Yesterday was the opening day of the Canadian junior hockey team’s summer orientation camp, and the Oilers have three prospects participating: 2008 draft picks Jordan Eberle and Philippe Cornet, and 2009 pick Olivier Roy.
TSN has been good enough to keep us up to date on what’s happening, so let’s check the progress of the Oilers’ prospects so far.
Jordan Eberle, should he be returned to junior, is a shoe-in for the team and yesterday played on a line with Canucks prospect Cody Hodgson and 2008 4th overall pick Evander Kane. If that line were kept intact, it would almost certainly be Canada’s top line at the WJC. Last year Eberle scored six goals and seven assists for Team Canada, including a last minute goal against Russia that kept the team in the tournament. His performance at the WJC cemented his status as the Oilers’ top prospect in the minds of many, and there’s no doubt Canada would love to have him back.
Philippe Cornet’s status is less certain. So far in camp, he’s played a fourth-line role with a pair of OHL players: New Jersey prospect Adam Henrique and 2009 first-rounder Zack Kassian. Cornet’s age will certainly help him: he has a full year on the 2009 draft picks and took a major step forward last season (scoring 33 goals and 92 points for Rimouski of the QMJHL). Multiple scouting reports have identified him as a player with a wide range of skills, and he’s the sort of player who could easily slide from a 4th line role on to a scoring line if injuries were to strike. He probably won’t make the team but he’s certainly in contention and a strong start in the QMJHL would help his cause a great deal.
Olivier Roy is an interesting choice for Team Canada and joins a very successful group of goaltenders (Jake Allen, Matt Hackett, Martin Jones). He was picked over higher-drafted goaltenders (Adam Morrison, J-F Berube and notably Edward Pasquale) for the summer camp and that’s a nice vote of confidence in the Oilers scouting staff. That said, he’s been a backup the first two days of camp with Allen and Hackett starting, and it’s hard not to see him as the #4 candidate on the depth chart. It will probably take an outstanding start from Roy, or a faltering one from at least one of Allen or Hackett for him to snag a role with the team.