The Edmonton Oilers have not yet released their training camp roster. Steve Tambellini told the media that 64 men will be in camp. The list is about the same as last years (63), very young, full of tall trees (especially on the blue) and flush with boys from the Western league. This is a list you might want to pay close attention to–many of these kids are going to be around for a long, long time.
I believe this to be the list.
- Nikolai Khabibulin: If he’s healthy and a free man, NK is easily the class of the group.
- Devan Dubnyk: The backup job will be hotly contested. Dubnyk is a big goaltender with solid mechanics and a reputation for steady play.
- Jeff Deslauriers: More athletic than DD, Deslauriers is the more experienced hand. The Oilers will probably have to risk waivers on one of Dubnyk or Deslauriers this fall. A trade is possible.
- Martin Gerber: Health is a concern (he missed a big part of the season one year ago) but he’s a solid insurance policy for the things that might happen at the top of the roster.
- Bryan Pitton: Tall, lean goalie is likely destined for time in Stockton and Oklahoma City this season.
- Olivier Roy: May well pass DD and JDD as the "goalie of the future" with a strong TC and WJC.
- Tyler Bunz: Newest goalie in the system.
Last season, there were 8 goalies. Gone are Andrew Perugini, Aaron Sorochan, Kurtis Mucha.
- Tom Gilbert: Just because he’s a finesse player doesn’t mean he can ‘t play defense. Effective puck mover and makes an terrific headman pass. Wonderful player.
- Ryan Whitney: Looked very good in a late-season stint with the Oildrop. Has some grit and is quite skilled, plus he seems happy to be here.
- Kurtis Foster: Trying to come all the way back from a terrible injury, this season with the Oilers is his chance to establish himself in a top 4 role.
- Ladislav Smid: Health is always a concern with Smid, but the Oilers badly need him to play in all kinds of situations this year.
- Jim Vandermeer: Ideally he’d be part of the 3rd pairing, but with injuries, etc there is a good chance he’ll be forced into a more prominent role.
- Jason Strudwick: End of the roster defenseman who can also play the wing. I think he’ll end up in the pressbox a lot this season.
- Theo Peckham: Waiver eligible and that means he should make the team with a solid camp.
- Taylor Chorney: After last season’s chaos, a full season in the minors likely.
- Shawn Belle: Minor league veteran has a nice opportunity.
- Alex Plante: Solid in rookie tournament (pre-injury). Health always a concern.
- Jeff Petry: Early injury at rookie camp set him back.
- Jake Taylor: Headed for Springfield, a quaity AHL veteran.
- Richard Petiot: This year’s Arsene/Rourke could surprise. Quality AHL veteran.
- Johan Motin: Tough defenseman probably behind the other AHL kids.
- Jordan Bendfeld: Likely to be on the AHL/ECHL train.
- Martin Marincin: Tall kid, impressive defensive skills.
- Brandon Davidson: Impressive resume and showed some nice things at rookie camp.
- Jeremie Blain: Appears to be a raw talent with some grit.
- Nolan Toigo: Tough WHL defender.
- Dominik Schlumpf: Slender 19-year old defenseman who played for the Swiss at the World Juniors.
- Dallas Ehrhardt: Injured.
Last season, there were 19. Gone are Lubo, Grebeshkov, Staios, Arsene, Cody Wild, Matt Nickerson, Bryan Young, Jesse Dudas, Dalton Prout. Sheldon Souray is also not listed, he is persona non grata.
- Sam Gagner: The scene is set for young Gagner to emerge as the top offensive contributor at center. If he stumbles the Oilers do have some options.
- Andrew Cogliano: Unlike Souray’s situation, it appears both player and organization have decided to commit to making this thing work. Renney feels he can use Cogs in a 2-way role, and his speed suggests that this player could be a solid PK contributor. There’s a player here.
- Shawn Horcoff: The Gagner bump allows the team to hard match Horcoff against the Sedin-level opposition from the other team. I think the club may also play a responsible rookie with him (perhaps Eberle) as Horcoff begins his "Stan Weir as mentor" role for the young group.
- Colin Fraser: He could line up on the 3rd or 4th line and should get a lot of playing time in a defensive role. Fraser is one of the newcomers the team will rely on to pick up the slack left when veterans like Pisani left town.
- Ryan O’Marra: Oilers love his skill set as it perfectly fits the current need: a checking C with some grit. I question his ability to hit above the Mendoza line offensively but the club likes him and there’s a solid chance he makes the team.
- Chris Vande Velde: Extremely likely to spend an extended period in the minors, but his career path is somewhat similar to Horcoff who spent half a season in the minors. Older than the other top level prospects, so it is important that he impress.
- Brad Moran: Veteran minor leaguer has posted numbers wherever he’s been, including a solid 2 years in Sweden 2008-10. Could surprise but likely to play in OKC this season.
- Jared Aulin: C-W has played in the NHL (LA before the lockout). He has endured some injuries over the years and was out of organized hockey from fall 2008 through October 2010 when he signed with Syracuse (AHL) and began the climb back to the NHL (hopefully).
- Tyler Pitlick: Outstanding play at rookie tournament has Oiler fans intrigued.
- Milan Kytnar: Young man brings plenty of 2-way skills to the table, and as such is somewhat unique on this hockey club. He could land anywhere in the minor league system, this is a huge TC for his future.
- Ryan Martindale: Skilled player with some consistency issues.
- Chase Schaber: Skill prospect willing to drop the gloves.
Last season, there were 9. Gone are Marc Pouliot, Chris Minard, Rob Schremp and Geoff Paukovich.
- Dustin Penner: Oilers have a big body on the top 6, and he’s dynamite.
- Taylor Hall: Gifted player with heart and swagger. He’ll own the city by November.
- Magnus Pääjärvi: I wonder if he will move to RW during the season (or Hall to center) should the three horsemen find chem on the same line. Either way, he’s a stud.
- Ryan Jones: Young man has some power-forward in him and a real chance to spend some time in the top 6 this season. Can he be the modern Brett Callighen?
- JF Jacques: Mixture of size and speed is opium to hockey management. Appears unable to take and make a pass, which hinders his ability to impact the game in a positive way. NOTE: As per Jason Gregor in a comment below: JF Jacques will not be ready at the start of camp, and is doubtful to be ready to start the regular season. He still hasn’t fully recovered.
- Linus Omark: He’s going to turn some heads. If he’d come over a year ago, Omark would be established with the organization by now.
- Alexandre Giroux: Possibly the best scorer in the minors over the last several seasons. Has a legit shot at spending an extended period with the big club.
- Gregory Stewart: Big body for the minor league team. If he moves up this depth chart enough to make the team, Edmonton will have had another injury plagued training camp.
- Teemu Hartikainen: Gritty player who could come quickly to the show. Offers unique qualities (grit, willingness to sacrifice) and might end up being that 2-way LW this team needs so badly.
- Philippe Cornet: I’ve had a long look at him over at the other blog, and Cornet looks like a tweener to math (my overlord). That doesn’t mean he won’t have an NHL career, but his best chance is to find some chem with one of the gifted kids.
- Matt Marquardt: Big body had a fine ECHL playoff and may find a role with OKC.
- Jesse Gimblett: Big winger with OHL and CIS experience.
- Curtis Hamilton: I swear he’s the modern Ross Lonsberry.
- Kristians Pelss: Undersized speedster with a motor that won’t quit.
- Drew Czerwonka: Physical player.
Last season, there were also 14. Gone are Patrick O’Sullivan, Mike Comrie, Ethan Moreau, Ryan Potulny, Ryan Stone, Slava Trukhno, Kip Brennan, Bryan Lerg, Charles Linglet, Riley Emmerson and Kelly Czuy. THAT is an incredible amount of turnover, with only Penner, Jacques and Cornet returning.
- Ales Hemsky: A healthy season is required from this player. Hemsky will have lots of help for the entertainment section, but the kids will give up as much as they deliver. It falls to Hemsky (and Penner) to be the difference makers on the skill lines.
- Gilbert Brule: Has an outstanding opportunity to build on that giant leap forward last season. If Brule can find a home on a skill line and score 20+ goals he could be a big part of the future in EDM.
- Jordan Eberle: The only question now is what line does he play on? I think a ‘kid line’ or a line in which he plays with an established center is the most likely. Smart player, may be asked to fill an important 2-way role.
- Zack Stortini: Tough winger who has done everything asked and then some in a 4-line role. May be asked to move up the depth chart at times this season and to PK.
- Steve MacIntyre: The designated enforcer, Renney says he wants SMAC to play more than 3 minutes a night.
- Liam Reddox: This player will impress the coach from day one and could make the team in a support role. Does lots of little things right, doesn’t bleed the other way.
- Colin McDonald: Technically signed to an AHL contract, I believe he’ll be on the list. Checker.
- Ben Ondrus: Energy winger headed to OKC.
- Cameron Abney: Enforcer of the future looks like he’s on track.
- Mike Thomas: resume is similar to Abney’s although this player is older and more mature, plus a little more skilled.
- James Livingston: Livingston seems to have some positives (size, grit, some skill) in areas the Oilers have needs.
Last season, there were 13 RWs. Gone are Fernando Pisani, Robert Nilsson, Colton Fretter, Miroslav Lazo, Jamie Bates and Ryan MacMurchy.
Of the 63 names from last year’s list, 33 are gone from the organization. I believe this to be the list, please correct mistakes and I’ll update when the official list is released.