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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Development Players Part III

This posting is the final group of forwards I have in the Oilers system and my take on them. I am very impressed with the group of forwards we have in the system and the competition is really going to be heating in the near future. This is definately one of those cases where you can't look who's coming up behind you in the organization but rather look forward and intensify your drive for success.

My opinions are based off of three things...

1) NHL Organization's reports
2) Outside scouting reports
3) Personal observations.

Development Players #11-15:

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 
6' 0"
12 Apr 1993


2008-09 Red Deer Rebels WHL Games 5  G 2  A 4     PTS 6
2009-10 Red Deer Rebels WHL Games 67 G 24 A 41 PTS 65
2010-11 Red Deer Rebels WHL Games 69 G 31 A 75 PTS 106

Highlight videos:

6 point night video:

revingevs TAKE:
Ryan won 'Rookie of the year' in his first full season in the WHL, then steped it up last year to score 106 points as a 17 year old. He has always excelled and competed well when moving up a level in hockey. Not much can be said that people have not heard before. 

Let's first look at what he does not have. The only weakness that can be found on RNH is his genetics, his slight frame. Tall, slender and less weight can make it easier to be knocked off the puck. Ryan works hard to make up for that, and has overcome that same argument most his hockey playing days to date. He has the intangibles required to battle in the corners with guys much larger then himself, and more often then not, RNH comes out with the puck. He doesn't shy away from battling bigger players.

Ryan is brilliant with his edge work and has the ability to out-maneuver defenders. His balance is notable. Most often he will be engaged from the back along the sideboards, stay up, and slide off the contact. RNH's puck skills are elite and enough can't be said with what he does with the puck. His combination of vision, hands, and passing ability are a sight to see and separate him from other players. With his elite hockey sense and agility, RNH does things at a quick and efficient pace while creating a ton of offense.When watching him on the ice you will notice he keeps his head up at all times, like his head is on a swivel, which helps him avoid checks but also gives him that uncanny ability to get passes through sticks and players to his open man who in most cases has a open net.
He is a perfectionist, who has an strong work ethic and gives lots of attention to detail. RNH is a cerebral player who can fool you when watching. (ie: world jr Canadian U20 red/white scrimmage game)

Just when you think you have kept him at bay, BAM! the puck is in the net. Off of his own shot or from someone else who took a pass from him and had a wide open net. A underrated strength he also has, is his commitment to defense. He works hard to be in the right position and his stick in the right lanes.

Not very talkative on the ice and sometimes it can look like he is just executing a drill, which is not really a bad thing, he just makes it look simple and slow out on the ice.. He is a Very focused player. Looks young, but don't be fooled. The 'Nuge' is a hard worker. He is a humble, grounded, and fairly soft spoken young man. Should be a interesting Oilers rookie tourney and later Main Training camp in regards to how well he can do with men who are veterans of the game.
Make no mistake, RNH will play most the pre-season games, AND will get his 9 game stint at the beginning of the year. Should he be able to handle himself physically he will stay, should there be any question as to his ability to handle the rough physical play he will be returned to his WHL club.

Tyler Pitlick 
6' 2"
1 Nov 1991


2009-10 Minnesota State U - Mankato WCHA Games 38 G 11 A 8   PTS 19       
2010-11 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL                  Games 56 G 27 A 35 PTS 62

Goal video:


revingevs TAKE:
Pitlick is eligible to play in the AHL this year if the club decides to go in that direction, however there’s a decent chance he heads back to the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers, especially if they are willing to use him at center (he played on the right side for much of last season). He is a hard-working
who is listed as a center and right winger, but played wing for most of the season. A incredible tough player to get off the puck. Very confident (some could say cocky) but has ability and mad skills to back it up. He's a solid skater with a good first step who can get to a decent top speed, plays a grinder-style game. Pitlick has good size, isn’t afraid of getting physical and has a tremendous shot.

He also has a clue defensively, which will bode well if he needs to break into the league as a checking forward. Pitlick does well cycling the puck , shielding the puck effectively and has solid vision to be able to move the puck well when a hole opens up in the defensive coverage. Can definitely be a pure goal scorer in this league as future potential.

Tyler will need to be more selective in his offensive attempts so as not to get caught out of position to often. Wants to play in the AHL this year but if opportunity is there with his WHL team this year to play center this year the Oilers may just do that, as the AHL team is loaded with alot of good players. During this past summers 2011 development camp, Pitlick did not play in 3on3 scrimmage as his injury started acting up. Sad though, wanted to see how he fared. Was limping off in regular clothes on ice at end of the camp. Sad to see, re-occuring problems recovering from injury is not good. Probably over worked the day before, but the night before the scrimmage he was tweeting with his buddy and teammate Tyler Bunz how he was going to light him up. Obviously the injury was unexpected. Hopefully he is recovering well. Pitlick is coming off a serious ankle injury, and still adjusting to a longer schedule. He will need to endure a lengthy campaign, and stay healthy in order to further his development in the organization.

Tobias Rieder 
5' 10"
10 Jan 1993


2009-10 Landshut Cannibals 2.GBun Games 45 G 10 A 13 PTS 23
2010-11 Kitchener Rangers OHL       Games 65 G 23 A 26 PTS 49

Goal videos:

revingevs TAKE:
Tobias Rieder is an talented young player. He made the move from Germany to the OHL last season and came out of the gates quick but hit a wall in January and struggled into the second half of the season and through the playoffs for the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers. Could be that , coming from a league that plays fewer games , his smaller frame was just getting worn down. It is an area where he will need to improve.

Rieder plays a similar style to Linus Omark, in that he is an undersized, skilled, puck wizard with a nose for the net and he does play with a high level of energy and intensity, and isn’t afraid of going to the rough places. A very speedy player. Smaller size will make it tough to crack our squad at any level but his compete is good. Good agility and looks to be a quick learner. Should he continue to progress this year and plays in the OHL he could push a way into a better place. Should he not improve on his stats in the OHL, he could be in for a long ride in the minors,  trying to prove his worth.

Hunter Tremblay 
5' 11"
15 Jan 1986


2002-03 Barrie Colts OHL                  Games 56 G 6  A 13  PTS 19
2003-04 Barrie Colts OHL                  Games 67 G 13 A 14 PTS 27
2004-05 Barrie Colts OHL                  Games 62 G 30 A 32 PTS 62
2005-06 Barrie Colts OHL                  Games 68 G 31 A 46 PTS 77
2006-07 Barrie Colts OHL                  Games 64 G 35 A 54 PTS 89
2007-08 U. of New Brunswick AUS   Games 26 G 16 A 34 PTS 50     
2008-09 U. of New Brunswick AUS   Games 28 G 14 A 36 PTS 50    
2009-10 U. of New Brunswick AUS   Games 27 G 25 A 32 PTS 57   
2010-11 Oklahoma City Barons AHL Games 3  G 0  A 0     PTS 0

Update video from college:

revingevs TAKE:
One of Hunter's focuses for next year is to work hard during the summer to make sure he is ready for training camp. Specifically,  "speed and strength" he says, will accentuate his summer workload. "Those are the biggest things for sure," Tremblay said. "You obviously want to be stronger, and being faster never hurts you no matter where you are, so those two things will be the main focus of my off-season plan."
Tremblay believes he possesses a number of attributes that will translate well to the Pro style game someday soon. "I think my ability to make quick decisions is the best thing," he said. "I try to play a smart, two-way game. I really take pride in that. But like everyone, I love to score goals and contribute that way. I get in hard on the forecheck, get physical and try to create turnovers. I love playing on the PK, too."

 Unfortunately being older like Tanner House makes it more difficult to make the next jump, but if 2011 development camp is only the beginning he will be competing hard for a job. To me is he looking to be a perfect 3rd or 4th line winger type like Ryan Jones, but will  have the chance to show what he has in OKC this year. One tough hombre who competes every shift. And this last 2011 development camp showed he has a great shot too.

Chris VandeVelde 
6' 2"
15 Mar 1987


2005-06 Lincoln Stars USHL               Games 56 G 16 A 20 PTS 36
2006-07 U. of North Dakota WCHA   Games 38 G 3  A 6    PTS 9        
2007-08 U. of North Dakota WCHA   Games 43 G 15 A 17 PTS 32        
2008-09 U. of North Dakota WCHA   Games 43 G 18 A 17 PTS 35       
2009-10 U. of North Dakota WCHA   Games 42 G 16 A 25 PTS 41        
              Springfield Falcons AHL       Games 2  G 0  A 1     PTS 1
2010-11 Oklahoma City Barons AHL Games 67 G 12 A 4   PTS 16
               Edmonton Oilers NHL          Games 12 G 0  A 2    PTS 2

Goal video:

revingevs TAKE:
Chris is a strong skater ( did not say fast) who finds open ice (smarts) , is very active in both ends of the rink, and is able to put the puck on net.  Chris is good at both ends of the ice, the centerman has continued a steep curve of development and worked hard to round out his offensive game in college
and then his defensive game last year in the AHL. Has hands to set up or finish plays and he’s a guy who can stand in and battle in front of the net.

A couple years ago it was being said,  long term, Vande Velde was projecting to be a second or third line power forward. At this point he looks to be suited for a fourth line center position with spot duty on a third line if needed. His ability in the face-offs is what could very well provide his best opportunity with the Edmonton Oilers in the very near future. He will need a better start to his AHL campaign early on if he wants to have any shot of being a possible early call up at any time.

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