The Oilers and Flames will wrap up their young stars tournament tonight, and for the second straight year the Oilers won’t be playing their first overall pick against the Flames. Last year, Hall didn’t face Flames and tonight Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will sit in the stands, and many people who cover the Flames think it’s a "cheap" move.
The Oilers choose when Nugent-Hopkins plays, but I don’t think it is coincidence that the first overall pick won’t be facing the Flames. It’s just a small little dig at their provincial rivals.
MAIN CAMP ROSTER
It sounds like the majority of the kids at this camp will find themselves on the ice Saturday morning at Rexall Place. Last year every player got an invite to main camp, and look for that to continue with an official announcement coming after the game.
This morning Steve Tambellini was asked why he hasn’t brought a veteran D-man to camp on Professional Tryout (PTO)?
"I don’t want guys like Tuebert, Chorney and Petry coming to camp thinking they can’t make this team. I want them to feel that they have a legitimate shot to make the team."
If one of them plays well enough you can expect Andy Sutton to spend a few more nights in the pressbox. If they don’t play well, Tambellini is confident he can still go out and sign an free agent veteran D-man. In theory this thinking makes sense, however, unless one of Petry or Chorney are playing regularly I’d rather see them in the AHL for another season. I didn’t mention Tuebert, because I don’t think he is close this year. Next year I think he’ll be ready to legitimately push for a spot.
OPENING DAY OF TRAINING CAMP
Unlike previous years, the first day of camp won’t be open to the public. You will be able to get a sneak preview of Taylor Hall, Ryan Smyth, Nugent-Hopkins and more on Sunday during the Joey Moss Cup. The Moss Cup goes at 2 p.m. on Sunday and tickets are available at the Oilers website.
Last year the first day of camp wasn’t filled with scrimmages, instead Tom Renney had his team learning his system, but that won’t be the case this year. Renney told me earlier today (Interview Here) that he won’t be implementing a completely new system. There will be some minor changes of course, but Renney made it clear he won’t have as many rookies as last year, thus he expects his team to be more accountable on the ice.
Outside of Nugent-Hopkins I don’t see any raw rookies making the team. My surprise player will be forward Lennart Petrell. The Oilers signed the 6’3" free agent to a one-year deal this summer. He brings a bit of an edge to his game, is solid on his skates and will give the Oilers a bit of grit. I could see him being one of the extra two forwards when camp breaks.
OILERS V. FLAMES
Nugent-Hopkins won’t dress, but you will see Anton Lander for the second time. Here’s the lineup.
Curtis Hamilton (2nd round, 2010) – Tyler Pitlick (2nd, 2010) – Antti Tyrvainen (FA, played in Finland, 22)
Phillippe Cornet (5th, 2009) – Anton Lander (2nd, 2010) – Tobias Rieder (4th, 2011)
Drew Czerwonka (6th, 2011) – Colin Smith (FA, plays for Kamloops, 18) – Cam Abney (3rd, 2009)
Brett Ferguson (FA, played in Red Deer, 21) – Chase Schaber (FA, Kamloops, 20) – Toni Rajala (4th, 2009)
Brandon Davidson (6th, 2010) – David Musil (2nd, 2011)
Wes Vannieuwenhuizen (FA, Vancouver, 19) – Jeremie Blain (4th, 2010)
Martin Marincin (2nd, 2010) – Tyler Schmidt (FA, played in Tri City, 21)
Adam Brown (FA, plays in Kelowna, 20)
Musil and Davidson is clearly the best pairing and they’ve both played well. Of all the 2010 picks here, I think Davidson is the most improved of the bunch. To be fair he had had the most room to improve, but he has in incredible shape, he tested the highest of all the rookies, and he is more solid on his skates.
The Flames’ gameday write up on their site suggests the boys in Red could be fired up tonight.
The Flames will be going with a veteran-laden lineup tonight against the undefeated Oilers. Lance Bouma, Greg Nemisz, John Negrin, TJ Brodie and Mitch Wahl will all be suiting up for Calgary’s final game of the tournament.
All five played on Sunday against the Sharks and Ward wasn’t impressed with what they brought to the ice that.
"I didn’t like the fact that they assumed they were going to go where they left off," he said. "They didn’t prepare well enough mentally. For me, it wasn’t a physical thing on Sunday. We obviously got close to 40 shots and pretty much dominated the first two periods. But I didn’t think we were mentally engaged."
Hoepfully we see an intense game tonight.