December 24 2010 09:45AM
It's safe to say that the Edmonton Oilers have already had a major impact on the World Juniors this Christmas. Taylor Hall and Magnus Pääjärvi are not scheduled to appear (their tour is on the left coast), but the future of the Oilers will be on display in Buffalo.
There are two Oiler prospects on the Canadian roster this Christmas. We've been spoiled over the last couple of years because Jordan Eberle made this is personal stage; Eberle's WJ career is probably the most famous in the history of the tournament. His heart-attack goals with no time on the clock will be remembered forever.
- Olivier Roy showed well in the summer evaluation camp and was splendid in goal in the pre-tournament against Sweden. He will find out if he's the starter tomorrow evening, and it looks like a 50/50 bet at this point in time.
- Curtis Hamilton is having a fine season with Saskatoon of the WHL. He has moved up the depth chart at this tournament, and is getting some solid PK time. His range of skills make him a regular on a solid forward group for team Canada.
Magnus Pääjärvi is an NHL rookie this season, so won't have a chance to represent his country at the World Juniors. Team Sweden is a strong contender though, with an Oiler prospect front and center:
- Anton Lander is playing in the SEL (30gp, 7-7-14 E) and is the captain of Team Sweden for the World juniors. He's not a flashy player like Pääjärvi , but plays a sound positional game and is regarded as a quality 2-way center.
The Edmonton Oilers have been blessed with many Finns over the years. One of their prospects will represent Team Finland this week.
- Toni Rajala is a very skilled winger. Sublime passer and puck handler, size is his issue but the young man has plenty of gumption. His SM-Liiga season has been average, and I'm looking forward to seeing how well he plays this week. A fun player, he's always near the action.
The Edmonton Oilers have a young prospect who could be special representing Slovakia this Christmas.
- Martin Marincin's scouting report suggested a possible shutdown defenseman but few predicted the offensive kicker he's suppled in the WHL. Marincin is killing it for Prince George, among the league leaders in boxcar numbers for defensemen (1st) and rookies (2nd). Last WJ's was impressive for him, this one should see him deliver at a higher level.
NOTE: There are still decisions to be made (injuries, etc) so stay tuned. The players listed here do represent the cream of the Oilers prospect list at the teenage level (leaving aside Hall and Pääjärvi ).
Up next: The players (by team) we should be watching for relative to the 2011 draft. There are some outstanding prospects this year.