Oilers release training camp roster; looking for enforcer

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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.

  • Oilerz4life

    This is where the concussion issues for Ben Eager rears its ugly head. Ben can be a capable top 12 forward, has size and good speed. A loose screw actually makes attractive from an intimidation point of view. But concussions! I don’t think we can expect him to both fight and stay healthy for a full season.

  • Bob Cobb

    It doesn’t seem like Bob Mackenzie is that credible these days. Seems like he tweets just so people have something to talk about (and so they say they found out through him). Maybe he’s in the know out east, but something tells me he’s out of the loop when it comes to Edmonton

  • Tikkanese

    Occasionally the odd team can get by without a goon , but almost always not without tough gritty players . Oilers have neither an abundance of either .We will continue to get run , and spend an inordinate amount of time in the infirmary until such time as we can . Gm knows this as well as anyone .

  • A few comments from the bears v. oiler rookies:

    Reid Petryk, with the exception of M.Roy, was probably the Oilers best fwd last night at Clare Drake.

    Klefbom was lost in that old barn with the ‘square’ corners, but it’s an adjustment to play in Clare Drake even for North American skaters. Having said that, Klefbom was the oilers worst d-man with several give aways, turnovers, and he unable to make a simple tape-to-tape breakout pass all night. His skating is outstanding and he appears to me much stronger physically than the rest of the pack.

    You have to think a few bears get some American League offers once they finish their degree’s – Ringrose/Lazo (Ben Lindemulder looked good as well – great skater).

    Seeing the maturity level of a 22yr old (golden bear) vs an 18 yr old (oiler) is staggering – not discounting the fact the bears have played several yrs together as a team.

  • oilerjed

    @oilerz4life

    This conversation is going nowhere fast. Seems clear that you either agree with goons or you dont. Quit kidding yourself by assuming what people do in their spare time, makes you look stupid. Your beer league sounds like it needs some serious overhaul if people are grabbing each other by the throat. Or your playing high school hockey and will figure it out when you get through with puberty. And yes Eakins made his bones in major junior, so what. This is a league notorious for being overlly violent and most of it having very little to do with hockey. Mostly trying to prove that they are tough enough for the next level. Unfortunately 99% of these players end up in the beer leagues with you. This isnt major junior, nor is it your beer league. This is a league of professionals where skill is the key. No one is saying get rid of fighting (ok Im not at least) but devoting any of your roster to a almost one dimensional player is ridiculous. If this was the way to run a hockey team, we should have kept Omark all along just for the shootout points.

    • Oilerz4life

      That arguement doesn’t even make any sence. What you’re saying is that you’re in agreement with fighting but not an enforcer. That dirty play only exists in major junior and not the NHL because it is elite and somehow excempt from the need of an enforcer. On the contrary, it is the roughest league and toughest most dirty brand of slashing, hits and elbows at the highest level. You’re saying anyone who agrees that that assessment because they play hockey only plays in the beer leagues and looks stupid. Your brand of enforcerless “smart guy” hockey leads to dirty hits, slashing, hitting from behind and taking a run at a guy with your so called “checking line” tactics which you so wisely assert. Well, basically, pussy hockey, where you play dirty and then hide behind your coach on the bench or in suspension. But that assessment by hockey players is just “stupid”, because you are so much smarter than everybody else.

      • Oilerz4life

        Anyway this thread has expired. Im done trying to explain Don Cherry to “smart guys”. If you don’t see the need for an enforcer, you don’t. I do see the need for an enforcer. That is my “stupid” opinion 🙂 Have a nice day.

      • oilerjed

        To be clear, I don’t think your stupid, I respect your opinion, I just don’t agree. I dont like dirty hockey, and I think junior is the way it is because it is made up of young guys trying to make a rep. Its still great hockey but its not pro. yes there is dirty plays in the nhl because their will always be a$$holes. My point is that when someone takes a run at somebody its up to the other five guys on the ice to handle it then and there. Not trotting out your ox 3 shifts later to beat on their ox.

  • Reg Dunlop

    About enforcers…

    I never minded two heavyweights fighting each other during games (ex; Larocue vs Boogaard…or.. MacIntyre vs Ivanans, etc), but what gets me not liking it (an not having revenge) is when watching jerk-off guys like Avery or Cooke do something vicious to a player (like Avery did to Smid in NY) and the Oilers are forced to allow him off the hook because…. the refs won’t let anything honorable happen or the refs kick in the stupid instigator rule to give the honorable player a 2 minute penalty/and a 5 min penalty/and a game misconduct…or… the Oilers tough guy can only be allowed to fight the other heavyweight.

    This does not stop the dirty players out there from keep doing it cause they dont get beaten or bloodied nor properly penalized…nor… does it show the other team that the Oilers mean to go for blood (Expression).

    Once the stupid rule is gone and the players being dirty start paying for their actions then the game will be better off…like it was when Semenko, Dave Brown, McSorley, McClelland Laroque (early years) patrolled the game for the Oiler stars to stay healthy and perform best.

  • The problem with “grrr protect the skill” is that nobody has ever been able to produce the slightest shred of evidence that it works.

    Teams with goons do not have less injuries. Players who run guys will not stop because the team has a facepuncher. They don’t care. They’ve been getting threatened by facepuchers since they were 15.

  • Reg Dunlop

    EXACTLY SPYDR!!!!! ENOUGH OF BEING (BY FAR!!!) THE SOFTEST TEAM IN THE NHL!!! WE WANT MATT CARKNER ON D AND BIG JOHN SCOTT AS OUR 23rd MAN, RIGHT FRIC*&%^%EN NOW!!!! Are you listening yet MACT!!!! Next time you get a BIG MAC in your line-up let him do his job, like he did on his last shift as an OILER against Brad Staubitz. That was such a beautiful work of enforcing it made the Wonger cry like a new born baby!!!!! WOOOOO!!!!!

  • Reg Dunlop

    Religion, abortion, hockey enforcers… all are subjects that people have definite opinions on. The small, young skill have endured enough surgery-requiring injuries and PART of the solution is a big, tough team mate that’s always ready to go. Hall and the boys also need to start protecting themselves with the old Sherwood shield and the team must embrace the pack mentality (mess with one of us you mess with all of us).

    One final word; if enforcers are unnecessary why did Gretzky demand that snap-show Mcsorley accompany him to L.A.?

  • Reg Dunlop

    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.

  • wiseguy

    “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

  • oilerjed

    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.

  • kawi460

    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.

  • Wax Man Riley

    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!!!!!

  • Wax Man Riley

    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.