Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"A look back" OILERS DEVELOPMENT CAMP 2011 PT2



With only one more day til the Oilers Prospects take back to the ice at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park, it was important to finish off the forwards who I did not cover in yesterday's blog.  It's always interesting to see what a player looked like a year previous and to see if they were able to improve on where they were at the previous year. Let's just say, I have not yet seen a prospect in the Oilers system not improve the following year and go on to become a NHL player. Granted with only 4 years going, that may not be enough time to really evaluate. 

Once again here is my list of players and my observations which I recorded last year at the Development camp...

(photo taken of RNH and Pitlick)

#60 TANNER HOUSE
Left Wing
6’1” 195 lbs. Shoots: Right
Born: April 27, 1986; Cochrane, AB



1st Viewing:  That being said he was good positionally and has a great shot.

2nd Viewing: very quick learner, good skater, good passing and stick handling abilities. Looks like a quality player that is well rounded in his skills.

3rd Viewing: once again today shows good composure with puck and during drills. Can tell he is very mature player who thinks the game.Impressive skater

4th Viewing: 25 years old and shows his maturity. Is very seasoned already. For sure has some good potential to play some good mins in OKC and possible call up in year depending on centreman situation

Notes: has 2 years in AJHL , 2 years in BCHL and 4 years NCAA. His age and experience shows at camp. One of the best players agility, positioning and skill wise but is 7 years older then this year’s draft picks. Will be in tough to make the grade to NHL but does have the tools. This year and next will be his prime opportunity. Could possibly be a 4th line centerman call up this year depending on injury call up and how well he continues to grow in the AHL. All arrows are pointing up at this time.


#61 TOBIAS RIEDER
Left-Wing
5’10” 170 lbs. Shoots: Right
Born: January 10, 1993; Landshut, Germany
Edmonton’s 2nd choice (2nd round), 31st overall,
in 2010 NHL Entry Draft.



1st Viewing: Flashes of skills but a definite project. Lander and him collided at center during one drill but Im pretty sure Lander saw it coming and still hit him (he let up though). Maybe hinting at him without using words to keep his head up cause as a smaller player he will get demolished with his head down in center ice like that. To me he is no where near the skill level of Rajala though, so if Rajala has no chance on this team then he doesnt either unless he improves dramatically.

2nd Viewing: his speed showed in a few one on one drills. Just flew around defender. Very flashy player with speed. probably a year away from really showing what he really can do 

Notes: Most likely back to the Rangers next year. 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 flushed out.

#63 KRISTIAN PELSS
Forward
5’11” 171 lbs. Shoots: Left
Born: September 9, 1992; Preili, Latvia
Edmonton’s 10th choice (7th round), 181st overall,
in 2010 NHL Entry Draft.



1st Viewing: I really like him. Seen him a million times on the Oil Kings. With each viewing he seems to have more confidence and therefore his game is more consistent. He is really fast and has a great set of hands. Likes to buzz around the net.

2nd Viewing: all over the ice and finishes plays well. defends his area good, executes excellent. Really progressed since last year.

Notes: Has 1 year BLR Jr league and 1 year WHL. He was flying all camp. Very impressive. Was in on the action several times. Agility very good, and his speed is astounding (or at least looks like it on the ice). His playmaking skill is very good and looked great during 3on3 tourney. Has improved lots this last year even evident during the last half of his WHL year.

#64 ANTON LANDER
Center
6’0” 194 lbs. Shoots: Left
Born: April 24, 1991; Sundsvall, Sweden
Edmonton’s 2nd choice (2nd round), 40th overall, in 2009 NHL Entry Draft.



1st Viewing: Doesn't stick out because he is not flashy. The definition of a leader though. Constantly helping others understand the drills, leading some of them, giving tips (as stated in Bruce McCurdys live blog) and has a great shot.

2nd Viewing: looks like the swede has a nice tan...lol hard worker on the ice, extra step in his skating speed this year as opossed to last year. executes well the drills, keeps his stick is passing lanes like a pro

3rd Viewing: lots of on ice commuication. Calls for puck, tells guys were to go and directs on ice, definite leadership and is very natural.knows where to be and where to play

Notes: Has 4 years playing in SEL. Has improved in every aspect each year and arrows are pointing upward still. First step is much quicker (noted by coach's and other oilers brass) great in the face-off circle. Played tough minutes in SEL with men for awhile makes him so much more ready. Could tell this development camp he has improved and become more seasoned and poised even with the puck in scrimmages. Very much shows leadership out there on the ice with younger guys, communicates and talks with guys after the plays and can tell he is always thinking the game. Love his execution of drills and how easy it is looking for him in compared to last years development camp. Will have a honest shot at a centerman position in training camp with the Oilers but most likely will be assigned to OKC to develop and learn the North American game and be the first center called up due to injury or trade.


#65 HUNTER TREMBLAY
Left-Wing
5’11” 200 lbs. Shoots: Left
Born: January 15, 1986; Timmins, ON



1st Viewing: Slow skating with an amazing shot. Beat Bunz skating down his off wing far post. Dont see goals from that angle often.

2nd Viewing: very good at his puck handling. Like RNH keeps his body lower to the ice so doesnt look as big but is very shifty out there. Turns real well in lateral east west movements....good hand eye movement. One of the drills where they throw the puck in the air and two guys compete to get it out of the air...he dominated that one. Quick first step, very strong competitor. Does not stand out among all the players as noticable but when you watch him, you see the talent. a year or two in ahl, will be interesting to see how he develops

3rd Viewing: this guy was everywhere today, especially in 3on2 drills and 2on2 drills attacking. In the right area of ice most of the time. Shot was getting more accurate as morning
went on. Has a good wrister

Notes: Spent 5 years in the OHL and 4 years just completed in the CIS. Unfortunately being older like Tanner House makes it more difficult to make the next jump, but if development camp is only the beginning he will be competing hard for a job. To me is a perfect 3rd or 4th line winger type like Ryan Jones, but will probably have the chance to show what he has in OKC this year. One tough hombre who competes every shift. And this development camp showed he has a great shot too.


#68 TYLER PITLICK
Centre
6’1” 185 lbs. Shoots: Right
Born: November 1, 1991; Centerville, MN
Edmonton’s 2nd choice (2nd round), 31st overall,
in 2010 NHL Entry Draft.



1st Viewing: Was off previous two days recovering from swollen ankle. Showed real well today. Hard on puck. Not as impressive as I think he should have been on agility drills but he fared well. His strength is his shot. Probably the hardest and most accurate shot at camp. Displays good puck skills and shot during some scrimmaging. Can see his power forward ability as he doesnt shy off his guy very much. Uses his body well to keep puck away from attacker.

2nd Viewing: very determined today. The most accurate and hardest shot on goaltender this camp. Loved him last
camp but looks more seasoned and seems more confident. Puts on another 5 pounds and will be interesting to see what
happens.movements lateral were excellent, so looks like ankle is handling well. Lets hope the ankle holds out tonight and can play tomorrow.

Notes: completed 1 year HIGH SCHOOL , 1 year in NCAA hockey and 1 year in the WHL. 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. Hardest and most accurate shot at this camp. Can definitely be a pure goal scorer. Likes both center and wing , just wants to play. Unfortunately did not play in 3on3 scrimmage as injury started acting up. Sad though, wanted to see how he fared. Was limping off in regular cloths on ice at end of the camp. Sad to see, re-occuring problems recovering from injury not good. Probably over worked the day before, even though he said he felt good. Was tweeting with buddy Bunz how he was going to light him up last evening, so obviously was unexpected the problem today. Excellent execution on the ice, not afraid of traffic. Wants to play in AHL and most likely will get opportunity on 1st or 2nd line in OKC next year. Hopefully he recovers soon and is able to train for his off season work outs ok.


 #69 TRAVIS EWANYK
Centre
6’1” 185 lbs. Shoots: Left
Born: March 29, 1993; St. Albert, AB
Edmonton’s 5th choice (4th round), 74th overall in 2011 NHL Entry Draft

1st Viewing: Seems to have grown a lot since the end of the Oil Kings season. Great two way player who keeps it simple. Him and Lander seem the same to me in the defense side of the category, where Lander brings more offense to the table and Ewanyk brings more Jam.

2nd Viewing: steady player, relaiable, nothing noticed good or bad.

Notes: Has 2 years in the WHL. It helps he plays right here for the Oil Kings. Hard worker, got better as last year went on and did awesome as a checking center in the World Jr U18’s. Not bad containing RNH in playoffs when 5on5 as well. This camp it’s been mentioned by coach’s he is very attentive, learns quick and like his ability to translate instruction quickly into on ice drills. This year will be a big year as a better guess to how far he can progress. My guess is....he stays the same, he will struggle at ECHL level minimum. He improves and he can be AHL minimum. Has NHL possibility as 4th line center 3rd line center tops. Is good on faceoffs, but there was no focus in this development coach on helping him with face-offs. Maybe too early in his development in the system, not sure. Hard worker to be sure and very astute


#70 CURTIS HAMILTON
Left Wing
6’3” 202 lbs. Shoots: Left
Born: December 4, 1991; Kelowna, BC
Edmonton’s 4th choice (2nd round), 48th overall,
in 2010 NHL Entry Draft.



1st Viewing: My second favorite forward today. The guy is physically imposing, amazing shot, great skater and great along the boards. I think we got a steal in the second round ladies and gents.

2nd Viewing: was non-existant for me today. Never stood out good or bad, but had hard time finding him on the ice. Going to try tomorrow to focus in a little more on him.

3rd Viewing: Finally saw some action with him today. Good skater (as mentioned in earlier tidbits , showed well in leg strength and agility)very composed on the ice and well aware of movement around him. Good one timer in his shot. Needs a harder shot but saw a couple good one timers off of some passes. Alot like Teemu Hartikainen style, but hard to tell as checker due to development camp just teaching not exhibiting.

4th Viewing: couple really nice plays on 3on2's attacking and can tell he will be a tough one to stop as he will not shy from going hard to the net.had one laser of a shot top shelf.

Notes: Has played 4 years in the WHL. Definately has good agility for a man his size. IMO I think he needs to work some on that initial acceleration as a skater. His skills , his vision looks good and seems to get along with many players both young, older and even those who speak little English. Always laughing and rubbing shoulders with guys out there on the ice. His time in the WHL is over, so this will be his year at the AHL level to compete with men. After working his way up the line up at the world jr’s this year it will be interesting to see where his top game is. Most likely will be a player in Hartikainen’s mold so probably a 4th, top 3rd line player at this time in his career.


#72 RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS
Centre
6’1” 175 lbs. Shoots: Left
Born: April 12, 1993; Burnaby, BC
Edmonton’s 1st choice (1st overall) in 2011 NHL Entry Draft



1st Viewing: Sublime. He impressed me more then any rookie at any rookie camp so far (Ive gone the last 4 years). Speedy, shifty, amazing hands, underrated shot. He scored top shelf three consecutive times in a drill on Roy and Tuohimaa, two shot where the goalie didnt even go down or move cause he got it off so quickly. Between his passing and shooting today and his shiftiness I will be shocked if he isnt an Oiler in game 10 this year.

2nd Viewing: can pivot on a dime, exceptional skating ability. His transition from forward to backward skating is not only smooth but real quick. Can skate almost as fast backwards. Was a beauty to see. Did some 2 on 1 break drills and you could see his sick passing ability. He passes through players and sticks, no matter if they are sprawled out or if standing straight up. He has this ability to hold the puck in tight to himself so as to not lose it, but then sets up perfect opportunities to pass to the player on the far side. Is excellent at waiting and passing at the last second. You have to see it to really appreciate this talent. Not only did he do this once or twice but several times

3rd Viewing: what can i say. Some things will sound like yesterday but he flat out makes you giddy to be a oiler and excited about training camp with the big boys. Early on he was good but when they did some three on three, he stood out the most. The puck was like a part of him. He might as well picked up the puck with his hand and hand tossed it to whomever he wanted, was sweet to see. Again made plays to players who didnt know he could get them the puck i think. Anytime someone would try to get in close on the puck he would play it through his legs to protect it and then out to his teammate for a perfect set-up. Lots of oohing and aweing...lol
He is shifty, and the Oilers Mike Sillenger mentioned on oilers lunch today they like that he is maticulous with his learning and perfecting drills. enough said.. 

4th Viewing: was not as strong a day as previous days, but nothing to sneeze at. Fell on a couple plays but while on backside still got the puck back, no quit in this kid. His wrist or snap shot from further out is definately accurate but will need to get faster to score in the big league. however if he dekes, he will
make the goalie look silly everytime. Just a beauty to watch

5th Viewing: RNH is a different story. He shows the talent and skill that both Paarjarvi and Eberle did at last years camp. (except Paarjarvi was 1 year older and Eberle was two years older) I saw Eberle his first camp and was even interviewed by CBC sports radio. I stated then, that he looked good but was pretty certain he would be back in jr. So having said all that...am I on the RNH kool-aid? Yeah I am loving what i saw from RNH after he returned from his failed attempt to make the canadian jr team. I have seen him live and watched about 6 games on television. He is a learner, student of the game like Hall, but he has this doggone attitude that is unlike anyone i have seen to date. IMO ...be it this year or in two, RNH will be our top point getter, believe the hype boys, believe the hype!
 ok...I know some of you may believe that is a bold statement, but RNH will make you stand in your seat in anticipation of a possible scoring opportunity anytime he has the puck.

Notes: Played 2 years WHL, was rookie of the year in rookie season, then steped it up last year. Always excelled and competed well when moving up a level in hockey. Not much needs said, has incredible agility, is meticulous with all instruction given to him. Has the agility of a cat, keeps his head up at all times, unreal vision on the ice, uncanny ability to get passes through sticks and people to his open man who has a open net in most cases. Not very talkative on the ice and sometimes looks like no one else is out there but not always a bad thing. Very focused. Looks young, but is a hard worker. Should be a interesting Main Training camp in regards to how well he can do with men who are veterans of the game.

 #73 CAMERON ABNEY
Right Wing
6’4” 192 lbs. Shoots: Right
Born: May 23, 1991; Aldergrove, BC
Edmonton’s 4th choice (3rd round), 82nd overall,
in 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

1st Viewing: If he can be a fighter at the NHL level I see him being a Eager type, functional fighter.

2nd Viewing: his first step speed is great for a guy his size, and can handle that puck well for a guy his size. Knows where to be on the ice

Notes: Has played 4 years in WHL. Had not a bad camp at all. Looked slower at beginning but by the end of the week on RNH’s team sat for scrimmage he could move the puck and protect it well. Believe he will not be able to play in WHL next year so most likely will be moved up in the system now. Critical year to show his tough guy and good player ability.



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