June 27 2012 10:13AM
The Edmonton Oilers’ annual development camp is underway and there are a few interesting names on the invite list.
Northern Michigan University sends two players to the Oilers’ camp this year. It’s hard not to think that head professional scout Morey Gare has something to do with those invites – it is his alma mater and the head coach there, Walt Kyle, was the head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs back when Gare was his assistant. Jared Coreau is a 6’5” goaltender who just had a breakthrough season; after an ugly save percentage year in the USHL and a middling one as a college freshman, he managed a 0.928 SV% this season (another odd connection – Coreau was a teammate of new Oilers’ draft pick John McCarron in the USHL). Also from NMU is Wade Epp, a 6’5” defenseman who led the blue-line in plus/minus (plus-6) as well as the team in both penalties and blocked shots.
Cameron Critchlow scored 12 goals in 16 QMJHL playoff games and despite modest size has a reputation for grit. He also served as team captain in both Halifax and Lewiston. He’s a long shot for a contract, but if things don’t work out with the Oilers he’s bound for the University of New Brunswick.
Brett Ferguson returns for his second fall with the Oilers organization. A year ago he was a graduating WHL’er with good numbers; this year he’s back after stints with the University of Alberta and the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies. He picked up two points in 15 games with the latter club, and it’s hard to imagine he’s a guy of serious interest.
Draft pick Kellen Jones will be at the development camp, and his twin brother Connor is coming with him. Like Kellen, Connor Jones is listed at 5’9” and playing for Quinnipiac University; interestingly he’s out-scored his brother for four consecutive seasons now.
Antoine Laganiere is a 6’4” forward who scored at nearly a point-per-game pace with Yale University as a 21-year old. He’s studying economics, plays piano and has a reputation as an excellent student. He finished second on the team in goals with 19 in 35 games and also picked up 45 penalty minutes.
Stephane Legault is a winger with the Oil Kings, and had a bit of an offensive breakthrough this season, jumping from seven goals to 15 and 25 points to 39. The offensive production isn’t overly impressive, but Oil Kings assistant G.M. Randy Hansch has about the player:
“He epitomizes what we’re all about when it comes to hard work and getting the job done. The one thing about Stephane is his effort is always there. There are so many little things he does in his game. He’s a determined hockey player. Steph has had to perservere this season, he’s bounced around from line to line, and at times, he found himself a healthy scratch. He doesn’t take anything for granted. He makes the most of his opportunities. He’s a very versatile player, whatever position the coaches put him him, he takes it upon himself to thrive in it.
Brandon Magee is a 5’8” centre with the Victoria Royals. He was in his first year of eligibility for the NHL Draft but went unselected despite recording 47 points in 65 games. Red Line Report had him ranked 137th in their draft list, with the following one-line description: “Tiny and talented – another 3 inches/30 lbs. = 2nd Rd.”
All of these guys are longshots, but there are few things more fun in sport than cheering for longshots.
This week by Jonathan Willis
- Jets re-sign Ondrej Pavelec, pay top dollar
- Oilers issue qualifying offers to seven
- Report: Oilers interested in Blackhawks' defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson
- The 2012 NHL Entry Draft: Recap
- Should the Oilers have made a pitch for Zbynek Michalek?
- The Oilers select forward Mitch Moroz 32nd overall
- The Jets select Lukas Sutter 39th overall
- The Canucks select Alexandre Mallet 57th overall
- The top five ranked players left after the end of the first round
- Moving up and down at the NHL Draft
- Should the Oilers take a goalie in the second round?