The Edmonton Oilers’ hockey season is officially a go with today’s announcement of the team’s roster for the annual Young Stars Classic tournament in Penticton, BC which will run from September 11th to 14th and feature teams from Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg.
The roster went up at 10am MT. So we’ve had a bit of time to digest it but let’s take a look at it and see what’s all under the hood.
In net for the tournament will be the undrafted rookie camp invite Jordan Papirny (Brandon Wheat Kings), recent signing Eetu Laurikainen (Espoo Blues), and 2014 draft pick Keven Bouchard (Val D’or Foreurs).
Out of the three I think Jordan Papirny and Eetu Laurikainen pose the most interest.
Papirny comes to the Oilers after going undrafted in his junior career despite some pretty good numbers. I think saying it was a surprise that nobody picked him might be an understatement. 44 wins 9 losses 6 ties and 5 shutouts is what he put up for the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings last year. Maybe Jordan Papirny could be an option for the Oilers’ new affiliate in Norfolk.
Laurikainen played last year for the Espoo Blues of the SM-Liiga in Finland and posted a 17-10-9 record with a 2.10 goals against average, .933 save percentage and four shutouts. Not too shabby. The 22 year old is due to back up Laurent Brossoit in Bakersfield this season.
Keven Bouchard still baffles to me as to why the Oilers picked him… He played last year for Val D’or in the QMJHL and did his best impression of Hardy Astrom. 15-13-5 with 1 shutout, a 3.85 GAA and an .872 save percentage. I don’t think he’ll be receiving a contract from the Oilers when the time comes.
Manning the blue will be Darnell Nurse (Sault St.Marie), Kevin Davis (Seattle Thunderbirds), Ethan Bear (Seattle Thunderbirds), Colton Waltz (Brandon Wheat Kings), Ben Betker (Everett Silvertips), Caleb Jones (USNTDP), Joey Laleggia (Univ. of Denver), and Loik Leveille (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles).
Notable names are obvious in Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear, Ben Betker, Caleb Jones and Joey Laleggia. But some lesser knowns like Kevin Davis, Colton Waltz, and Loik Leveille will join them.
I watched Darnell Nurse at the Golden Bears/Oilers Rookies game last year and he was a beast, as advertised. He’ll be the best defenceman at this tournament barring injury. At that same game Ben Betker commented on my Beer League Heroes hockey jersey saying, “That’s the best jersey here!”. Admittedly I had no idea who he was but the revelation came later when I was going over the players on the roster…
But personally I’m most looking forward to the performances from Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones and Joey Laleggia.
Bear’s reputation for being an extremely hard worker and outstanding teammate is something I value in players. The Oilers are a young team coming together and they are going to need some glue to keep them from unraveling. Bear is that kind of player. By all accounts and reports, I see him as the Charlie Huddy type.
For Laleggia I wonder if he’s got the Brian Rafalski to him? Small in stature but oozing with skill and hockey IQ. Could he be the guy that sends Justin Schultz packing? Doubtful do to the fact that he’s left handed but stranger things have happened. I think he’s going to put up some gaudy numbers in Bakersfield this season but watch out for him. He’s got future PP quarterback all but locked up.
I want to see how Caleb Jones does more or less due to the fact that he’s Seth Jones’ brother. I like the way Bruce McCurdy has him depicted in this article from the Cult of Hockey. Very Physical and can skate very well. McCurdy said in his article that he thought Jones would be the perfect partner for his brother. So it looks like the Oilers are starting to get mean! Makes me think of the bus driver in the movie Slap Shot when he’s punching holes in the side of the bus with a pickaxe.
As for Davis, Waltz, and Leveille, they’re on the roster to keep the peace.
Ohhhhh Baby! As the legenday Bob Cole used to put it. They’re bringing out the big guns so If you’re heading out to Penticton to see this tournament you’re in for a treat! Let’s list ’em off here.
Connor McDavid (Erie Otters), Leon Draisaitl (Kelowna Rockets), Anton Slepyshev (UFA), Kyle Platzer (Owen Sound Attack), Greg Chase (Victoria Royals), Tyler Soy (Victoria Royals), Mitch Moroz (Oklahoma City Barons), Josh Winquist (Oklahoma City Barons), Alexis Loiseau (Rimouski Oceanic), Marco Roy (Quebec Remparts), Cole Linaker (Kelowna Rockets), Rihards Bukarts (Brandon Wheat Kings), Connor Ranking (Calgary Hitmen), Cole Sanford (Medicine Hat Tigers), Braden Christoffer (Regina Pats).
Woof! This whole roster has a very “Westerny” feel to it…
The painfully obvious names are well documented. McDavid and Draisaitl are the headliners. They’ll be the ones you’re paying to watch. If you’re looking for some flash and dash, watch out for Josh Winquist, Tyler Soy, Marco Roy, Anton Slepyshev, and Alexis Loiseau. Handling the defensive aspects will be Kyle Platzer, Cole Linaker, and Connor Rankin. The muscle and grit will be there in droves with the ever-smiling Mitch Moroz, Greg Chase, Rihards Bukarts, and Braden Christoffer. Lastly, falling somewhere in the middle of all of this is Cole Sanford.
I’m dying to know what Anton Slepyshev will bring to the table in North America. He’s been hyped up quite a bit since being drafted and if he’s something special I wonder if that would put someone like Nail Yakupov on notice.
If you’re heading out to watch the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton why not represent the Oilers with a 16-Bit Darnell Nurse, Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl shirt. Click on their names or head on over to the Beer League Heroes Merch Shop and pick up a men’s, women’s, or kid’s t-shirt, hoodie or long sleeve.
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Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments below who you’re looking forward to watching at this year’s Oilers’ rookie camp and Young Stars Tournament!