Friday marked the deadline for the 2010 drafted players who were not in school to be signed to entry level contracts, or they would re-enter the draft. Making the cut was defenceman Brandon Davidson, not making it were Drew Czerwonka and Jeremie Blain. Now that they have not been signed by the Oilers, they will re-enter the NHL draft and if they are not selected by another team, they will have the opportunity to sign with non NHL teams including those in Europe.
For Czerwonka the decision likely came down to him or the Kristians Pelss. And as Czerwonka had an injury prone season, it is easy to see why the Oilers selected Pelss who was a member of the WHL winning Edmonton Oil Kings. Given this past season it will be interesting to see where Czerwonka will land.
For Blain the Oilers decision seems also to have based on this season. it was Blain who was suspended for two games in December for uttering a racial slur during a game against the Sherwinigan Cateraactes. And then throughout the season Blain has displayed a low level of competition reports Jason Gregor of the Team 1260. Gregor spoke with a number of scouts who had opportunity to watch Blain closely, and Gregor is right in saying that the drive and compete level, the general effort displayed by players in the CHL should be extremely high; these players are looking to crack the NHL and earn that big bonus and pay check.
Signing Davidson however, means that 8/11 players from the 2010 draft class were signed which is an extremely high number. Signed were Taylor Hall (1st round), Tyler Pitclick (2nd round), Martin Marincin (2nd round), Curtis Hamilton (2nd round), Ryan Martindale (3rd round), Tyler Bunz (5th round), Brandon Davidson (6th round), Kristians Pelss (7th round). Kellen Jones another 7th round draft pick is playing college hockey and so remains an Oiler prospect until 2014 with or without an entry level contract.
This also means that Justin Schultz will be on the market, that the deadline has come and gone without a contract with the Anaheim Ducks and still no one knows why.
This weeks' biggest news in Edmonton was the Oil Kings' celebration and rally in downtown Edmonton Wednesday afternoon. The festivities were an opportunity for the hockey fans of Edmonton to see most of the team one final time this season at least, and to get a final glimpse at some of the players who will be moving on to their professional careers next season.
In other prospect news, the Edmonton Oilers spoke with 22 players in 9 hours at the NHL combine, and there is audio and video for each of those players on EdmontonOilers.com.
Of course Nail Yakupov, ranked first overall had glowing reviews to this point:
The combine will be an important opportunity for the Oilers team to make their final decisions before the draft. At this point, it becomes more important than ever to select players who will fit in with the core players already in place, as well as selecting the best player available. And so, the countdown to the draft is on! After that, it's only a matter of days until free agency day and from there it is only a short time until training camp. While the Stanley Cup has not yet been awarded, the next season is just around the corner.