56 (Jordan Eberle went 61, 20-13-33 at even strength in his season after draft). I don’t think it’s possible to soft play this season, or his performance last night. 7th round steal might not sum this up properly. 6.0, 205 according to the AHL site.
- Jujhar Khaira. Also 19, Khaira can turn pro this fall and showed well last night. Khaira’s 6.03, 210 according to the AHL site, and from Neal Livingston and others it sounds like he had an effective game. Khaira used his size on the power play and generally played an effective game. Khaira photo in this article via Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved.
- Kellen and Connor Jones. Kellen Jones is the Oiler draft pick I’ve rarely mentioned on this blog, but they’ve signed him to a contract for this season and the twins look like they’ll get a fighting chance to win pro jobs. Story is here. Kellen Jones is the last member of the 2010 Oilers draft to sign, and the tenth signed by the Oilers (Jeremie Blain signed in the Vancouver organization). The 2010 draft gave Edmonton Taylor Hall, Tyler Pitlick and Martin Marincin, and Curtis Hamilton, Tyler Bunz and Brandon Davidson remain with the club as minor leaguers.
- Joshua Winquist. 20-year old WHL grad coming off a 47-goal season.
- Mitch Holmberg. 20-year old WHL grad coming off a 62-goal season.
- Graeme Craig. 20-year old WHL monster defender.
- Jordan Oesterle, new signing from NCAA who might be a player. We talked about him here.
If Todd Nelson can improve these kids a little over the stretch run it could pay dividends down the line. There are some encouraging arrows here, ladies and men.