An interesting name on the Bakersfield Condors camp list is Daniil Zharkov. Zharkov was drafted in the third round by the Oilers, 91st overall, in the 2012 NHL Draft. Zharkov is attending the Condors camp on a pro-tryout basis.
Last season, he played with HK Sarov in Russia's VHL and had four goals and nine points in 39 games. He also played with the Nizhny Novgorod junior squad for four games, scoring one goal. The previous season he played in the KHL with Nizhny Novgorod and prior to that he played a pair of seasons with the Belleville Bulls.
He could be an interesting player to keep an eye on, having slipped off the radar of Oilers prospects the past several seasons.
Oilers prospect John Marino of the Tri-City Storm was selected as the CCM Defenceman of the Week in the USHL.
He had three assists in his first game -- the only game played in the week -- helping his squad to a 5-1 win over the Omaha Lancers. He assisted on two goals in the opening frame and then had another in third period.
It's Marino's first season in the USHL. He's slated to attend Harvard next season.
The Oilers first group is on the ice for morning skate at Rexall Place before flying to Winnipeg for tonight’s game against the Jets. This is not the roster that will be playing tonight, it will be a mix with Group B.
Group A is unchanged from Thursday, except no Talbot.
Group A Forwards:
Group A Defencemen:
Group A Goalies:
- PRACTICE | Thursday at Rexall Place
- PRACTICE RAW | Taylor Hall
- PRACTICE RAW | Justin Schultz
- PRACTICE RAW | Connor McDavid
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
- Connor McDavid on finding his footing with the Oilers
- Hall sees change
- Schultz's Strengths
- Oilers to Travel with Big Group
Justin Schultz had a very solid game against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night at Rexall Place. The Oilers defenceman scored a goal, played with a bit of a physical edge and made good plays with the puck.
Perhaps Schultz’s progress on the ice is a clear indication that his work in the off-season is paying off. Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan says Schultz came into camp ahead of where he was last year from a fitness standpoint, but he’s also impressed with the cerebral side of the blueliner’s game.
“From Justin Schultz, in the six days we’ve been on the ice, he’s fit. His numbers are way up from where they were last year. Strong, and that doesn’t mean fit. He’s strong mentally, and confident,” said McLellan. “(He’s) been open, willing to learn and asking questions. He looked like he had good legs last night, and a little bit of a jump in his stride. (He’s) still learning how we want to play and learning some concepts. He’s got a dynamic skill set, that we’re starting to see. A lot of real positive things. He, like the rest of us and the coaching staff and the players, all still have to find our games and polish it up a little bit before the season starts.”
McLellan calls Schultz a “very important piece” of the team and likes his “dynamic offensive skills.” The head coach says he would like for Schultz to improve defensively, but he wants that from all his players. There is another thing Schultz can do more of, and that’s shoot the puck.
“He’s got a great shot,” said McLellan. “He should be shooting that puck a lot, and we expect him too. It will be in his hands a lot in the offensive zone. Shoot it, we’ll get it back.”
The Oilers hit the road tomorrow after their morning skate for two road games in as many nights. They play the Jets in Winnipeg tomorrow and then Minnesota in Saskatoon on Saturday.
The Oilers will take with them the healthy players from both Group A and Group B when they travel. It will help the younger players experience life on the road in the NHL, and allow the coaching staff a chance to mix and match players for their game-night rosters. When the Oilers return, they’ll begin to cut down their camp roster.
“If you’re in A or B group, you’re going to make the trip,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “You’re going to continue to experience life in the NHL. You’re going to fly in a plane. You’re going to see what it’s like to play in Winnipeg, in that environment. Then you’re going to go to Saskatoon and you’re going to continue and be a part of the team and be in meetings. Then when we get back from Saskatoon you’re going to see our group get smaller.”
“He’s got an amazing skill set. He’s up there with guys that are winning the Norris Trophy and getting 70 points a year. He’s got that same skill set,” said Hall.
“He’s a guy that, I think we’re all just seeing this training camp, has taken a lot more initiative on the physical front… He’s standing up for his teammates and when a guy like that does it, it kind of forces you to raise your level to compete. It’s great to see.”
Even Oilers rookie Connor McDavid has admired Schultz’s playing style that he’s conveyed thus far in training camp.
“You could for sure see that he’s a guy that’s never out of the play. Even if the odd time he gets beat, he can get back right away,” said McDavid.
Hall believes that the improvement of play in his teammates, individually and as a whole, may have something to do with the hard-work ethic that fires them up during camp — whether in practice or game mode.
“I think we have a different makeup personnel-wise and I think we’re starting to come around on the traits we want to have as a team,” said Hall.
Thursday was another day on the ice and although the Oilers are still in training camp mode, they’ve gotten off to a good start in the pre-season with three wins in three games.
Throughout camp and the first trio of pre-season games, 2015 first-overall pick Connor McDavid has been taking in his surroundings and soon he’ll get to experience life on the road in the NHL. McDavid will travel with the Oilers to Winnipeg and Saskatoon on Friday and Saturday.
“Any time you get a chance to play on the road, it’s a little bit more uncomfortable than playing at home, it’s part of the league and I’ve got to get used to that as well,” said McDavid.
While he adapts and prepares for the new experiences that await him, he’s keeping his focus trained on the tasks at hand, finding a rhythm with his teammates during practice and learning under the direction of Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.
“They’re certainly challenging— physically and mentally,” said McDavid.
“You’ve got to prepare yourself each and every day for practice. You’ve got to make sure your (focus is) into it, if you’re not you’re going to be looking pretty dumb.”
The Oilers first group is on the ice at Rexall Place for Thursday’s practice.
Teddy Purcell is still not skating with the team. He is listed as day-to-day with a minor injury.
Darnell Nurse is skating with Group A this morning, Griffin Reinhart is not.
Talbot, Scrivens and Nilsson
Griffin Reinhart is trying to make an impression on the Oilers coaching staff and he might have made a really good one in Wednesday night’s 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. He didn’t do it by being flashy. The 21-year-old defenceman did it by making the simple, smart plays that help a team be successful.
“Very poised. Not a lot of opportunity for us to go and talk to him about ‘what about this play?’ or ‘what about that play?’ He made the right play for a lot of the night,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “He doesn’t seem to me… to be getting up there and trying to hit the home run all the time. He’s happy with singles and you win that way. I thought he was good. (The Jets) are a big, heavy, strong team and they’re bigger at home yet, the players that aren’t playing. Griffin handled it well.”
Reinhart doesn’t mind getting noticed by not being noticeable. He won’t stick out on the highlight reel, but when you turn to the game tape he played a very solid game.
“That’s a compliment to me,” said Reinhart. “I’m not going to come out here like a lot of those flashy guys and a lot of the skilled guys that we have. I contribute in other ways. I think I can play a good, solid game. (Eric) Gryba has helped me out a lot. It’d be nice playing with him or whoever I’m out there with. Just keeping it simple and trying not to play in our end.”
Reinhart says he is comfortable on the ice because of his defensive partner.
“I think part of that is playing with a veteran defenceman like Gryba,” said Reinhart. “He makes it easy for me with the communication out there. That’s the kind of game I like to play and hopefully I can just keep doing that every day and getting better as well.”