The Canucks and Flames have outdone the Oilers

Right before the big boys training camp starts the rookies and prospects hit the ice for the Young Stars tournament. In years past the Oilers have touted top prospects that are either expected to or are very close to cracking the roster which makes it all the more exciting for fans and media, this year we don’t have that, thank god.

The Flames, Oilers, Canucks, and Jets have released their rosters for the tournament and for what feels like the first time in years I’m more excited by other clubs rosters. Betcha’ that title caught you off guard.

Home Ice Advantage

Vancouver is slowly digging themselves a hole at the NHL level with questionable moves and is a lock on everyone’s radar to be one of the basement dwellers of the league this year. However, their Young Stars roster touts bright spots for the future and is arguably one of if not the most exciting ones for the tournament.

Let’s start off with one of the biggest surprises for me, former Oil Kings Captain Aaron Irving. After hearing he was going to take advantage of his CIS eligibility with the Calgary Dinos, I figured for sure that the Oilers would tap into the pipeline and invite him, after all, he has been present at numerous Oil Kings events over the summer. It will be exciting what he can do alongside stud defenceman Olli Juolevi, and hopefully get a good look.

Upfront I can’t wait to see North Dakota standout Brock Boeser, he really impressed me at the end of last season in his nine games putting up 5 points (4G, 1A). As you all know I interned with the Kelowna Rockets last season, so I had the chance to spend a lot of time watching Kole Lind. He was hard working with or without the puck; he could make beautiful plays and be gritty when he needed to be. I really hoped that the Oilers would scoop him up at the draft. Unfortunately, I’ll have to settle watching him develop for our division rivals.

Between the pipes, the Canucks have a couple of the top goaltending prospects. Michael DiPietro was the backstop of the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires, and Thatcher Demko.

Down The QE2

The Flames are also quietly stocking the cupboard full of top shelf prospects, they too are higher on my list than the Oilers to watch at the tournament.

Adam Ollas Mattsson was touted as a possible top 5 draft pick in the seasons before his draft, by the time his year came around he fell all the way to the 6th round. By no means is he a flashy guy, in 112 games over three seasons with Djurgardens he only put up 10 points (2G, 8A). Last season he finished the year by playing in 9 games with the Flames farm team where he potted a goal and an assist.
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Up front, they of course have Spencer Foo and former Oil King Brett Pollock. In case you’re wondering Pollock played 67 games in the ECHL last season with the Adirondack Thunder where he had 35 points (15G, 20A). It seems like it’s now or never for the former second round pick. Again tapping into my Kelowna Rockets past they have Dillon Dube, man is this guy every exciting with the puck. He really elevated his game after the World Juniors, I had the chance to interview him about that.
They feature something similar to the Canucks that the Oilers lack, a top prospect in the blue paint. World Junior hero Tyler Parsons will be in the cage for the Flames.

We’re Not That Dull

Don’t get me wrong, we have great prospects to watch from the Oilers, and we’ll for sure get a good look at all of our guys, while Tyler Benson sits in the press box again.

I can’t figure out Lane Bauer, when I saw him in Kelowna after he was moved to Kamloops, he was invisible on the ice. He didn’t do much to impress me, I have to think this invite involves Bob Green, as does most invites involving Oil Kings.

Kailer Yamamoto, Caleb Jones, and Ethan Bear are the three that excite me the most on this roster, naturally because they’re three of the top prospects we have. I had the chance to see two of these guys play while with the Rockets. Jones was impressive, he could command the blue line but be an offensive threat at any time. Yamamoto was quickly climbing up the draft rankings when I saw him play in January. Man can this kid ever skate, and he has the hands to go with it. The thing that stood out the most to me was that he would go into the corners with 6’4, 212 pound Cal Foote, there was no fear for the 5’8, 153 pound Yamamoto.

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Do you think I’m wrong, whose roster are you most excited by for the tournament? Let me know!

 

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