OILER YOUNG STARS GAME 2: CALGARY FLAMES
In their second game at the Young Stars Classic, the Oilers prospects were out to make it back to back wins in the tournament, this time against the Calgary Flames prospects. As opposed to my normal video review, I got a chance to be at the game live. Here are my notes on players who were notable. Not every player is mentioned, but that should not be viewed as a negative. Simply, his game didn’t stand out in any regard.
As reported by Tony Brar, the lines and pairings for the game were:
Oilers Rookies projected lineup vs. Calgary:— Tony Brar (@TonyBrarOTV) September 18, 2022
Holloway - Hamblin - Bourgault
Petrov - Philp - Chiasson
Schaefer - Engaras - Savoie
Nash - Hauf - Kambeitz
Broberg - Wanner
Hanzel - Kemp
Wright - Kesselring
Who Got Noticed?
Hamblin with another brilliant performance tonight with his linemates Bourgault and Holloway. He continues to impress with his ability to play a 200 foot game with impact. This line was heavily weighted to defensive zone starts and Hamblin’s ability to win/tie draws allowed his team to exit the zone with great frequency. Hamblin added a goal and an assist to his stats page. He and his linemates were a little loose on the Flames only goal of the game, but there was more blame to be handed around on that goal. James Hamblin simply needs to continue to score, something he did with great frequency in junior. If he does, he will play NHL games as a bottom 6 forward.
Holloway started this game a little quieter than his linemates, but from midway through the first period, I thought he was instrumental in countering a very physical Flames group. Two massive hits, a great forecheck leading to the Hamblin goal and a pair of goals himself for a brilliant night. The only negative was a loose coverage play that had some contribution to the only Flames goal against. That aside, not sure what else Holloway needs to prove at this tournament. He’s been the best player. Holloway is going to be a fan favorite in Edmonton very soon.
Scored a goal scorer’s goal tonight. Made a deft move outside the blueline that locked up a Flames defender and then moved in with good speed scoring on a wrister from his offwing. Philp continues to impress with his offensive skills. He made several passes to linemates putting them in good positions for offensive attacks. When he came to Bakersfield last season, he played RW for the most part. I would prefer we never see him at any position other than C. He’s smart, a big body and a right shot. Also, for my money, his skating has improved. He very definitely has lengthened his stride out and his pace looks better than it did late last year. His lateral mobility is actually pretty good already. This player needs to be up the lineup in Bakersfield and play in all situations.
The offensive zone wizard was at it again tonight. He made a great pass to Hamblin off the turnover created by the Holloway forecheck for the Oilers first goal. He made several other excellent passes inside the zone in tight quarters. However, I think his in-zone offensive skills were the second best part of this game tonight. He was an absolute puck hound in this game creating several turnovers for the Oilers to turn into offensive attacks.
It was notable in a couple of shifts where he didn’t play with Hamblin and Holloway that there was more struggle. One shift in particular, he failed to clear the puck twice causing him and his teammates to spend more than 90 seconds in their zone. He will need to work on being harder on the puck in his own zone or else some will harken to the time Jordan Eberle failed to clear the puck in the playoffs.
Moved up to play with Philp and Petrov and was very noticeable. His hockey acumen defensively is quite strong. He understands his role, reads plays well and uses his stick and body well to create possession losses for the opponent. Offensively, he’s a strong forechecker and he turned over several pucks leading to scoring chances for his linemates. Had a couple of good passes including one that led to a grade A chance for Noah Philp.
A nice progression for Schaefer tonight. He remained on the third line with his center Engaras. The line lost its third member when Carter Savoie left the game early in the first to injury. Schaefer saw some time on the 2PP and unleashed his incredible wrist shot that the goalie along with most of the fans didn’t see until it hit the glass after grazing the crossbar. His ability to generate that much power in that small of a window was an impressive feat. He also spent some time on the PK and looked comfortable in the role.
Petrov has struggled for the most part through both games. The pace of the game and the strength of the opponents looks to have surprised him. He also remains fairly rooted in playing on the outside of the ice. Another year in the OHL would stand him well so he can work on his willingness to play in the middle of the ice and his quickness and strength. It should be noted that he has lined up on 1PP in both games, so clearly the coaching staff see plus offensive skills in the player at this level.
Incomplete game due to an injury in the first period.
On defense, the night belonged to Maximus Wanner. He made a couple of errors later in the game that led to a couple of offensive chances, but that cannot take the bloom off the emergence of this player. His composure under pressure with the puck was sublime tonight. He made several exits coming off of composed evasive turns that shook forecheckers quickly. He continued his role on 2PP. He also played some 2PK tonight. Perhaps the most encouraging part was that he was playing it with another young, inexperienced D and the pairing didn’t miss a beat, easily defending the blue line and clearing pucks on multiple occasions.
No doubt Kemp deserves scrutiny for allowing his player to the net on the Flames only goal. However, Kemp was a force tonight defensively for the Oilers and doing so with a very young D partner in Jeremy Hanzel. He continually defended his blueline along with the offensive blueline forcing many dump ins and dump outs. He also had one brilliant play where a Flames forward tried to beat him wide and Kemp cut him off, knocked the puck away and then promptly ran his man into the end boards. It was a thing of perfection. He played a hefty dose of 1PK tonight with success. He also was greasy in a good way causing lots of grief for Flames attackers. On nights like this he reminds me so much of Adam Larsson. Just a miserable SOB to play against.
A bit of a step back tonight, at least early on. The pace of the Flames forecheck caused some havoc with most of the Oilers D and Kesselring was no exception. In addition, he was much more conservative in his attack tonight, which could have been partially from lining up with an 18 year rookie D as his partner. The second half of the game was much better for Kesselring, who performed better offensively and defensively. He also got into a short tilt that came as the result of a running feud Kesseliring had going most of the night with a few Flames players.
Broberg started this game very strong. His first few shifts were composed and commanding. Everything you want to see from someone pushing for a starting spot on the Oilers’ roster. Then Broberg started to regress. He started to struggle with reading the play in front of him, made poor puck decisions and generally appeared to lose some confidence. He wasn’t poor by any stretch, but again, I assume the Oilers’s management would like to see more from him shift to shift. Given his experience, the pace at this level for him should be slow enough that he can command the ice. Perhaps being partners with Wanner has him taking a less aggressive mindset. Whatever the issue, hopefully, if he plays game three, he can have a complete game as we saw many times in Bakersfield.
The Oiler prospects are back at it Monday against the Canucks prospects looking for the clean sweep. See you then.