10 Edmonton Oilers to Watch at Training Camp
The Oilers rookie camp has wrapped up, and the main camp is about to start. Here are some players to keep an eye on:
10. Mystery player
Kevin Lowe has promised to bring a "surprise" invite to camp. Is it Glen Murray or Mark Parrish, or will Cory Cross get another look?
9. Sean McMorrow
The 6'4", 225-lb. Vancouver native racked up 693 penalty minutes in a year and a half in the Quebec-based North American Hockey League, including 87 fighting majors in 48 games last season. He may not be the man to address Edmonton's goon void, but he's the best bet heading into camp.
8. Bryan Lerg
The 22-year-old undrafted free agent had a solid rookie camp—scoring against Vancouver and adding a pair of assists against the University of Alberta Golden Bears—and hopes to have an even better main camp.
7. Ryan Huddy
This prospect has the pedigree (his dad is Oilers assistant coach Charlie Huddy) and his solid two-way play has impressed the Oilers so far. However, the diminutive 24-year old will have a much tougher time against the big boys.
6. Jordan Eberle
Selected 22nd overall by the Oilers in this year's draft, Eberle isn't expected to make the team this year—but neither was Sam Gagner last year. If the 18-year-old can follow-up his strong rookie camp with a good showing at the main camp, the Oilers' brass will be happy as he returns to the Regina Pats of the WHL.
5. Ryan O'Marra
The "other guy" in the Ryan Smyth-for-Robert Nilsson deal had an atrocious year last season, and he needs to show something at camp this year—or the 21-year-old centre might fade into obscurity.
4. Marc-Antoine Pouliot
The first-round draft pick of the Oilers in 2003 was headed for the scrap pile last year before a slew of injuries opened up a spot for him, and he played well enough to earn himself a job on the fourth line. But Pouliot remains offensively challenged and a good camp from Rob Schremp and Gilbert Brule could drop the centre down the depth chart.
3. Theo Peckham
Peckham appears to be the most NHL-ready defenceman not penciled into the lineup. He got a taste last year with his first NHL game, and if the hard-hitting D-man doesn't earn a spot right out of camp, he'll be the first call up if a rearguard is injured.
2. Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers
Will JDD be good enough to send Dwayne Roloson packing and take over the role of backup goaltender? Or will the Oilers go with a three-headed monster in net to start the season? Oilers fans and management will keep a close eye on the crease as they try to assess the season ahead between the pipes.
1. Rob Schremp/Gilbert Brule
I know, I know—I'm cheating by putting two guys in the No. 1 spot. But the way I see it, there's only room for one of these guys to start the season with the big club—and who knows? Maybe neither of them will make it.
The super-skilled Schremp suffered an offseason injury last year and the coaches have been worried about his skating ability for years, but this is the make-or-break season for the former London Knight. He's been training hard and is coming to camp with an NHL-or-bust attitude. We'll see if he has what it takes.
Brule, meanwhile, also has a lot to prove. The 21-year-old first-round pick of 2005 was a bust in Columbus, and some feel that he needs time in the minors to improve—but he'll enter camp with a different mindset.
If neither makes the team on opening night, they'll both be first in line when a forward gets hurt.
Honorable mentions: Alex Plante, Jeff Petry, Taylor Chorney, Ryan Potulny, Devan Dubnyk
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