Edmonton Oilers Training Camp Guide

Honest-to-goodness NHL hockey is back!  The Edmonton Oilers' 2011-12 training camp kicks off today at Millennium Place in Edmonton and if last year's crowds were any indication, the place will be packed.  We've got your handy reference guide for training camp basics and story lines to keep you covered for at least opening weekend.  My colleagues will start breaking things down tomorrow night with the Joey Moss Cup and continue through the final cutdown day. 

The Oilers will divide the invitees up into three squads A, B, C, (Scott will have a breakdown of this year's list when it's released) and though there was lip-service to open competition last season, it wasn't in the cards.  2011 won't be much different as a minimum of 21 players and possibly 23 players are all but guaranteed roster spots and only significant injuries will alter the expected course.

Arm yourself with reference material for camp and the exhibition games by using the Copper & Blue archives:  for a rundown on last year's team, make sure to check out our comprehensive list of 2010-2011 player recaps; Scott Reynolds has searched high and low for a comparable NHL player for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and his results have been interesting; a number of Oilers will meet significant career milestones in 2011-12, and if you have season tickets and need to divide them amongst a group, or you're interested in a game or two, make sure you check out Ryan Batty's Guide to Splitting up Your Season Tickets.

Schedule:

Date Event
Friday, September 16th Training Camp opens
Sunday, September 18th Joey Moss Cup
Monday, September 19th First Cutdown Day Likely
Tuesday, September 20th Exhibition game vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Thursday, September 22nd Exhibition game vs. Vancouver Canucks
Saturday, September 24th Exhibition game vs. Calgary Flames
Sunday, September 25th Exhibition game @ Calgary Flames
Tuesday, September 27th Exhibition game vs. Phoenix Coyotes
Wednesday, September 28th Second Cutdown Day Likely
Friday, September 30th Exhibition game @ Minnesota Wild
Saturday, October 1st Exhibition game @ Vancouver Canucks
Monday, October 3rd Final Cutdown Day Likely

 

Roster Spot Assured:

# Player Position Slot Notes
4 Taylor Hall Left Wing 2LW Settles in for potential 30 goal season
5 Ladislav Smid Left Defense 3D May be asked to take on more than he can handle
6 Ryan Whitney Left Defense 1D Team's #1 defender still battling foot injury
10 Shawn Horcoff Centre 2C Veteran defensive presence should help Hall & Eberle
13 Cam Barker Left Defense 4D Cut by the Wild, this could be his last chance in the NHL
14 Jordan Eberle Right Wing 2RW Deft winger should continue to grow in secondary role
16 Darcy Hordichuk Left Wing 13F Hired knuckles should only play against other goons.
20 Eric Belanger Centre 3C Long-awaited 3rd line centre should play between Swedes
23 Linus Omark Right Wing 3RW A defensive-minded centre should help his game
25 Andy Sutton Left Defense 6D Aging veteran brought in to hit people
28 Ryan Jones Left Wing 4RW Hard-pressed to repeat his 2010 season with less PT
35 Nikolai Khabibulin Goaltender 1G Did jail time help refocus aged goalie?
40 Devan Dubnyk Goaltender 2G Young backstop could get a chance to start 50 games
49 Theo Peckham Left Defense 6D Will be asked to take on a lesser role compared to 2010
55 Ben Eager Left Wing 4LW Agitator must remain under control with league worst PK
67 Gilbert Brule Centre 4C Recovery complete-can he regain 2009 form without Penner?
77 Tom Gilbert Right Defense 1D All-around rock will be called upon to play huge minutes.
83 Ales Hemsky Right Wing 1RW Trade questions will loom over his entire season
89 Sam Gagner Centre 1C With two excellent wings, will be asked to do more
91 Magnus Paajarvi Left Wing 3LW Showed great chemistry with Omark
94 Ryan Smyth Left Wing 1LW Should handle tough minutes while Hall learns.
  • However strange it may seem, 21 roster spots are already locked up and there will be competition for only two spots. 
  • Most fans would say that Jeff Petry should have a spot locked up and probably in the top 4 given the defensive depth, but recent comments from Steve Tambellini about him wanting Jeff Petry to believe he can make the team were somewhere between eye-opening and stunning.
  • Tom Renney might give Ryan Jones an extended look in the top 9 at the expense of Linus Omark.
  • Steve Tambellini's comments on Cam Barker being a top 4 defenseman means that the team already has his role planned:

"...we feel that the addition of Barker, at his age and his experience…that should take some of the weight away from those people that can play those minutes like Whitney and Gilbert and Barker should be able to jump right in there."

Battling For A Spot:

# Player Position Slot Notes
37 Lennart Petrell Left Wing 13FC Defensive and tough, the Finn could help PK
41 Taylor Chorney Left Defense 7D Has leg up on everyone because of waivers
44 Corey Potter Right Defense 7D 1 RHD in top 6 means he could make team
54 Chris Vandevelde Centre 4C Showed well in brief stint in NHL in 2010
56 Teemu Hartikainen Left Wing 13F Physical goal scorer's skills not replicated anywhere in org.
57 Anton Lander Centre 4C May be in the same boat as Omark last year
58 Jeff Petry Right Defense 7D Top 4 D by talent and play, waiver status hurts his chances
72 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Centre 4C Could already be on team, Oilers haven't admitted publically
  • In reality, these battles might be all for show.  Many, including myself, believe that Chorney and Nugent-Hopkins already have these spots sewn up.

Projected NHL Depth Chart:

F:

Ryan Smyth - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky
Taylor Hall - Shawn Horcoff - Jordan Eberle
Magnus Paajarvi - Eric Belanger - Linus Omark
Ben Eager - Gilbert Brule - Ryan Jones
Darcy Hordichuk



 

D:

Ryan Whitney - Tom Gilbert
Ladislav Smid - Cam Barker
Theo Peckham - Andy Sutton

 

G:

Nikolai Khabibulin
Devan Dubnyk

 

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