Ben Scrivens and Anders Nilsson are the two goaltenders.
Connor McDavid centres a line with Taylor Hall and Teddy Purcell to start.
Other lines include:
On defence, the team is going with:
Hunt-Oesterle (Davidson rotating in)
Stay tuned for more updates.
#Oilers Group A has been rotating D pairings. Sekera-Fayne & Ference-Nikitin somewhat consistent. Davidson rotating w/ Hunt & Oesterle— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) September 18, 2015
- IN FOCUS | Camp Begins
- CAMP RAW | Todd McLellan
- CAMP RAW | Benoit Pouliot
- CAMP RAW | Ben Scrivens
- CAMP RAW | Mark Letestu
- CAMP RAW | Andrej Sekera
- CAMP RAW | Taylor Hall
- CAMP RAW | Andrew Ference
- CAMP RAW | Justin Schultz
- Benoit Pouliot at fitness testing
- Ben Scrivens at fitness testing
- Todd McLellan at fitness testing
- Mark Letestu at fitness testing
- Andrej Sekera at fitness testing
- Andrew Ference at fitness testing
- Taylor Hall at fitness testing
- Justin Schultz at fitness testing
- Setting the record straight, Andrej Sekera is here to play hockey
- Mark Letestu on getting back to the game
- McLellan's preparation for first camp with Oilers
- McLellan to deman higher pace
- Getting mentally stronger
- McLellan's timeline for camp decisions
- Scrivens on acquisitions & competition
- Scrivens feels mentally refreshed
After seven seasons with the San Jose Sharks, training camp preparation was more familiar to Todd McLellan than it is in Edmonton. With it being his first season with the Oilers, and with so many new pieces to the team, it will take some time to get used to.
“It’s different,” said McLellan. “There’s no doubt about it, it’s different. The environment is different, the players are different. The hockey principles we want to put in place are the same. That part, I’m comfortable with. Everything else is a new experience for the players and the coaches. The pace of moving forward with your program won’t happen as quick as having an established team. For lack of a better analogy, if we’re in first grade now we can’t skip second and get to third. We’ve got to take our time and make sure we’ve got the fundamentals of first grade down and go from there. It will be a little bit slower than maybe what we’re used to, but needed.”
A higher pace of practice is what Todd McLellan wants to institute in Edmonton.
“I know I would like to have some get-up-and-go in practice,” said the head coach. “I’ll even talk to the players about moving from drill to drill and not wasting time. The old ‘at the practice and lining them up’, and we will do some of it, but lining them up to just skate them to get their conditioning level up, I think if you have to do that on a consistent basis, you haven’t had tempo in practice, you haven’t had the intensity in practice. I like to be quick, precise, get on and get off, or at least allow them time at the end or before to work on their individual skills.”
That pace starts in training camp. However, there is a fine line between high-tempo drills and going too fast during the teaching process.
“That’s a tricky thing,” said McLellan. “Our language, our approach to the game, isn’t a lot different than most teams but players are used to certain ways and certain habits. Some are really good and some we have to break. We need to take the time to slow things down to make sure that happens. With that being said, we want a high level of pace in our practices. We want some intensity that’s high. I don’t like standing around and waiting. But there is a fine line right now between going too fast and skipping over the details. I think we’ll try and avoid that.”
As for the installation of McLellan’s systems and philosophies, he expects that to take time as well.
“There’s only so many ways you can play the game,” he said. “Sometimes our language will be different. Sometimes we’ll confuse them because of it. It will take some time for us to get them to clearly understand what our language is. I think they’ll pick it up quick. We have to do a fairly good job of teaching it. We can’t skip over any details… But I think they’ll get it. I really believe they will.”
In Todd McLellan’s mind, it’s not a matter of changing culture. Often times when new coaches come in, they’ll make changes to habits and style and give speeches meant to inspire their team to change a culture in the hopes it leads to more wins. McLellan doesn’t like that word. For the Oilers new head coach, it’s about internally becoming mentally stronger in order to push through the downs and turn games around when it’s not going your way. That’s how you climb the standings.
“That word ‘culture’ is a dangerous word in my opinion,” said McLellan. “I don’t even know what it means anymore. We throw that around like a word that’s so common. I know here that we’re going to have to get mentally stronger. Our point where we succumb to the score of the opposition has to get pushed a lot further, a lot longer. That will be addressed with the players and that we’ll have to continue to push and continue to push. I’m saying that knowing there’s going to be some tough times. There will be some days when it’s not going so well and I’ll be really interested to see the group during those moments.”
Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan surely has a timeframe in mind for when he wants to have camp decisions made and a roster formed. However, it’s going to take time. That in mind, sooner is still better.
“The quicker the better, for myself as a coach and for our staff,” said McLellan. “We’ve got a lot of new players here that we need to get to know and we’ve got to figure them out fairly quickly. We’ve got to look for chemistry and the fewer people in camp, the better. We also have a number of (pre-season) games to play. We’ve made a number of commitments to some young men that have made commitments to us to come here and we have to give them the opportunity. The sooner the better but, with that being said, fair.”
McLellan says fans and media will be able to make assumptions fairly quickly on line combinations and the direction the roster is going.
“We’ll have a break in camp very quick where it becomes somewhat evident of what our plans are, as far as divvying up teams between NHL and the AHL,” said McLellan. “That doesn’t mean we’ll be set in stone. There will be players that move from the B Group into the A Group, if you want to call it that, on a regular basis, on a daily basis, so we can see them interact. It will give us an opportunity to begin to put our game in place well before that last week of opening day.”
As for line combinations and defensive pairings, the organization has a rough template but it’s fluid.
“Obviously, we have lines and pairings that we’re going to start training camp with,” McLellan said. “We’ve tried to do as much homework as we can and look at chemistry issues and who plays well in situations but that will change rapidly. Everybody will arrive at camp and I’m counting on them to be prepared and be in good shape and ready to go but that doesn’t always happen. Players will earn more ice time and others will lose ice time as it goes along. And we’ll look for chemistry.”
This off-season, the Oilers new hockey operations boss, Peter Chiarelli, was hard at work adding to and re-shaping the team’s roster. On the blueline, he added NHL veterans Andrej Sekera and Eric Gryba. He also traded for talented young d-man Griffin Reinhart. He also added to the forward crop and traded for goaltender Cam Talbot.
Ben Scrivens commented on the additions not only on the blueline but also up front and in net, believing the competition will make the team better.
“The organization tried to get better every way that they could,” said Scrivens. “They didn’t leave many stones unturned about possibilities to improve the team. Bringing in more defencemen, guys with NHL experience, high draft picks, it’s going to create competition on the backend. Obviously, we’ve made acquisitions and trades and signings at every position. When you have a subpar season as a team, as a whole, one of the best ways to try and remedy that is to create competition for jobs coming into the next year. I think the organization did that at all three positions and I think that’s intentionally done to make us a better team.”
Sometimes, in order to move on, you’ve got to reset. For Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens, this off-season was just as much about a mental reboot as it was getting physically ready for a new season.
“It was a good summer for me,” said Scrivens. “Mentally, it was probably the best thing for me to refresh. I’m coming in and I feel really good right now. My confidence is up. I’ve had a great summer off the ice and on the ice. It was just a matter of analyzing the season a little bit, both personally with what I did well and didn’t do well and seeing what I could change. Obviously, there were tough lessons that I learned last year. I’ve talked about it earlier, just trying to do too much, which comes when you care about the results. Sometimes, it leads you down the wrong path where now you’re worried about things that are out of your control. It was good to mentally re-focus and get back to a similar training plan I’ve had for the better part of my pro career.”
Scrivens finished last season with a .890 save percentage and 3.16 goals-against average in 57 games for the Oilers. He’s hoping to soon get back to his form from his time with the Los Angeles Kings in 2013-14, in which he posted a .931 save percentage and 1.97 GAA.
On the ice this summer, Scrivens went back to work as he does every off-season.
“A lot of goalie sessions when I could, skating well and skating as often as I could and obviously, a lot of time in the gym getting lean and getting stronger,” he said.
Leon Draisaitl finished tied for the tournament lead in points (five) at the 2015 Young Stars Classic in Penticton, B.C. He followed up those three games with a four-point night (1-3-4) against the University of Alberta Golden Bears on Wednesday at Rexall Place.
The third-overall pick in 2014 shouldn’t be a surprising name to spot high up on the stat sheet. His high-end scoring and playmaking ability make him a top prospect in the Oilers system. This Rookie Camp allowed him to show the Oilers brass a glimpse of his offensive talents.
“I think it’s always important,” Draisaitl said of putting up points. “I think every player has his role. I would consider myself as an offensive guy so I expect myself to produce offensively and I think (Wednesday night) the whole team did a great job of that.”
Draisaitl will battle for a spot on the Oilers roster out of training camp, starting Friday. Oilers Rookies Head Coach Gerry Fleming might not be expecting the big, German centre to spend much time down in the American Hockey League with Bakersfield if he continues anything close to his scoring pace in pre-season.
“Leon had a good Rookie Camp here,” said Fleming. “He did the things that we expected him to do. Hopefully he can just take that and keep adding to what he has to do at the big camp to stay.”
Overall, Draisaitl seemed pleased with his performance with the prospects. Nine points in four games will probably put a smile on your face.
“It’s been pretty good I think so far,” said Draisaitl. “Obviously, the first couple games are always a little tough. It takes a little while for you to get your feet wet and get your legs under you. But so far, it’s been pretty good. I think the most important thing is it’s getting better from game to game.”
If Oilers Rookie Camp taught us anything it’s that the organization has great top-level prospects in Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse. It also taught us that the depth, particularly among AHL-bound players, packs a scoring punch.
Josh Winquist finished the 2015 Young Stars Classic with the tournament lead in points (five) and goals (four). He added another goal on Wednesday night against the University of Alberta Golden Bears. Perhaps Winquist can carry this momentum down to Bakersfield. He did have a 93-point season in the WHL back in 2013-14.
Fellow AHL contracted teammates Braden Christoffer and Alexis Loiseau also put up points for the Oilers Rookies. Christoffer scored three goals in as many games in Penticton and added an assist. Christoffer had two helpers against the Bears. Loiseau recorded two goals and two assists in two Young Stars games. He added a goal on Wednesday night.
Add turning-pro prospect Kyle Platzer amongst names to watch who had strong camps. Bakersfield Condors Head Coach Gerry Fleming, who also led the Oilers Rookies, says it makes him excited to see the players perform well and even surprise.
“It sure does,” said Fleming on Wednesday morning. “You’ve got to understand too that they’re going against junior (and college) guys and it will be a different set of competition when they get to the American Hockey League, with bigger and more-experienced guys. But for them to play the way they have in this (camp), I’d rather see that than them not perform to the way they’re supposed to. We expected it from them and they responded the way they should have.”