For some organizations, training camp is a time for team veterans to get in gear while as prospects watch their heroes in awe. But for a team in the midst of a rebuild, much like the Edmonton Oilers, training camp can be an arena to assess some stellar players who may be ready to earn a spot on the NHL and AHL rosters. When this key time of year rolls around, here are ten Oilers prospects you will want to watch…
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C
It is no surprise that all eyes will be on the 2011 first-overall draft pick. For the past three years, Nugent-Hopkins has played for the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL and has showcased his fantastic hockey sense and two-way ability throughout. Despite that, many are unsure if his 6’0”, 171 lb. frame is NHL ready. Training camp will be the time to put this speculation to the test and see if he is ready to take his play to the next level, or if he needs a bit more seasoning. Whether or not he repeats Taylor Hall and makes the team only a few months after being drafted, Nugent-Hopkins is a star player in the making.
2. Curtis Hamilton, LW
This will be Hamilton’s second year attending training camp, and if there were to be a “most improved” award, he would likely win it. Hamilton has been spending the past year working on his speed and size in ord
er to compete at the NHL level. As a power forward, his grit would be a welcome addition along the ranks of snipers like Jordan Eberle.
3. Colten Teubert, D
Teubert is the definition of a stay-at-home defenceman; he is happy to let the other team come to him.
When they do, they better watch out—Teubert is as tough as they come. Despite Teubert’s steely on-ice presence, he
brings a sense of leadership to the locker room. This is certainly an asset that won’t go unnoticed amongst a team full
of growing young players. While he may not have the scoring touch that marks some other d-men, the Oilers know they need a shut-down guy to bolster occasional lapses in goaltending.
4. Anton Lander, C
Amongst a group of young guns dying to show they can score goals, Lander is one of the few to play a conservative, two-way game. Though he isn’t the fastest guy, his passion and intensity are always evident. If he wants to make a statement at training camp, Lander will play his game and let his maturity on and off the ice shine through.
5. Jeff Petry, D
An excellent mix of stickhandling, and skating skill makes Petry the ideal two-way defenceman. He is smart about his offensive opportunities and rarely lets a chance go to waste. In his own zone, he is always ready to battle for the puck. If he wants to make an impact in training camp, he will want to display a heightened sense of physical play, which he can sometimes lack.
6. Martin Marincin, D
After making the transition from European to North American hockey last season, Marincin has continued to show a desire to keep improving and learning. He boasts size and speed that would make any opposing forward nervous. His incredible shot while on the point is another asset that would add to an Oilers power play that is steadily gaining steam.
7. Tyler Pitlick, C
No matter the current skill set of your team, adding the talent of a player like Pitlick can never hurt; a pure goal scorer with exceptional hockey sense is an asset to any team. He consistently makes smart decisions with the puck, and has the sheer skill to follow through. Perhaps Pitlick won’t quite make the NHL roster, but a year of AHL experience plus a nine-game tryout could be in his future.
8. Alex Plante, D
At 6’4” and 225 lbs., Plante can often seem like an insurmountable obstacle for any opposing forward. His rocket shot from the point also attests to his power play potential. Plante tends to be rough around the edges in terms of lateral movement, and come training camp, the Oilers will want to see a little more coordination from his overall game.
9. Taylor Fedun, D
Fedun spent the past four years with the Princeton Tigers, and captained the team his senior year. This collegiate experience will certainly bring a different skill set to training camp. Though he may not be as professionally polished, his game is one based on discipline and playmaking. A yeah in the AHL may be what this savvy blueliner needs to gain an understanding of the next level.
10. Olivier Roy, G
He may still be growing as a player, but Roy approaches each game with dedication and know-how beyond his years. He has a fantastic glove and moves well laterally. Though Roy may not be NHL ready, training camp will be an important marker in determining how he is developing. Making sure he is on the right track is key for this organization, who, down the road, may be looking to restructure things in front of the net.
All around, the Edmonton Oilers organization is full of young, up-and-coming talent. While not every player will be given the chance to take their game to the NHL or AHL level, there is no doubting the future of this organization is bright.