Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the club has reduced its training camp roster by four players.
The following were assigned to their respective junior clubs today:
After announcing that he'd been sent back to Medicine Hat, Tyler Bunz, along with three other players, have now officially been returned to their Junior hockey places of refuge. Bunz put on an amazing show during both the Young Stars tournament in Penticton and last night against the Wild, but with four professional goaltenders in front of him, practice reps are limited. By returning to the WHL, he'll be the team workhorse and see plenty of minutes.
With the split-squad preseason games now in the books, the roster thinning has begun. No one expected the players listed above to remain much longer, and as they are whisked back to the junior ranks we'll continue to watch them as they progress this season. Brandon Davidson does come as a bit of a surprise after an article on the Oilers' team site mentioned in passing that he was "turning pro this season". That passage, along with Ryan Martindale's contract status added to the suspense (confusion?) surrounding the 50-man contract limit.
That Martindale has survived this round may bode well for his chances at landing an entry-level contract and a spot in Oklahoma City. Milan Kytnar has to be worried about the prospect of another center in Oklahoma City as both Martindale and Tyler Pitlick join a very crowded depth chart. With Ryan O`Marra and Chris VandeVelde already in front of him and Anton Lander almost certainly to come, two more centers might send Kytnar to Stockton.
Of note: Drew Czerwonka survived this round of cuts as well. While most observers felt he would make his way back to Kootenay to develop his game in the WHL, his survival might mean he's shown enough in camp to be considered for the 50th and final contract.
As the days solider on the 54 roster spots will continue to decrease, and displacements, even to the minor leagues, will begin (Barons AHL camp begins September 26th).