Oilers release training camp roster; looking for enforcer

Jonathan Willis
September 11 2013 09:31AM

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The Oilers main camp starts today, and the team released its roster via Twitter this morning. There aren’t any major shocks, but there are a few names Oilers fans might not recognize.

Changes Coming?

The list the Oilers put out today is likely missing an ingredient if Bob McKenzie can be believed (and can't he always be believed?). The list above doesn't include an obvious candidate for the heavyweight role outside of maybe Ty Bilcke; ergo he will likely need to come from outside the organization via signing, trade or waivers (which is how the Oilers landed Steve MacIntyre a few years back). 

Under The Radar

Ty Bilcke. The 19-year-old is a little young for his chosen role at the professional level, but his OHL stats line from last season leaves no doubt as to what it will be. In 46 games with Windsor, the right wing recorded zero goals, one assist and 76 penalty minutes (down significantly from his five-point, 221-penalty minute season the year before). 

Matt Ford. A 28-year-old right wing, Ford signed an AHL deal with Oklahoma City over the summer. He has decent size and has mostly been a secondary scorer in the high minors the last few years.

Austin Fyten. Fyten is a second-year professional who spent last season playing mostly with the Idaho Steelheads in the ECHL, where he came in just under the point-per-game mark. He has decent size, plays a gritty game and can score a bit and might be a candidate for a minor-league job.

Joey Leach. An unsigned Calgary Flames draft pick (73rd overall, 2010), Leach is graduating to the professional ranks after a decent WHL career. He brings size and some scoring ability on the blue line.

Derek Nesbitt. Another minor-league journeyman. Nesbitt turned 31 in April and has signed on to play with the Barons. In the last three seasons he’s posted between 42 and 55 points, and he’ll add some experience and auxiliary scoring to a Barons roster light on serious forward prospects.

Reid Petryk. An undrafted Edmontonian who played with Everett (WHL) last year, Petryk’s offensive numbers in junior have been underwhelming (he topped out at 40 points). By most accounts Petryk’s a defensive forward who plays with a bit of grit; he’s hoping to land a pro contract after playing two games in the AHL last year when his junior career season ended. (As pointed out in our comments section, Petryk still has another year of junior eligibility.)

Ty Rimmer. Another undrafted Edmonton native, Rimmer posted a 0.912 save percentage in 65 games with Lethbridge (WHL) last season, and ran up a 0.922 save percentage with the Tri-City Americans the year before. He looked good in half an hour in the game between the Oilers’ rookies and the University of Alberta Golden Bears, and might round out a minor-league depth chart that includes Richard Bachman, Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz in net.

C.J. Stretch. The 24-year-old centre worked his way up from the ECHL and on to the Barons last season, and adds a bit of internal competition for players like Ryan Martindale and Travis Ewanyk.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 11 2013, 10:00PM
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Hayek wrote:

"Don't expect the Oilers to go out and get a heavyweight goon. Eakins doesn't like guys who can't play. If they could find a tough, physical guy who could play, then he'd consider it, but I don't expect the Oilers to find the next Steve MacIntryre."

-Jason Gregor

Keep Mike Brown and add a bigger Mike Brown....that would suffice....and they would be Dallas Eakins type of player.....

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#102 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 11 2013, 10:23PM
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borisnikov wrote:

A little remedial evidence to cure what ails you...

Chicago, 2013 season. 3rd last in Majors. Last in PIM Taken. Only 3 misconducts. Zero game misconducts. Presidents Trophy. Stanely Cup.

Yeah....But Gagner scored 8 points in one game against them....sup with that!

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#103 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 12 2013, 08:59AM
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I'm starting the BRING BACK STRUDWICK campaign now!!!

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#104 J Haps
September 12 2013, 08:15PM
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Do you really think that having an enforcer is going to stop a division rival from taking a run at your star player? If a guy wants to take Hall's knee out, then he will. It doesn't matter whether or not he has to fight Macintyre or whoever on is next shift. These are grown freaking men we are talking about, and having a guy like Macintyre is not going to intimidate anyone. If a guy injures Hall, Macintyre comes out to fight him, the guy can either fight Macintyre, lose and have some icebags after the game, or can refuse to fight, which results in Macintyre being a waste of a roster spot.

Now because I wrote this, I'll be expecting a lot of people to start claiming "you've never played the game" or "you're a sissy, go play soccer". Well, I've played the game, just not in the NHL. And until I see some empirical data that shows that the presence of a goon results in fewer hits and physical play, I'll continue to believe that playing a straight up, one-dimensional facepuncher is not a good strategy, particularly around playoff time.

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#105 Mike Modano's Dog
September 13 2013, 12:25AM
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Still wish we would have plucked Frazier MacLaren off waivers last year - for free. Best young fighter, that can play, in the game today!

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#106 pkam
September 11 2013, 01:11PM
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master of my domain wrote:

one of the only advantages I see of having a facepuncher on the 4th line is that one of the gifted forwards will get double shifted while said facepuncher is sitting on the bench giving the other team the stink eye.

And increase the chance of that skilled forward of being run or taking liberty at.

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#107 Freewheeling Freddie
September 11 2013, 04:19PM
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We have plenty of grit and sandpaper we don't need a heavyweight. Tongue in cheek of course. We will get pounded on with this current lineup. Bobby Mac who should the Oilers pursue?

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#108 Copper
September 11 2013, 07:03PM
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No we do not need a goon. We need players who can play hockey. Let the other team put a goon on the ice. Then send out our skill. And skate round him. Laroque was goon but, couldn't play and was no enforcer. He was only a fighter. His "code" prevented him from protecting his teammates and "enforcing" calmer play. He would only fight the other teams "heavyweight" and only if they agreed to go.

A goon is a waste of roster spot and cap space.

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#109 Dog Train
September 11 2013, 08:28PM
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The Oilers need to get tougher, but a hired gun will not solve anything. If we can find somebody who can give us at least 5 quality minutes a night, then having an 'enforcer' might be of some use. If he sits on the bench all night, nobody will be afraid of him.

Times have changed. With the instigator rule and the way that the league is going, players who use their hands for fighting moreso than stickhandling are becoming more and more useless. Again, the Oilers definitely need to get tougher but I don't see having a goon as being the answer.

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#110 kawi460
September 11 2013, 09:58PM
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I don't think they will add just a fighter/enforcer. I think they are looking for a big physical winger that can skate and drop the mitts. Maroon could fit the bill.

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#111 Wonger
September 12 2013, 08:52AM
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It will be very evident in the split squad games this Saturday against Calgry how badly the Oilers need a top level enforcer to complement the excellent middlewight Mike Brown and equally excellent light heavyweight Benjamin Eager! McGrattan, Jackman and O'Brien will make this obvious. The Oilers best heavyweight (not an Oiler cause he has an AHL contract in OKC) was not even invited to camp. He has fought MacIntyre before and would fight McGrattan in a second. Also, why not give HORDI a tryout. Great team guy! FEARLESSS!!!!!

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#112 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 12 2013, 08:56AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

If McGrattan is on the ice against Hall and Eberle, the Flames are throwing the game and you should stop playing the stars anyways.

So you are acknowledging that McGrattan can have the effect of keeping Hall and Ebbs off the ice.

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#113 Wonger
September 12 2013, 08:30PM
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J Haps wrote:

Do you really think that having an enforcer is going to stop a division rival from taking a run at your star player? If a guy wants to take Hall's knee out, then he will. It doesn't matter whether or not he has to fight Macintyre or whoever on is next shift. These are grown freaking men we are talking about, and having a guy like Macintyre is not going to intimidate anyone. If a guy injures Hall, Macintyre comes out to fight him, the guy can either fight Macintyre, lose and have some icebags after the game, or can refuse to fight, which results in Macintyre being a waste of a roster spot.

Now because I wrote this, I'll be expecting a lot of people to start claiming "you've never played the game" or "you're a sissy, go play soccer". Well, I've played the game, just not in the NHL. And until I see some empirical data that shows that the presence of a goon results in fewer hits and physical play, I'll continue to believe that playing a straight up, one-dimensional facepuncher is not a good strategy, particularly around playoff time.

The empirical evidence is the win-loss records and playoff appearances by teams who employ one or more ENFORCERS you SMRT GENIOUS!!!

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#114 Aleks
September 14 2013, 08:07PM
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A + 96 is now # 82. Calgary won't stand a chance starting with this no signing.

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