Hockey is less than one month away! Well, sort of. Last Thursday, the Oilers released the roster that will take part in the "Young Stars" tournament which will be held in Penticton, BC from September 12th to 16th. The other teams taking part are the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and Anaheim Ducks but the only other team that has released its roster for the tournament is the Canucks. The Oilers have also announced, much to my satisfaction, that all of the Oiler games will be streamed live on oilers.nhl.com. After the jump I'll put up the Oilers' full roster and talk a bit more in depth about the players the Oilers have invited to camp who aren't under contract with the team.
The Forwards - Cameron Abney, Philippe Cornet, Drew Czerwonka, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Curtis Hamilton, Teemu Hartikainen, Milan Kytnar, James Livingston, Ryan Martindale, Magnus Paajarvi, Kristians Pelss, Tyler Pitlick, Chase Schaber, Mike Thomas, Chris Vande Velde.
Looking over that list, there are definitely some names added, but before we get to that I'd just like to highlight the names that are missing. None of the players in or bound for the NCAA will be at the tournament, which is a requirement of the NCAA. So that explains why Kellen Jones, Robby Dee, Kyle Bigos, and Troy Hesketh aren't on the list. The other young Oilers missing from the tournament are all based in Europe: Linus Omark, Toni Rajala, and Anton Lander. Omark wasn't at the summer development camp, has played several seasons of pro hockey, and is quite a bit older than most of these players, so his absence is to be expected. Lander was at the summer development camp, but he's going to be playing with Timra of the Swedish Elite League next year and may well choose not to come to training camp at all, just like he and Paajarvi did last season. That leaves Toni Rajala, whose absence surprised me a little bit until I saw that he and the Oilers have agreed for him to play with Ilves of the SM-Liiga next season, presumably so that he can complete his military service.
Next up, a short profile on all of the new(ish) names on the list:
Dallas Ehrhardt - Ehrhardt played twenty-five games in the WHL in 2009-10, his first year in the league. It's unsurprising, then, that he passed through the draft this past June (his first year of eligibility). He's huge for a teenager at 6'4'' and over 200 lbs. but only had twenty-four penalty minutes in his twenty-five games, so I'd be very surprised to find out that he's a pure fighter. I can only assume that the Oilers are intrigued by his size and wanted to give his skills a closer look.
James Livingston - Livingston is a former third round pick of the St. Louis Blues. After being taken 70th overall in 2008, the Blues decided not to sign Livingston to a contract and he then passed through the 2010 draft completely. In his draft year (2007-08), Livingston scored 49 points in 82 OHL games to go along with 149 penalty minutes, but he hasn't improved on those numbers since. At 6'1'' and over 200 lbs., Livingston has decent size, and he has at least a bit of skill to go with it. He's likely trying to earn at least an AHL contract by showing well in the tournament.
Chase Schaber - Schaber was a highly-touted bantam player who hasn't been able to put up big numbers in the WHL. He's undersized and has already passed through two drafts without being selected (he's about six months younger than Jordan Eberle). Last season Schaber had his best offensive season with 50 points in 72 WHL games with the Hitmen (anything to add Doogie?) and Blazers.
Dominik Schlumpf - When I saw the name I thought for sure this guy was a huge Czech, but instead he's a tiny Swiss - a tiny Swiss who has 21 points in 95 career QMJHL games. It's like Robbie Schremp without the scoring. Blech.
Mike Thomas - Thomas is a fighter who has more scoring (over twenty points!) but less size (only 6'1'') than Cameron Abney. Thomas has played the last several seasons in the QMJHL and is now finished his junior career. He had 11 fights in 66 regular season games in 2008-09 and followed that up with 11 fights in only 51 regular season games in 2009-10. He has enough skill that he played in 18 of Saint John's 21 playoff games in 2009-10 and earned seven points.
Nolan Toigo - Toigo was on the Canucks' "Young Stars" roster last season but obviously didn't make enough of an impression to stick with the Canucks. Toigo was twenty years old last season, his first full year in the WHL. Toigo ended up finishing second on the Vancouver Giants in +/- and recorded 27 points in 88 WHL games. He's not particularly big for a defender but 6'1'' isn't small either. Toigo will be playing to earn himself a spot on an AHL team.