Well, that was ugly. Luckily it was a tournament of small sample sizes and doesn't matter in the long run, unless you suffered an injury during these games. The Oilers sent their rookies away to camp and they came back broken and beaten. The Oilers performance was dreadful is almost all areas, but lessons abound from watching four shoddy games against similar opponents and we want to know what those lessons are.
We asked our writing staff: Did you learn anything about this group of rookies over these four games?
Ben Massey: I wouldn't say I took much away from the rookie games. Sure, it's interesting to see a few players whose strengths or weaknesses stand out, but a very small number of games as part of an incredibly shabby lineup hardly seems like any sort of predictor of NHL success.
Alan Hull: I agree with what some of the others have said that you can't make any huge judgements on players based on a 4 game rookie camp when nobody has seen game action in a number of months. In that way, I mean that I would not make any long-term opinions on players based on these games. Klefbom didn't play great, I don't think that means he's a bust. It means he didn't play very well this week. It could be rust, it could be adjustment to North American ice, who knows. Greg Chase impressed me. A good first impression never hurts, but it doesn't make me believe he's got a better shot than he did before. If anything, it will make me pay more attention to him this season to see how he follows it up.
Conversely, I do think that the rookie camp can re-affirm existing opinions on players that carry over from past seasons. David Musil is the example here. The knock on him has always been his skating and mobility. I saw it in the WHL playoffs last season, but hoped for improvement after the off-season and wanted to see how he compared to some pro level players. Those concerns were only reinforced during this tournament and I don't think that is to be dismissed as quickly. Because the problem was something we were already aware of, we can combine this information with existing knowledge to continue to frame our evaluation of Musil's game. He's still got a full season to overcome a bad showing here and prove he can cut it at the pro level, but the early returns would seem to indicate that he'll struggle with that. That's the extent of what I would be willing to take from an event like this. I won't pass judgement on guys I haven't really seen before, but if I see more of the same (good or bad) from a player I already know, I think there's value in those observations.
Derek Zona: I had the fact that skill beats size reinforced to me repeatedly throughout these games, and I'm concerned that the lesson learned by the management team is going to be that they aren't drafting the right toughness. That the Oilers are going to lose someone to a concussion every year at this tournament was also reinforced. As for individual takes: Jujhar Khaira is much bigger than the day he was drafted, Oscar Klefbom is not near NHL level yet, Ben Betker is far from the worst skater on the backend, Marc Olivier-Roy can skate like Andrew Cogliano, and Greg Chase has more game than the others here, but I don't know if that's just damning with faint praise.
Ryan Batty: In an effort to avoid looking stupid I try not to make significant judgements based on four games with a team that is basically thrown together. That said, I expected the forwards to be, more or less, awful and they didn't disappoint. The team was out shot 136-97 and outscored 21-9 over four games. That just isn't very good, and a large part of those outcomes had to do with the fact that the Oilers picked a team with a lot of size and not much skill up front. Losing four games isn't the end of the world, but I'd like to think the Oilers could have fielded a slightly more competitive team.
Jake Pringle: I can't say I put much stock in four games that involve a group of inexperienced players who have mostly never played together before. Obviously one would hope to see more positive results across the board, but just because these players didn't function well as a team doesn't mean that individuals from the group won't eventually pan out. If the goals of the tournament were to expose these players to other NHL prospects and simulate training camp for players who will be cut early on in main camp, then it's mission accomplished.
Scott Reynolds: I don't think these rookie games give a very good sense of how players can be expected to think the game or how they'll perform when the team is operating with a more established structure. Things like Oscar Klefbom rimming the puck around the boards in this context shouldn't be a concern. That said, players with incredible raw skill will usually stand out positively, and we didn't see any of that from the Oilers.
Jeff Chapman: Fans have grown accustomed to seeing first overall picks at these tournaments, and it's clear the Oilers don't have any more gamebreakers waiting in the wings. That's okay though, as young players like Klefbom and Nurse have an inside track on blossoming into impact NHLers. With regard to Klefbom and Nurse, I don't expect Klefbom to be in the NHL this year, and Nurse will play in the OHL. There are several real NHL defencemen on this year's team, and it's a good thing.
Did we miss anything? Did anyone make an impression on you?