It’s hard to believe, but the Edmonton Oil Kings’ training camp gets underway late next week with rookies arriving. The club has seen several changes and graduations to pro hockey, and for the first time in a long while will not feature any Edmonton Oilers’ prospects.
NEW COACHING STAFF….
The Oil Kings won the Memorial Cup in the spring, capping off a terrific three-year sequence that saw the team go deep every year. With success comes opportunity, and head coach Derek Laxdal moved on to coach the Dallas Stars’ AHL farm club the Texas Stars. Steve Hamilton was the obvious choice, and took the opportunity a half-second after it was offered.
The club would later add Ryan Marsh from the Golden Bears to their staff.
FIVE DRAFT PICKS IN 2014
The Oil Kings have done well at the draft table over the years. In 2014, there was no Griffin Reinhart or Curtis Lazar, but five names were announced during draft weekend:
- No. 45 overall Brett Pollock (Dallas Stars)
- No. 133 overall Dysin Mayo (Arizona Coyotes)
- No. 161 overall Brandon Baddock (New Jersey Devils)
- No. 162 overall Aaron Irving (Nashville Predators)
- No. 193 overall Edgars Kulda (Arizona Coyotes)
NO OILER PICKS REMAINING
With the graduation of Mitchell Moroz, the Oilers have no Oil Kings bubbling under. Edmonton’s NHL team has selected two Oil Kings over the years—Travis Ewanyk and Mitchell Moroz—and both are now in pro hockey (beginning this fall). The Coyotes have drafted three Oil Kings, the two prospects above and Henrik Samuelsson. No other NHL team has selected three players from Edmonton’s WHL team.
OIL KINGS IN THE NHL
Among the prospects who have been drafted by NHL teams, two have made their way to the NHL:
- Tomas Vincour (2009 draft) 88 games
- Mark Pysyk (2010 draft) 63 games
Curtis Lazar may end up staying in Ottawa for the season. If he does, the Oil Kings will have a young group who are building toward something very good in the next year or two. If Lazar gets sent back, I think Edmonton has a chance to be near the top of their division.
It is NOT reasonable to expect another WHL championship. It’s been a helluva run, and the Memorial Cup this spring is my favorite Edmonton sporting memory in years. I’ll cheer like hell for these kids, and they’ll probably surprise us again with how far they go.
They certainly did a year ago.