Oilers release training camp roster; looking for enforcer


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.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    One thing the Oilers could do right now, is bring in a guest coach. Maybe Col. Jessep (Jack Nicholson) from A Few Good Men perhaps.

    Have Jack Nicholson (in full uniform) pacing back and forth on the bench with a pistol in his hand. Which team/player(s) he uses that weapon on remains unclear at the moment. Lowe could work out the details later i’m sure.

    This would certainly prompt change on both benches. Changing the color of the TV time out lightbuld at the time keepers bench may require further thought though…

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Here it is, September 11/the opening of training camp, and still so many holes throughout this lineup. Bobby Mac tweets the Oilers are looking for an enforcer, lets face it, the Oilers are in need of many bodies who’ll sufficiently fill a hole on this roster. This isn’t just limited to that enforcer Mac feels they’re trolling for. Something’s wrong if they haven’t thought of this before now.

    Have to give the Oilers off season accomplishments a D grade. Lowe brings in a rookie GM and another rookie coach, yeah, that will sure fix things….35% of that tc roster is fodder. Bodies that will surely just be in the way of the few players that matter. A non playoff team with no cap space left, if they even found someone who is willing to come here, they still couldn’t do anything.

    Hunker down hockey fans….another season of hockey that doesn’t matter.

    • Quicksilver ballet


      As for getting an enforcer – I say “meh”.

      Look at what this team will be putting on the ice for at least 2/3rds of the time (i.e. the top two lines). Where is the push-back going to come from? This team is going to be seeing a lot of glass up close as other teams take it to them in against the boards and as the game goes on our players will wear down whilst the opponents will have had barely exerted themselves nor paid the price physically.

      Talking a puck possession game is nice, but how do you get the puck in the first place? And who’s going into the corner to get it?

      An enforcer would be nice but it is a need that trails several others. I think the enforcer talk is a distraction on the part of Lowe/Mact as they can probably get one fairly easily and for cheap, but because of cap and a reluctance to actually trade someone who has value, the more pressing needs will go unaddressed until the trade deadline if then.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    This is hockey, not boxing or MMA. A heavyweight is not required.

    Having our goon fight your goon solves nothing, and proves nothing. Stop living in the 1980’s Mackenzie.

      • northof51

        Playing hockey and playing in the NHL are not the same thing. In the NHL, there is video replay and an adjudicating body who is willing to throw out random suspensions on a whim. Not to mention national media coverage dissecting every single play.

        In other “hockey” (I’m thinking specifically of Senior), random psychos take over the game with all out brutality and that is best combated with your own random psycho.

        In the NHL there is a middle ground between having a face puncher and a lack of masculinity. There are tougher players who can play more minutes. I am in favour of that coming from the 6th dman, not from a 2.5 min per game “tough guy”.

    • Wax Man Riley

      Obvioulsy you don’t play hockey and beer league where you run around and fall down with skates on doesn’t count either. I shall try and enlighten you. The reason many teams apply the use of an enforcer is to help safeguard the players who otherwise cannot do it alone. You wouldnt want Yak and Hall having to fight all the time would you? It also helps to referee the game so that other teams dont take liberty after liberty with younger or weaker players. Enforcers keep players honest and make them accountable for their actions on the ice. You better believe that a player who thrives on being dirty will think twice before laying an elbow or punching the face of one of our young guys when there is a fighter who will make them answer the bell. Not to mention its great entertainment for the fans and a fight can be used as a huge momentum swing for a team when implemented at the right time. So, in closing, you dont know what you are talking about.

      • pkam

        If I remember correctly, Steve Macintyre was an Oilers in 2010-11. The question is why we only played him 34 games that year and less than 2 minutes a game when we dress him?

        Also, why did Hall have to fight Derek Dorsett and finished his season early with an injury? I thought there should be no one dare to touch our young players, right?

        With the instigating rule, the heavyweight is as effective as a scarecrow, but it takes up one of your 23 roster spot. How do you stop the other team from taking liberty with our young players and refusing to fight our heavyweight?

        • pkam

          make a good point about a one dimensional oversized goon, but thats not what im referring to. I would like a body that can play the game at a decent level but his main attribute is that he beats the snot out of people. Doesn’t have to be a Macentyre.

          When Hall fought Dorsett he did so out of his own fruition and im sure was told afterwards to never do that again. Plus Dorsett is an agitator not a heavyweight.

          Last I checked, Scarecrows still work at keeping the crows away. Also, simply because the Oilers misused a player like Macintyre doesnt mean they are of no use. Big Steve found himself a home in the NHL…With the Penguins! Safe to say a few of their players are incapable of doing the fighting. If PIT can use a guy like that, how can the Oilers not? Plus he wouldnt need to dress every game, only against those teams which play a game suited to having a guy like that around.

          • pkam

            Your argument that nobody is dare to take liberty at our young stars if we have a tough guy to hold them accountable. The fact is Derek Dorsett was still taking Liberty at our young stars even though McIntyre was an Oilers.

            So what happen if I continue to take liberty at your small players and refuse to fight your tough guy, are you going to sucker punch me and take 7 minute of penalty and risk getting a suspension?

            Scarecrow can only scare the idiots. Do Avery and Clutterbuck ever stop taking liberty of smaller players?

            And by the way, McIntyre only played 24 game in 2011-12 and 1 game 2012-13 with the Penguins. Wonder why? Nobody is willing to fight him but continue to take liberty at your smaller players.

        • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

          How?…… you pound the p*ss out of their star player (or at least rub him out against the boards) forcing the other teams enforcer to have to step up…..that’s how!

          (And there are other ways…that you and your kind don’t discuss at your fancy dinner parties…and while I may appear grotesque to you and my very presence may repulse you…deep down inside …you want me on that wall…you need me on that wall!!)

    • Oilerz4life

      It’s not about having “our goon fight your goon”, its about protecting your goal scorers. Hall, Nuge, Ebs, Yaks. Can you see any of them standing up for themselves against a team like Boston? Get it right. It keeps the game honest. This is the Canadian game. Its a contact sport.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I get the fact that this isn’t the eighties however small, friendly, polite team don’t win Stanley Cups. A decent heavy weight that will stand up for team mates is a must.

    • 2004Z06

      So let me propose a scenario using the Detroit model.

      Player A cheap shots Henrik Zetterberg and concusses him. Player A receives a game misconduct and subsequent 5 game suspension (first offense). Detroit scores 2 on the 5 min PP and wins the game.

      Meanwhile they lose the next several of their games because their star player is out for 6 months due to post concussion symptoms.

      Meanwhile player A misses the 5 games and is back on the ice.

      Does the punishment fit the crime?

      Now this hasn’t happened in Detroit…. yet!

      If league enforcement isn’t sufficient, then prevention is the only other option. AKA an enforcing deterrent.

      • wiseguy

        So let me propose a scenario using your model:

        Player A cheap shots Henrik Zetterberg and concusses him. Your goon jumps him and giives him a couple of cuts and scrapes. Player A receives a game misconduct and subsequent 5 game suspension (first offense). Detroit scores 2 on the 5 min PP and wins the game.

        Meanwhile they lose the next several of their games because their star player is out for 6 months due to post concussion symptoms. Your goon is suspended for 5 games as is Player A.

        How is this any different than the original scenario?

    • Tikkanese

      Yes the Red Wings who won all their cups with Probert and/or Kocur and/or McCarty and/or Downey playing for them. Your mighty Wings haven’t won a Cup since 07/08 and that’s when the last of the line of those guys(McCarty) retired. Was that your point? If it was the opposite point, you failed.

    • wiseguy

      The Oilers past 3 coaches all disdained the use of an enforcer. Subsequently we have had our show ran again and again. Game after game teams have run over us, literally. Especially in our own barn. Its been incumbent upon non heavy weight players, Mike Brown, to try to give this team some semblance of a deterrent. It has not worked. At all. The stats bear out that the Oilers cannot go toe to toe with teams like LA, San Jose and Anaheim when going gets tough.

      I am all for the 3-6 minute guy for at least 25-30 games. Tell me anyone who is reading this who the frak is going to deter some Nuck puke from laying a hit to RNH when he gets back? Who Gagner? Perron? The first part of this season we emphatically need someone to step up and do this job. A freakin nuclear threat in the Dave Semenko mold. Death on Skates. Ask Gretzky how important he was to the teams success. Hall,EBS and RNH need that guy whoever he is.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Envision McGrattan running around taking runs at our skill guys, who is going to answer?? Yes, it still happens in the NHL! Boogard beat the living sh*t out of Hemmer doing that very thing, want to see that happen again?

    • Dan the Man

      If McGratton is on the ice with our skill guys then:

      a.) His coach is really dumb


      b.) He’s out there because he got caught on a bad line change


      c.) He will soon be fishing the puck out of his own net


      d.All of the above

    • oilerjed

      When did Boogard fight hemsky?? And how did that ever happen? other players( yes including the goalie) should have been laying lumber across the back of his head until he fell like a mighty oak. The question in situations like this is why would the goon not be suspended for 15-30 games with intent to injure?!
      Im not buying any of this crap, you need the team to stick up for each other period. You cant rely on one guy to make your reputation and protect your stars. It has to be a combined team effort or an epic failure is coming in short order.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I’m sure former rage rider, and Oilersnations own Brian Sutherby would have a few stories from his days in Dallas as to why the Oilers are still of the Lambs to the slaughter variety. His Stars ate the Oilers for lunch on numerous occasions during his stay there…..didn’t you Brian..

    Go after Zac Rinaldo, he’s one violent mother pucker. Combatants are much less likely to retaliate after the wind is knocked out of them.

    Violence is always the answer when it comes to matters of the heart like this.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    First, I wish to express condolences to families of those who lost lives this very date with the terrorist attacks of 9-11….May all your families have healed as best as can be… even though this horror will never be forgotten….

    Next, Yahoo!!! It’s official training camp time for hockey….may this be the year we get into the playoffs and then really have some fun…

    I looked at the TC roster and while I agree the Oilers need to get grittier/tougher with an added enforcer, I don’t want a statue of one sitting on the bench so much like in the recent past of MacIntyre, Hortichuk, etc.

    Without an enforcer type player who can play decent enough for 7 to 9 minutes a game…what I do expect to see is some of the other guys absolutely standing up for our star kids.

    There is no such reason that any one of Eager, Brown, Smid, Ference, Potter, etc, cannot stand up for their teammates…when necessary.

    I like Mike Brown as a tenacious mid-heavyweight enforcer. He may not have great offensive skills but he can skate very well at the least….where as others could not (MacIntyre)

    Do the Oilers need a big mean tough guy??? Definitely…but one who can skate well enough to not hurt the scoring of the game itself.

    On the other hand, i have been a hockey fan for many years and one of the most stupid rules put in…. is the instigator rule…it allows those such as Avery, Cooke, Burrows, etc, to have gotten away with far too much. TAKE THIS RULE AWAY!!!!!

  • Reg Dunlop

    @oilerjed and northof51

    If it is true that Mac and Eakins see a need for an enforcer I think, unless either of you are actually Scotty Bowman, you might want to re-think your stance. Bring on the thuggery, it will make Ebs and Nuge play bigger knowing a face puncher has their back.

  • 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

  • Spydyr

    The Oilers have to give the heavyweight free reign. Screw the instigator rule. The Oilers rule should be if someone takes a liberty with one of the kids they will bleed. Kill of the extra two minutes. Word travels fast in the NHL a few beat downs and the cheap shots slow down.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Amen to that. Hang some body bags from the scoreboard….and make an effort to fill a few of them. Nothing wrong with taking a few suspensions to let those know some things won’t be tolerated. They could have done this last season, but they chose to do nothing to send this message.

      Oh well, this is another nothing year coming our way. They could always send this message out this season if nothing else. Cheap shot or not, break a few jaws/ crush a few larynxes and start sending out the message. Mexico is quite nice between November and March. Why not send 2 suspendeds at a time?

      • pkam

        My answer to your approach, if your tough guy dare to sucker punch any of my players, I will send s 4th liner out to sucker your young and weaker stars, that is Eberle, RNH, or Schultz. No reason to fight your tough guy.

        • Oilerz4life

          And, when the goon is out of the box, the player that “suckered” our top line will answer to a 240 pnd muscle bound roided out blood thirsty professional enforcer. Your little forth line pest will get beaten six days from Sunday and never “sucker” our top line again.

          • pkam

            Simple, he probably will have a game misconduct, just like your enforcer.

            If not, I just don’t put him out when your enforcer is on ice, or even sit him for the rest of the game. I am down one 4th liner, you’re down one young star.

          • Oilerz4life

            No,you’re down a forth liner, my enforcer is serving a ten minute major and my “young star” is on the ice scoring goals, now unhindered by your forth line pest. Which reinforces my point about there being always being a need for an enforcer on the ice, especially a small team like the Oilers, with a lot of young talent.

            Look, Im not trying to be rude, but Im starting to see the point of these bloggers who point out that these keyboard warriors who don’t see the need for a goon, have never played contact hockey.

            If you’ve ever played the game, honestly, and seen your goal scorer being held by the throat over the opposing teams bench, you would see the need for an enforcer on your bench.

            Why do you think both Mac-T and Eakins see it. Eakins made a career in major junior. If he sees the need on his bench , on his team, pretty sure he knows what he’s looking for and what he’s doing.

            All you couch gm’s and computer nerds that watch some Oilers but dont actually have hockey as a part of your lifestyle have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

    • pkam

      If the guy refuse to fight and you punch him even once, it will be 7 minutes, not 2.

      Did you see Avery fight any tough guy? Did he ever stop taking liberty at the weaker players?

      • Spydyr

        Even in that worst case scenario where the guy is such a coward he won’t fight. What is better a seven minute penalty or seven months without a kid because of injury.

        Protect this house and the kids that live here. Enough of being the softest team in the NHL.

        • pkam

          If you sucker punch any of my players, my response is to send a guy out to sucker punch one of your young stars. Why do I have to go after your tough guy or pest if I can target your young stars?

        • Reg Dunlop

          The Oilers make marshmellows seem tough. We get no respect. Our team is so soft that Royal Scotties mascot is calling us out. Were so soft that the Makers of Colace want the Oilers to endorse their product. The toughest part of our team is the Octane girls. At least they get some respect.

  • Ducey

    I hope Bobby Mac is wrong. This team needs a 4th line center, not some lugnut 3 minute a night heavyweight.

    Bilcke is only maginally better than Abney – who should be long gone by now. No thanks.

    Fyten and Leach looked ok in the Youngstars tourney. They have ok numbers. Maybe they might earn minor league deals.

  • oilerjed

    With the league making a definitive effort towards removing staged fighting, heavywieght goons are going to become dinosaurs. Besides, staged fights are never as exciting as a fight that is a result of good hard hockey plays and emotion. We dont need a goon, a good solid butt end or slash would suffice to remove these apes from opposing teams lineups for the night. That’s what 4th liners are for after all.

    • pkam

      Again an ignorant comment…So you’re saying remove fighters and start playing dirtier with butt ends and slashes? Are you insane? Not to mention whoever you have in your mind as the person giving said butt end or vicious slash will result in a 5+ game suspension. How again is that better? Not to mention it better be a pretty good slash to “remove them from the game” or what would end up ahppening is the “goon” would pick up the little pussy who uses his stick as a weapon and beat him senseless…Again, big help. But thank you for your ignorant opinion on fighting in hockey

      • oilerjed

        Wow, how do you really feel. Seems to be a pretty sensitive item for you. Ignorant is something I am definetly not, just differ from your opinion is all. No one said play dirtier, all I am saying is that if the other team starts floating a goon around the ice on patrol, I say put the dog down. And lets be honest what is the difference between using the mitts of a 250 lb gorilla to “beat him senseless” as you said and using your stick as a weapon. Speaking of ignorant, have you missed the last 3 years where these enforcers have started commiting suicide and finally talking openly about having to live with concussion difficulties on a daily basis. As long as you are entertained though right. If there is someone running around, there are numerous ways of handling it. We have skilled players, they have skilled players. Anyone one the team can fight, some better then others, we dont need a heavyweight to put a pest in his place.

  • 2004Z06

    With the new rules implemented over the last 2 yrs to curb fighting and reduce concussions, the incident rates of concussions actually went up. Most concussions are a result of cheap shots/dirty plays. Bringing back the enforcer and eliminating the instigator rule deters the cheap shots because it promotes on ice accountability and lets the players police themselves. He doesn’t have to fight, but the deterrent is there just having him on the bench. If he can play too…that’s a bonus.

  • oilerjed

    Id hate to tell you but a 250 pound iron block who only gets on the ice for 2 minutes agame is going to do nothing to stop anyone from taking liberties. First he has to be on the ice at the same time in order to have the chance to call a guy out, then the guy has to agree or its moot. Then when he sits in the box for the next 17 minutes the other guy starts running around again anyway. The best way to deal with dirty little sh1ts is to target the other teams best players. A thug fest isnt going to solve squat.

  • master of my domain

    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.

  • Concur

    I think that no heavy weight is required but you do need your players to be willing to stand up for each other. No one should take liberties with your teammates. I was always the smallest when I played hockey and my teammates regularly stood up for me and when the need arose I stood up for them too. That is what makes a team, having each others back. Hockey does not have that same brotherhood that it used to.

    • Spydyr

      Sure Gagner will beat down a 6’4″ 240 lbs fighter.

      The team needs someone to keep the other teams honest with the kids.The powerplay will help some in that regard but nothing beats a punch to the head.

  • 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.

  • 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!!!!!

  • 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!!!!!