The Oiler rookies stepped on the ice at 10:45 this morning
in Penticton, and there were fans in the stands well before practice started,
but the lineup outside the box office to purchase a few seats that just went on
sale was much longer. McDavid Mania is alive in Penticton.
Tonight’s game vs. Vancouver and tomorrow’s vs the
Flames are sold out, save for the few tickets the teams are returning to the South
Okanagan Entertainment Centre. None of the previous rookie tournaments had sellouts, not close, and the SOEC can thank McDavid for the extra revenue.
But he isn’t the only good young player here. I’d argue the
talent among the Oilers, Flames, Canucks and Jets rookies is the best since the
tournament began in 2010.
McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse headline the Oilers group. The Canucks have Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann, Hunter Shinkaruk and Brendan Gaunce. Sam Bennett, Morgan Klimchuk, Emile Poirier and Oliver Kylington are here with the Flames, while the Jets roster includes Nikolaj Ehlers, Josh Morrissey, Nick Petan, Andrew Copp and Eric Comrie.
There is a lot of talent on the ice, and many future NHL
players will be skating among the four teams.
- Mitch Moroz trained with Jordan Eberle and other NHL players in Calgary this summer. He is in great shape, and said he has a chip on his shoulder after struggling his first pro season. Moroz also informed me that he battled mono last year. “I didn’t have energy for a few months, and I just never felt right. We finally found the issue in March. It was mono, and it was almost out of my system. It was a relieve mentally, because I was wondering if maybe it (the fatigue) was just in my head.”
- Moroz and Chase were picked to flank McDavid because both had pro experience. The Oilers management and coach, Gerry Fleming, felt it was best to have some players with some pro games to play with McDavid.
- I like Slepyshev playing with Draisaitl. They moved the puck very well, albeit in the morning skate, but they seem to see the ice at the same high level. I’m excited to see Slepyshev in game action. I’ve heard good things, and big, skilled forwards are what the Oilers lack.
- The Oilers and Oscar Klefbom are continuing talks on a long-term deal. As I wrote earlier this summer, I’d have no problem signing him to a six year deal worth $4 million/year. I believe he will be a solid top-four D-man, and he has the potential to be a proven top-pair. A long-term deal at that price would be a steal in my eyes.
Recently by Jason Gregor:
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- McDavid and Hall
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- Re-live the 2006 Oilers 2006 playoffs
- McDavid Expectation